Cooking for a crowd is great fun; the prospect of getting creative and offering up a huge variety of dishes that will really impress your friends and family excites me, but it often sends me into a whirlwind of energy and pressure. I’ve come to learn the secret of stress free entertaining, base many dishes around one recipe – a huge pot of smokin’ chilli con carne. It’s super easy to cook and oh so good to eat – serve it with jacket potatoes, rice, nachos or in a toasted pitta bread topped with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, fresh salsa and some fresh coriander, all washed down with an ice cold beer. Move over Chimichanga, I think I’ve died and gone to homemade Tex Mex heaven.
It’s great fun to base meals for a large number of people on a particular theme, you can simply throw together various dishes and people love getting stuck in to food they can eat with their hands. Nachos and stuffed pitta breads are great for this.
I won’t take all the credit for the scrummy looking food, Rich (the fiancé) made the loaded potato skins (look out for his guest recipe coming soon) and we kind of just threw the rest together whilst drinking with my brother Kelv and his girlfriend JoJo.
Now, i’m totally guilty of saying I can’t find the time to cook for myself, let alone to entertain, but if your guests happen to be relaxed family who also have a baby it’s all quite good fun. We managed to feed, entertain and put the babies to bed, have a drink and a laugh ourselves and we still managed to pull together this delicious feast and photograph it for the blog. A pretty successful evening all round.
I’ve included the recipe using my new recipe plug in below, so if you want to make this recipe for more or less people, just use the handy scroll bar and decide how many you want to cook for. The ingredient quantities will automatically update. Impressive I know! Also, don’t forget you can print the recipe using the small blue print icon. Happy cooking!
Chilli Con Carne
This is a recipe for a rich smokey chilli con carne. This dish is so versatile it can be served with plain rice, on a jacket potato, in a pitta bread, or on top of nachos - however you choose to serve it though, be sure not to forget the essential condiments, grated cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, freshly chopped coriander and most importantly an ice cold beer.
This recipe is great for feeding a crowd and it freezes well, so don't worry about leftovers - all the more for you.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan, add the mince and cook until browned.
Remove the mince from the pan and set aside, leaving a little oil in the pan, then add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until translucent.
Add the garlic, mushrooms, carrot, red pepper and then return the mince to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the oregano and spices, chopped tomatoes and water. Stir well to combine and bring to a boil then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.
Cook on a medium to low heat for one hour. The chilli will thicken and become rich. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
10 minutes before the chilli is cooked, add the kidney beans and freshly chopped coriander.
Serve either straight away, or after sitting for up to 20 minutes (I prefer it when it's not piping hot).