It’s been a while since we dipped into the pages of The A-Z of Cooking…and yep, we’re still only up to C. This time though we head away from the fun, fun, fun of Children’s Favourites and into the darker world of cost savers. Retro Frugality can a very scary place!
Surprisingly, all three recipes featured in this section were things I would have been happy to make. There was the Chili Con Carne, a Tagliatelle with Bacon and Tomato Sauce and an Oxtail Casserole. I REALLY wanted to make the Oxtail Casserole just because the others are things we probably eat fairly regularly and I have never cooked with o before. But, someone had a hissy fit in the butcher when I asked for oxtails. Sometimes it’s difficult trying to be a retro food blogger when you live with the fussiest eater on the planet!!! It will be made though. I have enough meals alone to warrant making some, even if just for myself.
But for now, we needed a meal to be eaten together and, turned out, we had everything to make this chilli already in the freezer, fridge and store cupboard. This is really important as you will soon find out that not all my ventures into Mexican cooking have been so expeditious. You will also notice that there are no green peppers, as specified by the recipe ingredients, and there are mushrooms which are not mentioned. I am not fond of bell peppers of any sort as they tend to repeat on me for HOURS after I have eaten them. Plus, I had mushrooms and, in the cost cutting vibe of this post, waste not, want not right?
I had one problem with this recipe. And that was the lack of cumin. Funnily enough, as I was writing this post, I was watching a Heston Blumenthal show where he made chili con carne and he too mentioned how important it was to have cumin in your chili recipe.
Then again, Heston’s’ chili contains 27 ingredients and at least 3 processes….I love Heston, I really do. But 27 ingredients for chilli? And that doesn’t even include the muffins?
I’m sure Heston’s recipe is the best chili you’ve ever eaten. I’m equally sure that the A-Z of Cooking’s Cost Saving Recipe won’t be.
BUT. And it’s a big but. (Sir Mixalot would be proud).
Is this a tasty dish? This recipe lacked some flavour, most notably cumin. And personally, I would have increased the chilli content too. However, I think the mushrooms added some umami that would not have been present had the green peppers been used instead. And it was tasty even without the cumin. So yes, big tick on tasty.
Does it fill the brief of being a cost saver? Absolutely. The basic chili cost around $7.00. And that made 4 large or 5 medium sized serves.
Should this become something that is in your repertoire of basic dishes that you can then flavour and snazz up whatever way you want? Totally!
Is it something you will make over and over? You bet!
It’s a good, solid, basic chili recipe. Sure it’s not Heston. But it not everything needs to be. In fact, nothing except food at The Fat Duck should be.
And if you want to jazz it up, any, or all, of the following would make good additions:
- Avocado Salsa
- Corn Chips as dippers
- Warm tortillas
- Pico Di Gallo
- Grated Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Pickled Jalapenos
- Cojita or crumbled feta cheese
- Tabasco or other hot sauce
This is great, quick easy weeknight cooking, it is also great, maybe even better the next day for lunch or dinner.
Eat, enjoy! With the money you save on this why not treat yourself to a margarita or two.
Have a great week!