Low-Carb Chilli Con Carne

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This is classic comfort food that warms you up on a cold winter day. This week is particularly cold (less than -20 with the wind chill), so this flavourful, spicy chilli is perfect. With the colourful garnish, it’s also delicious for the eyes.  This particular version of the classic chilli con carne is low in carbs, as I have eliminated the beans.

I know the jury is out on whether or not mushrooms are a desired ingredient in chilli, however, I love them.  I think they’re delicious.  And they happen to be one of those veggies that, when cooked, have a certain umami…if I’m using this word correctly.  They add richness and meatiness.

Now beans are often seen as a great healthy option.  I have decided to avoid legumes as part of my diet because, although they do have protein, there are many ways to get higher amounts of protein for less calories.  And they come with a lot of carbs – which is something I’m trying to avoid.  If you have your heart set on some kind of beans, by all means, add it in when you add the passada.

I went to the states a while ago and picked up some fun Mexican ingredients that I have difficulty finding in Canada.  If anyone knows where to get stuff like dried ancho chiles in Southern Ontario, please let me know!  Anyway, I took my inspiration from Jamie Oliver here – soaking and blending up a dried ancho chile to add flavour and perceived sweetness to the recipe. Here’s what this beautiful thing looks like:

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Nutrition Information :

This is based on dividing this recipe into 4 servings.

  • Calories:324
  • Carbs: 19g
  • Fat: 14g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Sugar: 12g

*Note: pretty much all the sugar here comes from the passada. This isn’t added sugar – it’s sugar found naturally in the tomatoes. Natural sugar is still something I try to keep to a minimum – but really you can’t make chilli without this ingredient!

Calculations are made without the addition of the optional garnish but with the ancho chile included.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small Spanish onion
  • 250 grams sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 350 grams extra lean ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 jar passada
  • 1 dried ancho pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • goats cheese (optional)
  • 1 red chile (optional)
  • green onion (optional)

How to:

  1. Heat a large pan on medium heat. Add the olive oil.
  2. Roughly chop the onion, mushrooms and pepper and add to pan.  Add 1 chopped clove of garlic. Cook til onion is translucent and mushrooms change colour/texture – about 6 minutes.
  3. Remove veggies from pan.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a kettle to a boil and pour enough water over the pepper to cover.
  5. Crank up the heat and add the meat and the spices and second garlic clove. You do not need more oil in this step because fat/liquid is rendered from the meat.
  6. Stir regularly and cook until meat is browned and cooked through.
  7. Blend the pepper and water in a blender and add to meat.
  8. Add passada and veggies to the pan and stir well.
  9. Bring down heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  10. Add coriander and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  11. Divide amongst 6 plates or bowls and garnish with the other optional items.

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Spicy Minced Pork Stir-fry with Flat Beans

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P1030806If you want a delicious, satisfying meal in ten minutes, then look no further!  When I made this, I expected it to be good.  But this still surprised me.  I enjoyed every bite.  This would be great for a busy week night.

Just a little note about fish sauce : it’s really moving up on my list of favourite ingredients.  Health-wise it’s not a superstar – but I use it as a replacement for salt in a lot of the Asian-style dishes I make.  It just adds a little something extra.  It smells really strong…and maybe not that great out of the bottle.  But give it a chance – it’s really tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb flat green (or Italian) beans
  • salt
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 350 grams lean minced pork
  • 2 cloves garlic squeezed through a press
  • 1 inch of ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 2 scallions sliced
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • the juice of 1 lime

How to:

Beans: Put 1 inch of water into a pan that’s big enough for the beans to lie flat in.  Bring water to a boil on high heat, then add salt.  Then add beans. Cook beans on high for 2-3 minutes and then drain.

Pork: Heat a sauté pan or a wok on high heat. Add the sesame oil to the pan along with the garlic and ginger. Sauté for a few seconds – until you can smell it. Then add the pork and sriracha. Stir until well mixed and cook on high until browned.  Turn heat down to medium and add all other ingredients. Cook for another 3 minutes.

Plate it up and if you like, garnish with pieces of red chiles, green onion and/or cilantro.  Yum!

The following information is based on 1/3 of the recipe.  When I made this, I divided it all into 3 servings.  You can certainly eat more of it though if you’re really hungry!

ground pork stirfry