Chilli con carne

Chilli con carne

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(918 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 50 mins - 1 hr, 10 mins

Skill level



Serves 4

This great chilli has to be one of the best dishes to serve to friends for a casual get-together

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Can be frozen
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

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  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 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
  • 410g can red kidney beans
  • plain boiled long grain rice, to serve
  • soured cream, to serve

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  1. Prepare your vegetables. Chop 1 large onion into small dice, about 5mm square. The easiest way to do this is to cut the onion in half from root to tip, peel it and slice each half into thick matchsticks lengthways, not quite cutting all the way to the root end so they are still held together. Slice across the matchsticks into neat dice. Cut 1 red pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves.
  2. Start cooking. Put your pan on the hob over a medium heat. Add the oil and leave it for 1-2 minutes until hot (a little longer for an electric hob). 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, 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder or 1 level tbsp mild chilli powder, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp ground cumin. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Brown the 500g lean minced beef. Turn the heat up a bit, add the meat to the pan and break it up with your spoon or spatula. The mix should sizzle a bit when you add the mince. Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform, mince-sized lumps and there are no more pink bits. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.
  4. Making the sauce. Crumble 1 beef stock cube into 300ml hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture. Open 1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g can) and add these as well. Tip in ½ tsp dried marjoram and 1 tsp sugar, if using (see tip at the bottom), and add a good shake of salt and pepper. Squirt in about 2 tbsp tomato purée and stir the sauce well.
  5. Simmer it gently. 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. You should check on the pan occasionally to stir it and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan or isn’t drying out. If it is, add a couple of tablespoons of water and make sure that the heat really is low enough. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.
  6. Bring on the beans. Drain and rinse 1 can of red kidney beans (410g can) in a sieve and stir them into the chilli pot. Bring to the boil again, and gently bubble without the lid for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry. Taste a bit of the chilli and season. It will probably take a lot more seasoning than you think. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving, and relax. Leaving your chilli to stand is really important as it allows the flavours to mingle and the meat.
  7. Serve with soured cream and plain boiled long grain rice.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, May 2002

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Cooking Freak's picture

Fantastic chilli recipe, I'd got a bit fed up with my usual chilli recipe so decided to give this a go. Everyone in the family including my kids enjoyed this, will definitely be making again. I also added a couple of squares of green and blacks 70% dark chocolate at the end which gave the chilli an extra rich depth of favour.

emsie_jp's picture

I have made this chilli time and time again and it's always a big hit! I like to add chopped chorizo which I fry with the mince beforehand then add to the slow cooker to simmer away. Such a tasty meal!

Mshel24's picture

This is a great recipe. I prefer it bait thicker so would add flour and simmer for a bit longer. Its also great with habanero chills, gives it a fruity spice.

Lulipie's picture

What a great recipe! I opted for the dark chocolate rather than the sugar and it was delicious. Very easy recipe to follow and it's super tasty. Big thumbs up :) I did find the tsp of hot chilli powder had quite a kick although my spice tolerance levels aren't great. If you prefer milder food then I'd put a bit less but for the spice lovers you can probably put a heaped tsp. Enjoy!

motorsportgirl's picture

Love this recipe! I make it pretty much every week. The first time I made it I didn't have majoram but didn't notice it one bit. I tried it with the chocolate and it was really nice too (although I prefer using sugar but that's personal taste). I've also made it with veggie mince and it's pretty good too - just add the veggie mince, frozen or not, when you add the meat mince and then continue on as normal.

vlatus's picture
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A huge hit with the family, this is a staple in our house, being served either with rice or in taco shells. I add whatever veg I have to hand (carrots, courgette, peppers) and also a generous splash of Worcester sauce. Never any leftovers, need a bigger pan to have any to freeze!!!

blademansw's picture

I made this the other night, I didn't have any paprika so I replaced that with Cayenne pepper.

Very tasty, but I cooked it for longer than specified, as I always do with chilli.

sarahlou26's picture

I made this for the first time tonight and it was lovely. I didn't have any marjoram so left that out, didn't seem to make any difference to the taste. I was confused about the chocolate part as its not in the method, so just had to guess how much & when to add it to the pot! only used about 25g of dark choc for the last ten made such a difference i wouldn't make without now. I also think next time i would add more chilli

MrsSJL's picture

Really quick, easy and TASTY! I didn't add sugar of chocolate but I did add half tsp of cinnamon. One heap teaspoon of chilli powder gives it just the right amount of kick.

chefbf's picture

This is a brilliant recipe, I use it all the time and always goes down well. As I make it for two I usually halve the quantities, expect I use the same 400g tomatoes to keep it from being too dry and also the same amount of cumin and paprika. Leaving it to stand at the end makes taste even nicer.

neilphillipson's picture
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I've made this dish hundreds of times now and it is always a hit with the family and with friends. Easy to follow recipe and inexpensive. I usually double up the ingredients and freeze half for an other time, which is usually tastier because all the spices have a chance to infuse.

irezumiouja's picture

This recipe is simply the best simple chili recipe you will find. Personally I add some flour to thicken it up, maybe a tbsp, and also a tbsp of chipotle paste.

Scopey888's picture

This recipe is awesome - the only changes that I made is instead of mince I use rump steak chopped up works a treat! And extra chilli

cloclo15's picture

Love this - have cooked it twice now and makes for such a quick, easy and flavoursome dinner that myself, my husband and my toddler eat over two nights. Because I am cooking for my toddler I can't have this as hot as I would like, but I find the spices mentioned in the recipe with mild chilli powder still produce a great tasting chilli.
I use Italian herbs rather than Marjoram as that is all I have in the cupboard. I also add a cinnamon stick while it simmers and a glug of lime juice at the end. I have never had any dark chocolate to hand, but do always add a bit of sugar when I cook a tomato based dish anyway - will hopefully try with the chocolate next time.

Emmafe's picture

Have made this receipe lots of times as so thought I should leave a comment. I would add slightly more cumin and chilli as without it can taste a little bland. The addition of chocolate does add to the flavour. A real winner with the slight adjustments

dwatson27's picture

Made this loads of times and always great! I usually brown meat first to drain off excess water from supermarket mince. Today bought morissons butchers mince. It was fab! No water to drain :). As usual the chilli was gorgeous. Didn't have marjoram so used thyme. A regular meal in our house. Five stars as it is so easy!

chris210's picture

I a tablespoon of flour to thicken, a star anise more chilli powder and a shot of Jack Daniels, and this really was incredible! Think next time I will try will some finely diced Smokey bacon to really take this to the next level.

ladycostumer's picture
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Made this for the ladies on the evening shift, I have never had to copy out a recipe so many times. Huge hit! You control the heat with the amount of chilli powder. Even the young children in our family want seconds.

laonie's picture
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Can we assume the one-star rating was an error then? :)

adanic84's picture

There is just one word that can describe this dish... amazing! You can't go wrong with this recipe so even if you think you can't cook, just go for it anyway.