I love themed dinner party… I could explore a foreigner cuisine, I could dress up like the ’50 or the ’80 or I could use a musical or a cinematografical genre as a theme…. well, I just love it! I study the theme, how to prepare dinner, how to make a party out of it… and then the amusement of the party itself, in which you try to recreate an atmosphere that reminds you of the chosen theme.
So, when Ann chose chili con carne (ortodox version) for the MTC, in my head “someone” started screaming Tex-Mex dinner.
So, to recreate the right atmosphere, I suggest to add something: a bowl filled with tortilla chips, some guacamole (but you could also choose to make some nachos) and then eat all with your bare hands, maybe watching a western movie. I don’t like so much western movies, so I suggest you a crazy one, Django Unchained by my beloved Quentin Tarantino (a personal note: enjoy the KKK scene, hilarious). And this movie has a great OST, too (listen to this, or this). But, if you don’t want to eat in front of the TV, at least listen to some country music… I don’t love it, but for Johnny Cash I make an exception.
But now, here it is… Ann’s chili con carne and tortillas
|Chili con carne with black beans and soft wheat tortillas||
- FOR THE CHILI CON CARNE
- extra-virgin olive oil
- finely chopped onion
- 3-4 friggitelli (little capsicum)
- 1 kg beef mince
- dried chili peppers (I used Soverato peppers from Calabria)
- ground black pepper
- 3-4 chopped tomatoes
- 200 g black beans, previously boiled for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker
- FOR THE TORTILLAS
- 500 g soft wheat flour (it contains less gluten)
- 3 tbsp fat of your choice (I chose extra-virgin olive oil)
- 1-1/2 tsp di baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 240-360 ml lukewarm water
- Put on some latex gloves, then break the chili peppers in pieces and eliminate the seeds; then put the pieces in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave them in infusion for at least 2 hours.
- Past this time, blend all together with an hand blender, until you get a paste. Sift it (so you can eliminate any peel residue) and collect the pulp in a bowl.
- Heat up some extra-virgin olive oil in a cast iron (or earthenware or heavy steel) pan, then sauté the chopped onion and the friggitelli cut into thin slices. Add the mince beef, season with salt, black pepper and coriander, then add the chili peppers paste and the fresh tomatoes, chopped in pieces. Mix well and let it cook with the lid on (but leave a split, so that the steam could come out) on a very low flame for about 2 hours, checking out from time to time.
- After 30 minutes cooking, add the black beans, previously cooked in a pressure cooker.
- The best would be making the chili, but waiting the next day to eat it.
- For tortillas, in a bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt; add the extra-virgin olive oil and start kneading, then add water until you get a dough soft, but not sticky (the dough has to be hydrated, but not too much, ’cause otherwise you’ll create gluten, and your tortillas will be harder).
- Divide the dough into balls and let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes under a moist cloth. Meanwhile, heat up a frying pan or a caster iron plate (not a teflon pan, ’cause you can’t heat it up by itself) and, when it’s starting heating up, take a dough ball and roll it out with a rolling pin until you have round tortilla (thinner or thicker, it’s your choice).
- The caster iron plate will be at the right temperature when, sprinkling it with some water, the plate will fizzle and the water will evaporate almost immediately. Put the tortilla on and, as soon as you’ll see some bubbles on the surface, lift the tortilla up using a spatula to check for some brown spot. Now you can turn the tortilla and cook the other side. Keep the tortillas warm in a basket covered up with a cloth and then with a kitchen towel.