Chili and chili cheese dip... made in France!

It's a good Monday morning when you wake up and find two recipes (with photos!) waiting in your email inbox. Lyon Eats reader and contributor D. is sharing her Tex-Mex discoveries with us. Thank you!

I've been on my own little Tex-Mex mission, specifically to find chili powder or a good substitute for it. I've found some great stuff that makes chili you can barely tell wasn't made with the chili powder that I brought from home. Below is a copy of quick chili recipe you can make with ingredients bought right here in Lyon, and a chili cheese dip you can make with the leftovers.

For the spices you will want to go to Supermarché Asie at 12 rue Passet, 69007, Lyon.

Enter the store, go straight, past the rice, then right away to your right there will be an aisle of spices in little plastic bags. Most are of the Espig brand. Get one 100g bag of Epices Loubia and one 100g bag of Piment doux especial. This piment doux is not the same as you might already have in you spice rack that you got at Super U or wherever. Both cost between 1,30E and 1,80E.

Epices Loubia is a spice mix used to make a North African bean-based dish. I've had it at my mother in law's house, and I kept saying to my self, darn, that tastes a lot like chili. You'll notice that in the picture with the three bags of spices I tried out the chili powder that I brought from home in the background is of a darker and richer in color and flavor.
WARNING: There is something called "chili powder" for Tex-Mex recipes right next to the ingredients you need to get. Trust me, it's not chili powder, it's more like cut cayenne pepper with a strong hint of clove!!!

(makes 3-4 bowls)


500 g ground beef
1 can haricots blancs 500g
2 cans double concentré de tomate, 140g each
1/2 cup épices Loubia
1/4 cup épices Piment doux especial
2 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano


Open cans of tomato paste. Open the can of bean, and drain.

Heat oiled frying pan to med-high to high heat. Salt and brown ground beef.

Add Loubia spices and Piment doux especial, stir and let cook with the meat for about 30 secconds.

Add 2 1/2 cups water, 2 cans double concentré de tomate, drained beans, and sitr until well mixed.

Let simmer until desired consistency, about 2-4 mins on high heat. Add 1 Tbsp garlic powder and 1 tsp oregano in the last minute of cooking.


Set aside a bowl's worth of chili. In a larger bowl mix about equal amounts of chili to St Moret cheese (which is just like our cream cheese). Heat until melted in the microwave and stir. Eat dip with tortilla chips!

Thank you, D.! These recipes look great.

Cheese for Tex-Mex?

K. recently emailed me to ask which French cheeses to use for Tex-Mex recipes. In the country of over 1,000 cheeses, there must be some good Tex-Mex options, right? Here's her email:

I was wondering if you could tell me if you have found a substitue for cheddar cheese or even Monterey Jack that melts like they do? We have used Mimolette, which tastes fairly similar to mild cheddar - but I'm not sure how well it melts. I am wanting to make some Mexican food for friends and I normally use Jack Cheese, Pepper Jack, and Cheddar. Sharp cheddar usually. Is there anything you have found that melts like cheddar? How about that tastes like Monterey Jack?

Personally, I like Gouda. It's fairly mild and melts pretty well. You can get Cheddar (as seen here) or, as K. said, some people find Mimolette works as a substitute.

Any suggestions or ideas? (I would loooove to find a good cheese for making the queso dip served in Mexican restaurants in the US.)

Easter invitation

Easter Sunday, April 4: The International Christian Community of Lyon invites to join them for an Easter worship service, followed by an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids and a potluck apéritif dînatoire. (Don’t know what that is? Well, this is a perfect time to discover this wonderful French experience among friends.) Just bring a savoury appetizer and something sweet – finger foods, please – to share.
6, rue Albert Thomas
Caluire et Cuire, 69300

Also, the ICCL has launched their new website. Visit for weekly updates and the calendar of cultural and church events.

March Madness on CBS... in France!

