Thursday, February 2

Really? ... a Soup?!

Certain things are done a little differently out here in the States. 

Imagine when we first arrived here looking through a menu in a restaurant and not finding any main courses. No, I wasn't in a speciality place ... it happens in every restaurant. On closer inspection and with greater understanding, I soon came to realise that even though the word 'Entree' is French and means beginning/starter and is used to describe the first course of meal in France and understood to mean that in England, the Americans use it to describe their 'Main Course' which is not what the word means at all!

The longer I have lived in the States with my family the more I have come to double check the meanings of words I think I understand because inevitably they often don't mean what I expect them to! Another food related difference we've found is Chilli. In the UK that word would conjure up variations of mince, kidney, beans, onions and a tomatoey sauce served on a bed of rice. Here it could be any kind of meat with all variations of ingredients often more like British stews, just with a bit of a kick to them. They are rarely served with rice, more often crackers or tortilla chips of some sort and are referred to as soups rather than a main course or 'entree'!!

I've mentioned my good friend Rachel before, she has left her family behind and visited us out here in the States ... and has just booked to do so again this year too. About 12 years ago or so, she was not the master chef and yummy mummy that she is today. In fact if I went round to her house for dinner I would stop by the supermarket on my way there and then cook for her. Nowadays things are totally different and I'm getting recipe advice from her ... you rock Rach!

One visit to her house she introduced me to the easiest and yummiest Chilli recipe ever ... Chilli in the British understanding anyway! I've even won round at least one American friend who told me that she doesn't like Chilli but loves mine! So whether we serve it with pasta, rice or tortilla chips and refer to is as a main course or a soup ... this is one recipe we love as a family!!

  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 450g/1lb minced beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 800g canned diced tomatoes
  • 400g canned red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1-3 tsp chilli powder
  • 2-3 handfuls of frozen peas & corn
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander ('cilantro' in the USA) - optional
  1. Heat oil in large casserole
  2. Add beef, cook til lightly browned
  3. Add onion, pepper & garlic - 5 mins, til soft
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients (except coriander)
  5. Bring to the boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 mins
  6. Stir in coriander just before stirring
This freezes really well. I usually make a double batch now to save time on a busy evening in the future. Sometimes for the double I will use one tin of red kidney beans and one of black beans ... equally as yummy!

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