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Carne con Chile

Rick Stein's Carne con Chile is inspired by his travels in Mexico, where he learned the authentic home-cooked dish that originated the chilli con carne so widely eaten around the world today.

From the book


The classic chilli con carne made with beans and minced beef is more of a Tex-Mex recipe. In Mexico home cooks make carne con chile for their families, using cubed beef or pork in a rich chilli sauce with or without tomatoes, and with beans and or rice on the side. Serve this with any number of your favourite toppings, such as shredded lettuce, soured cream, crumbled Lancashire cheese, avocado, coriander, chopped onions and radishes.

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50g dried guajillo chillies, seeds shaken out
4 large ripe tomatoes, whole
4 cloves garlic, skin on
30g lard or 3 tbsp corn oil
1kg braising steak, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
4 allspice berries, bruised
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp chipotles an adobo
12-18 corn tortillas
For the toppings:
chopped coriander
soured cream
Lancashire or feta cheese, crumbled
avocado, stoned, peeled and diced
onions, chopped
radishes, sliced


In a dry heavy-based frying pan, toast the guajillo chillies until fragrant but not burnt. Transfer them to a bowl and pour over 450ml of just-boiled water. Leave them to soak for 15–20 minutes. In the same pan, dry fry the tomatoes and garlic until softened and charred. Set aside the tomatoes and garlic until cool enough to handle, then peel off and discard the garlic skins and quarter the tomatoes, skin and all.

Heat a tablespoon of lard or oil in a large flameproof casserole and brown the cubes of beef all over. It’s best to do this in batches, adding another tablespoon of lard or oil as needed. Transfer each batch of meat to a plate. Then add the remaining lard or oil to the pan and fry the onion for 3–4 minutes until softened. Add the cumin, oregano, allspice and bay leaf. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ Fan 160°C.

Put the soaked chillies and about 150ml of their soaking liquid in a blender and add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and chipotles en adobo. Blend until as smooth as possible, then tip into the casserole with the onions and add the browned beef. Stir in about 300ml of the chilli soaking water. Reserve the rest in case you need more later.

Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 1½ to 2 hours until the beef is tender. Check the water a couple of times during cooking and make sure that the meat doesn’t dry out. Add a little more water if necessary. While the meat is cooking, prepare the tortillas and a selection of toppings. Serve with warmed tortillas, toppings and beans or rice, if desired.


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From the book: Rick Stein: The Road to Mexico

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