When I shared my enchiladas with Toutoune and Willy, after the initial “spicy” shock, Toutoune said how much she liked another Mexican food, Chili con Carne. Now people, everyone’s French palate was stunned by my “enchiladas for babies” and Toutoune has never been to the States, so I wondered where she could have tasted chili con carne and of what ingredients it could have been composed. Imagining kidney beans, sugar, ketchup and kernels of sweet corn, probably from the French chain restaurant, The Buffalo Grill, I resolved to make a chili for her to taste, realizing that the “hotness” would necessarily have to be toned down, though not the flavor.
I love the fresh, garden flavors of Mexican cuisine and it’s simple flat breads (tortillas). Mexican food doesn’t necessarily have to been screaming hot; chillies come in all shapes, sizes and vary in pungency (heat) . These long green chillies from Spain are mild and with the seeds removed have a lightly, spicy bell pepper taste. I had to add some sriracha to my bowl ;)
Top up your bowl of red with diced tomatoes, sliced scallions and grated cheese. If you can’t get fresh beans, soak dried beans overnight, cook for an hour, drain and continue with recipe.
Fresh Coco Bean Chili
1/2 -1 cup smoked lardons or diced country bacon
2 small red onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 mild, long green chillies, chopped
1 1/2 lbs ground veal
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp Mexican chili powder
2 fresh bay leaves
3 cans diced tomatoes
4 cups shelled fresh beans
2 cups water
Diced fresh tomatoes, sliced scallions, grated cheese
Warm corn tortillas
In a large pot, brown the lardons, remove and set to drain. Remove all but 2 tbsp of lardons fat from the pot and add the onions, garlic, bell pepper and chillies, sauteing until just soft. Add the veal and continue to cook until all the pink has left the meat.
Add the diced tomatoes, oregano, cumin, chili powder and bay leaves to the pot and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the beans and water, bring to a boil, then lower to simmer for about an hour.
Ladle the chili into large bowls and top with tomatoes, scallions and cheese and serve with a warm corn tortilla.