Chilli Con Arty

I must say, I'm not big on dinner parties...they scare the living daylights out of me. Something about inviting only grownups and no kids, then setting the table with the best china, the crystal goblets and the polished silverware, screams at me to produce a gastronomic experience fit for a Michelin starred restaurant. Dinner parties to me mean hard work, a super clean shiny house to go with the super shiny glassware, an excessive amount of preparation and an even bigger amount of clean up the next day. Dinner parties make me feel like an interloper...a fake. Gourmet food is not what I feel comforted by or capable of making. (But...I have friends who have sensational dinner parties and I love THOSE dinner parties...hint, hint, wink, wink ;) Please keep inviting us!) Give me a super easy, casual 'Jamie Oliver' style meal any feasting with great flavours and colour and variety, preferably plonked into the middle of our dinner table, that is big enough to sit adults and kids together and for everyone to help themselves. Fun, laughter, red wine, paper napkins. Bliss. We did this on friday night. 5 kids, 4 adults. One great big pot of Chili Beef, a delicious spinach salad, and for pud, chocolate cake, strawberries and icecream. I was given this recipe last year (thanks Diane!) It was originally ripped out of a magazine, so unfortunately I can't credit the original creator of this easy, peasy chilli. I tripled (!!) the recipe this time...cause its yum and we are piggy...and I like some leftovers for the next day...which means I can spend more time in my studio and less time preparing lunch for the peeps on a saturday. (I always, always double the recipe for this very reason..always!) I'm giving you though, the undoubled, untripled this one only feeds 4! 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 onion 1 teaspoon minced garlic 500g lean minced beef 1 teaspoon dried hot chilli flakes (Adjust to taste) 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs 1 beef stock cube 1/2 cup hot water 500g jar tomato pasta sauce 415g can crushed tomatoes 2 x 400g cans 3 or 4 bean mix, drained and rinsed sour cream, coriander leaves to serve The kids like it with "Original CC's" corn chips and Dude and I like it with brown rice. Guess what? You choose. Heat oil in a large pan. Saute onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes until tender. Add mince. Brown well for a few minutes, breaking up the lumps with the back of a spoon as it cooks. Add chilli and herbs. Dissolve the stock cube in the hot water. Add to the pan with remaining ingredients. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer for another 15 minutes until thickened slightly. To serve as nachos - empty corn chips onto a large heatproof platter. Spoon mince mixture over the top. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. Grill for a few minutes until cheese is melted. Dollop with sour cream and sprinkle with coriander. Eat...with your fingers and a plenty of napkins! To serve with rice - Spoon mince over rice in a bowl. Dollop with sour cream and sprinkle on coriander. (Cheese not necessary...but I wont hold it against you if you are greedy and need cheese in your life ;) Enjoy! x Mia
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