Chili Con Carne


Don’t you dare say a word about my dirty hob-top. That’s the sign of a good cook, that is. I’ll challenge anyone who says otherwise to frying pans at dawn.

Now then. Chilli. It’s a dangerous thing to give a recipe for because everyone thinks their own is the best. So read mine, and then do whatever you like with it. Add to it, take away from it, bugger about with it, I won’t mind. The only thing I ask that you include is cumin, because that’s what brings the dish together.

Serves 4

450g minced beef
1 red pepper (bell), roughly chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Chopped chilli, however much you like
1 tin kidney beans, rinsed
400ml beef stock (from a cube will do)
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
A couple of sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

The Cooking

As most people know, chili tastes better the next day So it’s perfect to make on a Sunday night and eat on the Monday.

Basics first – soften the onion and pepper in whichever pan you want to use to cook your chili in. When it’s going translucent, add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Now add the minced beef and turn the heat up.

Brown the meat. It doesn’t have to completely cook through, but give it a bit of colour so it doesn’t look grey. When you’re happy, add in the cumin, coriander, tomato puree, cayenne pepper, thyme, salt and pepper. Fry for another couple of minutes so it mingles well then add the beef stock.

Bring it up to simmer and taste it. This is important – you MUST taste it. If you want to add any more of anything, do so. Chili is an intensely flavoured dish so don’t be nervous. It’s hard to muck it up completely.

Leave it to simmer for however long you’ve got. A couple of hours would be really good but don’t fret if you’ve only got half an hour. If it needs more liquid, add some water. If it’s too watery, turn up the heat and boil it off.

Half an hour before you want to served, add in the kidney beans. Stir well and let it be. If you want to freeze it or put it aside for the next day, this is when you do it.

When you’re ready, serve with a dollop of sour cream. I find brown rice rather than white tastes better with chili, no idea why. Enjoy it! Eat more of it than you should!


12 Responses to “Chili Con Carne”

  1. bigsky Says:

    I have never seen red pepper go translucent. :p

    And I generally fry the mince first, then drain off most of the fat.

    But other than that, that looks pretty darn tasty.

    A touch of cinnamon can be nice too.

  2. Lea Says:

    I’m so glad you didnt suggest serving this over rice! It is one of the strangest things you Brits do to chili, serving it over rice! What it needs is a big fat wedge of cornbread! 😉

  3. Lea Says:

    also noticed.. no chili powder? Can you not get it in the UK? Need a yank to send you some? =)

  4. stef Says:

    looking good but where is the tomato. doesn’t sound to harty and hes right there should be some chilli powder if not tabasco- p.s i am a brit but i’m WELSH!
    keep on cooking
    stef x

  5. Dave Says:

    That looks good! It should, the recipe is very similar to mine.

    I, too, brown the beef first, remove the fat and then begin softening the vegs. I use chili powder rather than fresh chilis; about half as much chili powder as cumin.

    For this recipe, I add a 28 oz can of tomatoes; and, sometimes, about a Tbs tomato paste for deeper flavor.

    I don’t use thyme in my chile — but I am going to try it; likewise the beef stock.


  6. mjfs007 Says:

    Watching Heston thingymematal the other night he really showed me difference browning the meat can make – it’s not about ‘sealing in the flavour etc ‘ but about the extra taste you get from the browned/blackened meat. So now I go nuclear with my mince before I do anything – 400 g good steak mince
    – heat a small cast iron / solid pan at full whack and add some olive oil till it smokes – fry the beef in small quick batches without moving about too much chef styli so it really browns and just remove to a plate. Continue with smokin pan and topping up the oil when needed until you’ve got a plate of well browned steak tartare.

    Then start with your onions / chilli powder / cumin etc and add the meat as normal – my top tip is to cube up a 1 inch slice of chorizo from the deli counter and put that in with the onoins instead of oil.

  7. Cullum Says:

    Try using 1/2 t-spoon of paprika and another one of cayene pepper, and I prefer a tin of chopped tomatoes and 1 T-spoon of puree, but hey everyone has a different idea as you said!

  8. Sasha Says:

    Once I made a chili with a recipe from Men’s Health magazine. It called for several squares of dark chocolate. I found it strange but did as the recipe said. It turned out delicious! I added it about five minutes before the chili was done. It adds a layer of richness and definite sweetness.

    I think that’s a great idea = )

  9. Admiral Hulford O. Wonders Esq. Says:

    chili and rice is the bomb

  10. Anonymous Says:

    thats about the drabbest looking chilli I’ve ever seen & looks pretty tasteless like the ones you by in a can at Asda. Needs a bit more colour & a few mushrooms thrown in for texture & taste

  11. spam! Says:

    What a dirty hob-top!
    I challenge you to frying pans at dawn! ;D

  12. Says:

    i want to send you a recipe for white chili made with ground turkey, tomatillos, white beans, and spices, with queso blanco and jalepenos/scallions on top (you can use feta cheese as a substitute).

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