A close up of cooked chilli con carne in the pan with chocolate melting on top

Chilli con carne recipe

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(1089 ratings)

Prep: 50 mins - 1 hr, 10 mins

Easy

Serves 4

This great chilli recipe has to be one of the best dishes to serve to friends for a casual get-together. An easy sharing favourite that uses up storecupboard ingredients.

Nutrition and extra info

  • Can be frozen

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal387
  • fat17g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs25g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre6g
  • protein36g
  • salt2.32g
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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion
    Onion

    Onion

    un-yun

    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
    Paprika

    Paprika

    pa-preek-ah

    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
    Sugar

    Sugar

    shuh-ga

    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

Method

  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, questions and tips

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melini
8th Dec, 2016
5.05
An easy recipe, that will impress your guests and add an ethnic note to your gathering. I served it on steaming basmati rice and there wasn't any left (no, it's true) for me to taste. Everybody tried it and loved it.
Rosiesta
6th Dec, 2016
5.05
lovely recipe - I've tried it twice and altered the amount of chilli i added to suit. Highly recommended.
DropWallet
30th Nov, 2016
5.05
Great recipe!
DropWallet
20th Dec, 2016
5.05
So good I made it again!
Rebeccaprime
14th Nov, 2016
5.05
Best chile we have had! Just the right amount of spice for me.
Bolnuevo24
13th Nov, 2016
3.8
Far too hot. Had to make another batch of mince and onions to add to the original batch. Try only a small teaspoon of chilli powder to start with. A heaped teaspoon is rather a lot and even my husband who adores hot food, couldn't eat it until i'd added the second lot of mince.
homecooklondon
18th Oct, 2016
5.05
I added grated carrot, red and green pepper and mushrooms to up the veggie content. Delicious!
Ryan Christophe...
18th Oct, 2016
Absolute classic. Agreed, the dosage of spices could be higher. First time i made it, the spices got a little lost in the mix.
Ls4711
17th Oct, 2016
I doubled the amount of spices and also added a half tsp of chilli flakes. I also used smoked paprika which gave it a more Texan chilli flavour. Fab recipe and will definitely continue with.
dinsdaleyoung
10th Oct, 2016
Can I add this recipe to the iPad app?

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motorsportgirl
19th Jan, 2014
Make sure you boil it down enough so the liquid evaporates. It should be noticeably thicker once you come to adding the kidney beans - if it's not, just let it boil for a few extra minutesbefore adding the kidney beans. You could also try adding more tomato puree as this helps to thicken the chilli. If all else fails just use less stock.
sfabri
13th Jan, 2014
Maybe a silly question but just wanted to make sure since the taste is absolutely different between the two. For this recipe the red pepper would be a hot - like chilli red pepper or a bell pepper?
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
21st Feb, 2014
Hi there, thanks for getting in touch. You could use a red bell pepper or a long pointed red pepper in this recipe - both would work well. Best wishes, BBC Good Food team
motorsportgirl
19th Jan, 2014
You use a bell pepper, although I use both as I like my chilli spicy!
vlatus
18th Jan, 2014
5.05
I use ordinary red peppers (either the long pointy sweet red peppers, or the regular red ones). When I have them in the fridge, I occasionally used a fresh chilli pepper as well but as you've got chilli powder in there it's not essential.
mrsohara
18th Sep, 2013
Ignore my last question - I've just noticed the tip!
mrsohara
18th Sep, 2013
This sounds lovely and I plan to make it today. Quite a few of the comments mention dark chocolate but I can't see it in the recipe. How much chocolate did you add and at what stage of cooking did you add it? Could I use cocoa if I don't have dark chocolate? Thanks.
sarahlou26
14th Jan, 2014
I added about 25g, but did have to google other chilli recipes, a lot say use unto 75g, but seeing as it was the first time id done this I played it safe! i added it for the last ten mins when I added the kidney beans, then left it to rest for ten mins...yummy
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
26th Sep, 2013
Try can stir through a few squares of dark chocolate to enrich the dish before you season and taste. If you like, add a little more!

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