Paul Mercurio’s chilli con carne with weizenbock
I love autumn – especially the first month of autumn where summer pops its head in and winter is a distant rumbling some months away, but occasionally sends a little glimpse to excite us. Summer and winter food and drink collide – the rules of both go out the window and we can start to transition our palates over to the cooler months.
My chilli con carne is the perfect dish for the early part of autumn as it starts to usher in the bigger, hearty flavours but remains light enough for the still slightly warm nights. The same goes with the beer I use in it – weizenbock, a dark strong wheat beer with lovely toasty notes but also those fruity characters a German wheat beer is renowned for.
This beer is simply stunning in the chilli con carne as it blends so well with the sweet salty chorizo, the spicy jalapeno and the heat from the smoky paprika powder and Mexican chilli powder. I don’t use any other liquid in this recipe, which is unusual for my cooking. It goes to show that the complexity of the weizenbock holds all the other ingredients firmly and happily in hand.
If you can’t find a weizenbock then go for a big Belgian-style tripel as you do want that malt sweetness in the con carne. My recipe has a nice balance of heat in it, but if you are crazy for heat add in a finally chopped habanero and I reckon that will fix you up!
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium brown onion – peeled and diced
2 medium carrots – peeled and diced
2 sticks of celery – diced
2 cloves of garlic – peeled and chopped
1 small red chili – sliced
1 chorizo – diced
3 teaspoons each of cumin powder, coriander powder, smoky paprika powder
1 ½ teaspoons each oregano powder, Mexican chilli powder
350g of pork mince
350g of beef mince
2 tablespoon of pickled jalapeno – chopped
1 tablespoon of the jalapeno pickling liquid
1 banana chili pepper – sliced
1 330 mil bottle Red Hill Weizenbock – weizenbock is typically a strong 7 – 9% German style
1 440mil can chopped tomato
1 440 mil can kidney beans
1 cup of chopped green beans – 1 cm lengths
1 large zucchini – diced
1 fresh jalapeno – seeds removed – sliced
Freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup fresh chopped coriander
Extra fresh chopped coriander for garnish
Add the oil to a large casserole dish over medium heat and when hot add in the onion, carrots
and celery and cook for about 8 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the chorizo and
cook for another 5 minutes then add in the garlic and chilli stirring through and cook for another 3
or so minutes.
Add in all the dry spices and cook stirring for several minutes until lovely and fragrant. Turn up
the heat, add the meat and brown using a wooden spoon to break any lumps of the meat stirring
to combine all the ingredients and flavours.
Once the meat has browned add the pickled jalapeno, jalapeno juice, banana chilli, beer, canned
tomato and the kidney beans. Stir and bring to the boil then turn down to a gentle simmer and
simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes stirring every now and then.
Add the green beans, zucchini and the fresh jalapeno and simmer for another 15 minutes. Tastefor seasoning and add salt and pepper as required. Lastly stir through coriander just before serving. The chilli con carne should be thick and rich but not dry so if you need to add a little water to loosen it you can conversely it should not be too wet or soupy which is why I cook it without a lid.
Whenever I cook and serve up rice I also ways use an equal mix of jasmine and basmati rice. Put them both in the rice cooker give them a rinse and then cook in the prescribed amount of water. Serve the chilli con carne in bowls over the rice and garnish each bowl with a little mashed avocado, a spoonful of sour cream and some chopped fresh coriander.