I only buy tomatoes in season, because I dislike the flavor when grown in hothouses or otherwise. So I tend to eat a lot of tomatoes this time of year and whenever possible, choose heirloom from my local farmer’s market.
I had never made Chili Con Carne from fresh tomatoes, so I thought, why not try it and I made a batch yesterday. I know many cooks remove the skin and seeds, but I didn’t bother and I doubt anyone would know the difference. Anyway, the dish turned out great! I made mine from pasture raised beef, but you can use other meats or omit and make it vegetarian. I made some brown rice and served it with tortilla chips because the crispy chips add a nice texture. I also added some raw baby tomatoes, crème fraiche and grated cheddar cheese to finish it.
Heirloom Tomato Chili Con Carne
1 pound ground pasture raised beef, buffalo, turkey, or chicken
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 head garlic, minced
2 pounds heirloom tomatoes roughly chopped or 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes plus a handful of baby tomatoes quartered for garnish
1 ½ cups dried beans or 2 cans pinto and/or white beans and liquid if no salt
1-4 tablespoons hot chili pepper (adjust according to how spicy you like it)
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cumin
1 can corn or 2 ears corn, shucked (optional)
2 or more cups water
Grated cheddar cheese, crème fraiche or sour cream, optional
Brown rice and/or tortilla chips
- If you are using dried beans, soak overnight and cook until they are still pretty firm, set aside.
- Sauté meat on medium high until brown and crumbly and set aside, drain excess oil.
- Sauté onion and garlic in extra virgin olive oil until soft on medium heat, approximately 15 minutes.
- Add spices and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. (Taste and add more spices if needed.)
- Add tomatoes and dried, partly beans if using and a couple of cups of water. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Simmer for an hour, adding water or canned unsalted bean juice as needed.
- If using canned beans, add and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with rice and/or tortilla chips. Top with cheddar cheese, sour cream or crème fraiche.