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Middle Eastern style Chile Con Carne

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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 American ingredients.

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 add.


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]

posted on Jun, 14 2010 @ 01:01 PM
Personally, I'd have used mutton instead of lamb - sheep or goat, it wouldn't matter.

Slow cooked for at least 4-6 hours, and maybe a few dates (taken out after cooking) for just a touch of sweetness between the spices.

It's also really easy to make your own flat breads, and there's loads of recip[es for them - it's the prep time that's a pain, because they cook in just a couple of minutes, plus if you make your own, you can add herbs, spices, garlic etc to the dough.

Sounds like a winner to me

[edit on 14/6/2010 by budski]

posted on Jun, 14 2010 @ 05:51 PM
OMG, Mike, your ingredients sound foodgasmic! When I read your thread title, I thought garbanzo and lamb, and bulgar wheat (tabouli). Would you grate the Halloumi onto the chili, or, slice it, grill it, and serve it on the side with the chili?

You've given me some ideas for my husband and I to experiment with. As he and I like to say, The first rule of Food Club is there are no rules. lol

posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 01:01 AM
Sorry I came to this party a little late.

There is a middle eastern chili served in parts of the U.S.

It is called Cincinnati Chili and is a sweet chili.

It was first made and served by a restaurant owner from Turkey or Greece in Cincinnati,Ohio.

It is popular in that area and other areas of the Midwest and Orlando,area.

It can be served with beans and/or onions and can be topped with shredded Cheddar cheese.

then you would order it 3 way,4 way or 5 way depending on the add on's to the chili

A regional chain called Steak&Shake serves Chilli Mac which is basically the same thing.

All these Chilli's are normally served over spaghetti noodles!

And it is great!!

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