I had a craving. Nothing really fancy or weird. Something that helped to stave off the ever so slight dip in temperatures. A nice simple bowl of chilli con carne.
I don't do anything special or unique. I think of chilli as one of those kitchen sink foods that's a great way of using up veggies that are still good, but may not be as supermarket supermodel-ish: the carrots may not be as firm as they were when purchased, the bell peppers a tad wrinkly, the tomatoes squooshier than many would like. The meat is whatever I have on hand--usually beef, but sometimes turkey or chicken. The spicing is from a packet that promises to have a steaming pot of goodness within 20 minutes.
Well, the carrots could have used Viagra, the peppers needed Botox and the tomatoes could have used alternating treatments of ice and Tylenol. I had 500 grams of ground beef and about 300 of ground pork. Add to that some garlic, onions a tin of kidney beans, and some tomato paste and well, I've got chilli.
Umm...except for the seasoning packet.
I suppose if the onions, carrots and peppers weren't sautéing, I could have run to the bigscarymegamart and bought a packet. But alas, they were sautéeing, and I didn't feel like shutting everything down.
Think think think.
My Dear Little Mummy makes a ground beef curry with beef, carrots, peas, ginger, onions and a myriad of spices...I could do that...sort of. No ginger, no peas. Nottaproblem. My chilli con carne morphs into curry con carne.
So I added a tablespoon or two of curry powder to the onion mixture and then added the beef and pork and another tablespoon of curry, along with a little tin of tomato paste and the chopped tomato and a bit of water. I cooked everything together, until the meats were no longer pink, added the rinsed kidney beans and stirred everything until the beans were heated through. Had a taste. Hmmm...something wasn't quite correct (apart from the ginger and the peas and the correct spicing).
Think think think.
Well...the fat can of puréed tomato was in the cupboard. Okay...why not?. In it went, on went the lid and I simmered everything with some salt and pepper for about 30 minutes...just like I would meat sauce for pasta, making this meal in a pot curry con bolognese.
How did it taste? Well, not like chilli, not like my Mum's curry and not like bolognese. It was a combination of all three: spicy, meaty and left me with a nice, happy feeling inside. Two days later, it tasted even better--as such dishes usually do--and colleagues were wondering what was in my bowl because they didn't see it in the caf, and they wanted some (umm...no...when will they learn?). I explained it to them, they looked confused and walked away. I guess fusion cooking doesn't translate well...well, at least not this particular dish.
Fine...more for me.