posted on Jun, 13 2010 @ 06:43 AM
Chili Con Carne or better known as just "Chili" in the states is a Tex-Mex dish going back to the 1600s bringing together Spanish and Native
The dish normally calls for beef or venison. Beans are often added. Sometimes it may be served over rice. It can be topped with cheese or sour cream
and some people even eat it with crackers.
When I was in Iraq I fell in love with lamb and after Afghanistan I came to love Basmati rice.
I started wondering what would a Middle Eastern style recipe for Chili con carne be like? What would be in it?
Beef and Venison would be out the question, but Lamb is all over the place in that part of the world.
They wouldn't use Mexican chili peppers either, but my first batch I had to use Mexican chiles. The next batch I plan on using Zhug or Harissa only.
Zhug is a Middle Eastern chili sauce with coriander, cumin, garlic and cilantro.
Harissa is a North African chili sauce that uses African piri piri chiles, tomatoes, paprika, coriander, cumin, and olive oil.
I prefer Harissa flavor wise and I can buy it locally so I'll probably use it first.
Now what kind of beans could I use?
The only true Middle Eastern bean. The Fava Bean! I also decided that Garbanzo Beans, aka: Chickpeas, can be added.
In some dishes of Chile Con Carne, Corn is added. Well Corn in this version is a no go. So I started looking at something else from the region I could
I decided to have it served over something, but it couldn't be regular old rice.
I remembered how much I loved Basmati rice, but I also like Couscous. The first batch I made with Basmati. The second I'll use Couscous. I have seen
recipes that mix rice and couscous, so I may try that later.
For the cheese I decided upon a type of Halloumi made from Sheep milk. You can get Halloumi where its a mix of Sheep and Goat milk, but I am not a fan
of Goat cheese or milk.
Also instead of crackers, serve with Pita bread. Good Pita or Khubz bread is hard to find in the states unless you live in certain areas with a middle
eastern community. Some Middle Eastern restraunts that bake it for their dishes will sell it in quantity if you ask about it. We have a Lebanese
restraunt here that does so.
I'm still experimenting with the recipe and want to chronicle the experiment in this thread.
If anyone has ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear them.
[edit on 13/6/10 by MikeboydUS]