A Real Carne con Chili

The main indigenous meat of Mexico is turkey, with beef, chicken, lamb and other meats having been introduced by the Spanish conquistadores.  And of course it is beef that is the staple of this particular dish.  ‘Chili con carne’ (or a real ‘carne con chili’) is a classic pot dish in the UK, brilliantly suited to cold winter nights.  We regularly make a ‘chili con carne’ at home for ease, not having known until recently that this version, made with halal minced beef and beans, is actually Tex-Mex.  In Mexico, people use cubed beef in a rich chili sauce (with or without tomatoes, with beans and or rice on the side).  Serve this real version with corn tortillas and your favourite toppings, including a hard halal cheese.  It’s perfect made with our halal diced beef.  Find the luscious recipe here, which, in contrast to the normal fusion version, uses bright pink sliced radishes, allspice berries and chipotle (a mild, dried chili with a deep smoky flavour).  You can make a big batch of this stuff, and eat it over the course of a few days.

Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles are a traditional dish using baked or fried tortillas as the base.  They’re ideal for family get-togethers, or as something to dip into as a sharing platter, while you wait for the main dish.  We love this as something to eat while watching a film on a Friday night.  Try this recipe, adding, as the Mexicans do, some scrambled or fried eggs, and pulled halal chicken on top, along with a good amount of cheese and cream.  Chilaquiles are often served with a generous dose of refried beans (which by the way, are called frijoles, if you want to sound like an expert).

Tacos al pastor

This is a historic dish, which in Mexico is one of the most popular varieties of tacos.  It dates back to the 1920s and 30s when the Lebanese and Syrian immigrants arrived in Mexico.  The name means ‘in the style of the shepherd’, and is made with meat, a corn tortilla, and served with onions, coriander leaves and pineapple.  We love this version, which is made with chicken.  Our halal chicken thighs will work best for this dish.

There are lots of ways to inject a little bit of Mexico into your week.  (Add tortilla croutons to a salad, or put a little chili in your hot chocolate, if you don’t have much time!)  But there are plenty of real Mexican dishes that work really well for British wintertime, and are easy to knock up.  Learn how to make a rich, warming chocolately mole sauce to have with halal chicken, and experiment with Mexican-inspired one-pot dishes full of aromatic spices and herbs that make cooking simple and meals bursting with flavour.  Whipping up different guacamoles is easy too, with nothing but a blender, an avocado and a few ideas: try adding peppers or crab meat, pineapple or corn.  ¡Buen provecho!