Maybe others knew this, but we didn't so I felt it worth sharing.

You can watch March Madness games live on cbs.com for free... even in France!

2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Schedule

Selection Sunday™: March 14
Opening Round Game: March 16
1st Round: March 18-19
2nd Round: March 20-21
NCAA Sweet 16®: March 25-26
Elite Eight®: March 27-28
Final Four®: April 3
National Championship: April 5

For those of you who come to Lyon Eats for food-related topics, here's an article from Taste of Home on everything you need to know to throw a March Madness party, including recipes for appetizers and even a basketball-shaped cake!

Found: Tex-Mex!

"I found this great section at Megaprix on Garibaldi yesterday."

Thanks to S. for sending in this photo!

And in honor of this Tex-Mex focus, here's a recipe for making your own taco seasoning from Apartment Therapy.

(Or, in a pinch, just use 3-4 teaspoons of cumin for every pound of meat.) Olé!

• 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
• 2 teaspoons Chili Powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
• 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
• 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
• 1 teaspoon Cayenne/Paprika
• 2 teaspoons dried Onions


1. Measure: Measure out all ingredients side by side to ensure you don't double up or leave one out.
2. Mix: Combine ingredients in a zip top bag or bowl and shake/stir to combine until cornstarch and onions are well distributed.
3. Store: Keep in an air tight container for up to 1 year.
4. To Use: 7 teaspoons of mix is enough to season 1 pound of meat. We often start with 4 teaspoons and increase it from there. Some meats like turkey and chicken take less, while pork and beef might take a little more. Play to your own tastes and remember, you can always add more, but you can't take it out!

Dinner and a movie?

Or just movie and a movie? Guest writer Ngan Dam has the scoop on the upcoming spring movie event you don't want to miss. Ngan is a trained and certified English literature and ESL teacher, has years of experience in the translation and interpretation industry, speaks English, Vietnamese, and Spanish, and is working to add French to the list. She is a Suite 101 contributor, writes for Go English magazine, and blogs at Le Croissant Trail.

Le Printemps du Cinéma

Lyonnais moviegoers rejoice! The popular Le Printemps du Cinéma is back and that means one sweet thing: affordable movie tickets at 3,50 euros a pop.

When: Sunday, March 21 to Tuesday, March 23

Where: UGC and Pathé cinémas (others may also be participating)

3,50 euros/ticket

Shutter Island, Precious, Sweet Valentine, The Good Heart, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Nine, La Rafle, and many others...

For more information, visit Le Printemps du Cinéma official website. It’s a national “événement” so you will be able to enjoy it anywhere in France.

'Best before' sale

Just got a tweet from Clark over at My American Market announcing a one-week sale on products with an upcoming 'best before' date. Discounts go up to 50% off on select food products from America and shipping is as low as 0.29€/lb.

Here's a sampling from the sale...

Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix
Betty Crocker pie crust mix
Betty Crocker Super Moist lemon cake mix
Bull's Eye Hickory Smoke steak sauce
French's Honey Mustard
Little Becky Marshmallows (2 kinds!)
Molly McButter
Newman's Own Caesar salad dressing
Swiss Miss hot cocoa mix - dark chocolate (my favorite!)

Found: heavy-duty aluminum foil!

Thanks to David Lebovitz, American author and blogger in Paris, I now know that heavy-duty aluminum foil can be found at Auchan.

You can also thank him for this excellent post on Ingredients for American Baking in Paris. (Don't worry. They work in Lyon too!)

Bad news for Splenda-lovers

This just in from a Lyon Eats reader.

"The company that sells Splenda stopped selling retail in the entire country of France. They only sell it wholesale, so if you have a buddy that runs a cafe or something they might be able to order a large amount. Starbucks has it to put in their coffee drinks. I think they still sell in GB and Spain."

Thanks, D. for this information. Does anyone know of a good source online?

Any other US products that have disappeared from the shelves lately?