Chili con Carne

Who wouldn’t like a bowl of chili in a winter night? If you haven’t tried making this TexMex dish at home, here is a quick and easy recipe that you can make on a weeknight. This version is mild, because I don’t like my food too spicy… so adjust the amount of chili powder to your taste. I like to eat my chili with rice, sour cream, cheese and spring onions. But feel free to eat with tortilla chips, if you prefer. You can also use the leftovers (if there is any) to top a pile of tortilla chips (or Doritos), add cheese and then you have delicious nachos =)

Chili con Carne

Adapted from the Good Food Magazine, May 2002


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp hot chili powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 cans (420g each) red kidney beans
  • salt and pepper to taste (I use about 2 tsp of salt)
  • soured cream, boiled long grain rice, grated cheese and spring onions, to serve


  1. In a pan on the hob over a medium heat, add the oil and heat for 1-2 minutes until hot. Add the onions and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, squidgy and slightly translucent. Tip in the garlic, red pepper, chili, paprika and cumin. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Turn the heat up a bit, add the meat to the pan and stir constantly. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.
  3. For the sauce, crumble your stock cube into 300ml of hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture. Add the chopped tomatoes and  tip in the marjoram and the sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Squirt in about 2 tbsp of tomato purée and stir the sauce well.
  4. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and put a lid on the pan. Turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for 20 minutes. Check on the pan occasionally to make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.
  5. Drain and rinse the beans in a sieve and stir them into the chilli pot. Bring to the boil again, put the lid on again and gently bubble for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry. Taste a bit of the chili and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chili to stand for 10 minutes before serving. Leave the chili to stand is important so the meat incorporate all the flavours of the spices.
  6. Serve with long grain rice, sour cream, grated cheese and spring onions or simply with tortilla chips.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutritional Information (per serving): 387 kcalories, protein 36g, carbohydrate 25g, fat 17 g, saturated fat 6g, fibre 6g, sugar 1g, salt 2.32 g

Note: This actually yields 6 servings, but I kept above as in the original recipe because of the nutritional information.


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