Despite the current testing times, one thing we are enjoying is eating more as a family. Pre lock down we were lucky if we managed 2 family meals a week; work, sport commitments and life in general meant not everyone was always around at meal times. Now, of course, everyone is here 24/7 and hungry most of the time! Finding tasty, uncomplicated, family meals that everyone enjoys is not always easy. My go to recipe is some kind of chicken traybake; chicken thighs, vegetables and rice or potatoes in the oven to forget about it while it cooks. At the beginning of lockdown, I struggled to find chicken, particularly thighs but I had some mince in the freezer and so the family chilli was born.
This Chilli is mild enough that our four-year-old loves it but also has enough flavour that the adults can enjoy it too, obviously you can add more chilli if you prefer it with more of a kick. My team are not that keen on kidney beans, they don’t like the texture, so I’ve used mixed beans. I had a tin in the cupboard as I add them to stews, they have a good mix of beans and textures and I’ve had no complaints! I also add lentils to the chilli, it helps thicken the sauce, and makes the chilli go further but you can just leave these out if preferred. Once cooked you can’t even tell they are in there so it’s a good way to get low fat plant based protein, fibre and iron into your diet.
Family Friendly Chilli Con Carne
Serves approx. 4/6
1 Large Onion – finely chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic crushed
150g Red Split Lentils
1 ½ tsp Paprika
1 ½ tsp Mild Chilli Flakes or Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Marjoram
1 tsp Sugar
4 tbsp Tomato Puree
400g Beef Stock – you may need to add a little more water as the dish is simmering.
400g Can of Mixed Beans
We love to put all the side dishes in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves, this encourages the children to load up their bowls with a bit of everything. They love the chilli with the sour cream, cheese, iceberg lettuce and of course nachos!
You can make this dish ahead of time to step four and then leave to cool before placing in the fridge overnight. The beans can then be added and the dish gently reheated for 10/15 minutes. If anything by making the dish ahead of time and leaving overnight it allows the flavours of the spices to develop.
This dish also freezes really well; you can double the quantity and freeze half for another day.
Kirsty Wilson Close
Food Styling, Food Writing, Food Lover
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