Chilli con carne

Chilli con carne

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(1006 ratings)

Prep: 50 mins - 1 hr, 10 mins


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

  • Can be frozen

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal387
  • fat17g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs25g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre6g
  • protein36g
  • salt2.32g
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  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 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



    A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of…

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp sugar



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410g can red kidney beans
  • plain boiled long grain rice, to serve
  • soured cream, to serve


  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.

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Comments (1030)

boris1239's picture

Went down very well with kids to older folk so was well worth doing. Left out the chocolait though as I didn't fancy that bit.

liisylu's picture

Just made this tonight and i can say it was the best Chilli recipe that i have done!! Yum!

jonno78's picture

Great idea with the chocolate. Good recipe.

understandingmoon's picture

I didn't have a red pepper so used extra chilli powder, a few drops of Tabasco and one chopped green pepper - which added some miraculous colour to the dish.

The dark chocolate was fabulous.

Greek Yogurt had to replace sour cream and proved an excellent compromise.

It gets my award of best chilli recipe!

donna_wowee's picture

Very good!

trenethick's picture

Delicious but will not add the sugar next time, will try the chocolate instead.

liannepotter's picture

A house faviourite- will have to try the chocolate mmmm

djjackson's picture

Went down well with everyone. Will add alittle bit more Chocholate next time.

tourer-dan's picture

oh yes......the rating!

tourer-dan's picture

This is now my standard recipe for chilli. I use extra lean mince. Brown the onions well and use smoked paprika for a superb flavour. I prefer it without the chocolate and never add sugar either.

scrappydoo's picture

A great chilli recipe. I've used this recipe since it was first published.

tinablain's picture

Really nice.

sjrudram's picture

Easy to make and very tasty

chocbiscuit's picture

Been making this recipe for years...firm weekly favourite....quick and easy to make find if you leave it cook on a low heat for about 1 to 2 hours it tastes even better. Sometimes need to hot water to it though.

Siobhan218's picture

Recipe looks longwinded but this is really easy, foolproof. Excellent to make in advance & serve for friends with rice, nachos, cheese, guacamole and any other extras :-)

warney0109's picture

Best chilli i've ever eaten, even better as it was cooked for me.

gordondshaw's picture

This was fantastic. Hate to admit it but never cooked a con carne other than from a jar previously! Was much easier and tastier than any I've ever had before, even tried the chocolate rather than the sugar and it was beautiful, thumbs up from my wife and she's a chilli freak!

anya_eva's picture

I REALLY recommend adding a generous pinch of ground cinammon and serving chilli with fresh lime wedges. It's REALLY good.

lisamo's picture

Great recipe, but I also try using other beans - pinto or cannellini, maybe some worcester sauce or mushroom ketchup, cocoa powder if you don't have chocolate - lots of possibilities but a lovely recipe anyway.

oliverheath's picture

This is the best chilli con carne I've made.


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