Around this time of year I get so much use out of my slow cooker.
I adore the fact that you can spend 10-15 minutes prepping a meal, and the slow cooker then does all the hard work for you.
I am not a huge meat eater, so I am always looking at ways to incorporate meatless options into some of my favourite hearty meat style dishes.
Chilli Con Carne, is traditionally a beef mince dish. In this recipe I have substituted the mince for lentils.
The trick to this dish, and the way to achieve the deep rich flavours usually brought along by the juices from the beef mince, is the spices and tinned tomatoes.
When you add the spices to the vegetables the trick is to cook them slowly for a couple of minutes, and then add the tinned tomatoes slowly.
A couple of tablespoons at a time.
Frying the tinned tomatoes with the spices and ensuring the tinned tomatoes reduce slowly results in their deep, sweet flavour emerging.
If you just tip the two tins in at once, the flavour just isn’t the same.
Whilst this part is a little time consuming it is so worth the effort, the dish tastes completely different when the tomatoes are cooked in this way.
So lets get cracking!
Lentil Con Carne Recipe:
- 1 bag of 400g Red Split Lentils
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 pepper
- 1 red onion
- 3 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 tablespoon of Paprika
- 1 tablespoon Tumeric
- 1 tablespoon of Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Mixed Spice
- 1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Vegetable Stock Cube
- 1 tin of Kidney Beans
- Dice the red onion, celery, carrot and pepper into small chunks and fry in a heavy bottomed pan, with 3 crushed garlic cloves and a tablespoon.
- Add the cumin, paprika, all Spice and turmeric, and fry on a medium heat for 3 minutes.
- Add the tinned tomatoes around 3 tablespoons at a time, frying and then repeating the process.
- Add a tablespoon of Cocoa Powder (adds depth and a rich flavour) and 3 cups of water.
- Soak the lentils for 10 minutes in water and drain.
- Transfer the lentils, tomato base and add a tin of kidney beans to a slow cooker.
- Add a vegetable stock cube, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
This batch makes around 6-8 portions and you can add chilli-flakes or chilli sauce to add a spicy kick.
Serve with rice, in a jacket potato, with tortilla chips or alone.
The choice is yours.
Not only is it a tasty health hearty dish, it works out around only 50p per portion.
Do you like the the look of this Lentil Con Carne?
Let me know in the comments.