Tuesday, 8 October 2013

WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: An Ode to Chilli con carne

So this week, we challenge you to step outside your blogging box and try something totally different:

Chilli con carne

Do not worry, I am not telling everyone how to cook a perfect dish, so you do not have to flee from this informative blog. I would not dare to do that, lacking a portion Mexican blood and not being able to trace my ancestors to Pancho Villa.

It is just a fascinating thing to cook a chilli con carne, especially as my first experience was hearing the expression in various American police series or films. It seemed to me that Columbo, the famous detective with the hippy raincoat, often ordered a bowl of chilli when dining in between solving the case. I only knew the chilli plant as being something hot, burning and strange. My English taste buds did not appreciate this new spice. I was imagining a bowl of small red chillies being spiced with some salt and pepper.

The solution was completely different, of course. One fine day I ordered a new Swiss cookery book featuring recipes with mincemeat and amongst these was Chilli con Carne. The solution was found, the mixture of beans, peppers and meat was flavoured with chilli pepper. Now I knew what Inspector Columbo had been eating, although I remain corrected. I think he ordered chilli beans, so he probably left all the extras out of this fiery dish; he might have been a vegetarian, hence omitting mincemeat.

With trembling kitchen spoon I stirred my first pan of chilli con carne. I had a glass of cold water ready for cooling my burnt mouth through trial tastes, in case I over spiced this wonderful dish with too much chilli. Since my humble beginnings I have become adventurous, a real dare devil. I even buy a complete red pepper, split it through the middle and remove the seeds. I cook this with the rest but remove it before serving. I discovered this should be done with care. After fileting the seed pod, do not put your fingers in your mouth, or perhaps rub an eye which might be irritated. I do not think I have to explain why.

What do you eat with your bowl of chilli con carne? Again probably a matter of taste and everone has their own thing. At my humble unknowing beginnings, I insulted my bowl of chilli by serving a side salad with it. Since this day I have progressed and now serve my chilli with fresh bread. The Swiss Family Angloswiss prefer white bread with a crispy crust, something ciabatta similar. This is one of the few opportunities I indulge in to eat white bread.

And hints or improvements in this unique dish are welcome. To be quite honest I found it such good photo subject, and I must be the first to have written “An Ode to Chilli Con Carne”.


  1. Your photo certainly looks delicious!! It is a favourite dish of mine, although I prefer mine quite strong, probably stronger than you would like. As for it being the first 'Ode to Chili Con Carne' ? I'm not so sure, maybe!! There are appreciation societies (yes, they do exist) around the world, who extol the virtues of chili. There are even major competitions in the US to create the best version of this popular dish.

    1. No problem with strong, I lived and ate with a half Pakistani family in Zürich for two years and they also had an Indian restaurant. I learnt to appreciate chilli from all sides. I remember the little mincemeat pattes, each with a small dried red chilli in the middle. If you can eat that, you can eat anything.