Chilli con carne cooking in a pan with chocolate melting on top

Chilli con carne recipe

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(1937 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 1 hr

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

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

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

  • 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
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 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 (or add a thumbnail-sized piece of dark chocolate along with the beans instead, see tip)
    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.

  2. Cut 1 red pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves.

  3. Start cooking. Put your pan on the hob over a medium heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and leave it for 1-2 minutes until hot (a little longer for an electric hob).

  4. Add the onion and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft, squidgy and slightly translucent.

  5. 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.

  6. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  7. Brown 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Make the sauce. Crumble 1 beef stock cube into 300ml hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture.

  10. Add a 400g can of chopped tomatoes. Tip in ½ tsp dried marjoram, 1 tsp sugar and add a good shake of salt and pepper. Squirt in about 2 tbsp tomato purée and stir the sauce well.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Drain and rinse a 410g can of red kidney beans 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.

  14. Taste a bit of the chilli and season. It will probably take a lot more seasoning than you think. 

  15. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving. This is really important as it allows the flavours to mingle.

  16. Serve with soured cream and plain boiled long grain rice.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Crmcgurk
20th Jun, 2020
Great recipe, easy to follow and very tasty. I add a bit of Siracha sauce to add a little more heat and sweetness (if you like)
angsabor
15th Jun, 2020
5.05
This is my go to recipe for chili. I am a bit more heavy handed on the spices and will often serve in a tortilla with avocado, sour cream , lettuce and jalapeños. Winner
EtonWickAl
14th Jun, 2020
I have never attempted to make chilli con carne before so gave this recipe a go as a surprise for my family. We all loved it and I have already got them asking me to make it again. So easy to prepare and quick easy to follow recipe.
Jon Noble's picture
Jon Noble
10th Jun, 2020
4.05
Love this recipe for the fact that they use dark chocolate in it ! Great authentic touch. Cowbridge kitchen chilli has a special twist to the recipe that I think is delicious. Check it out ...
Dolly Price's picture
Dolly Price
4th Jun, 2020
5.05
Gorgeous, I added 85% dark chocolate.
Connietaylor's picture
Connietaylor
3rd Jun, 2020
5.05
This is the best
Gemallen1985
3rd Jun, 2020
I’ve been using this as a base recipe for many years now & tend to use the following tweaks to make it phenomenal. I add approx a half tsp extra of all the spices plus adding ground coriander/cinnamon/cayenne & ginger. I pretty much quadruple the amount of garlic as you can never have enough in my opinion. It doesn’t need the 300ml of water if you’re using a slow cooker, just use a small amount to swill out the tomatoes, although about 500ml of passata works so much better in place of the tomatoes. I also add at least 2 birds eye chillis in addition to the other spices including hot chilli powder. I use 2 bell peppers & extra mince, the best quality steak mince you can get. I add a tin of kidney beans early so that they soften throughout the cooking process as i find tinned beans tend to be firmer. Finally, throw it all into the slow cooker & add a dash of Worcestershire sauce & 2 tsp of liquid smoke! The liquid smoke is a game changer! Add 2 squares of 85% dark chocolate towards the end. Serve with grated extra mature cheddar/guac/fresh coriander & sour cream on a baked potato. Yum
G R's picture
G R
3rd Jun, 2020
5.05
absolutely gorgeous meal. I always make this the night before and tastes so much better the next day
Lizzie211
30th May, 2020
5.05
This is my go to chilli recipe I don’t make it any other way now, and what a difference the small amount of chocolate makes, we make this regularly and it’s a hit in our house.
Sakina B's picture
Sakina B
16th May, 2020
4.05
I omitted the chili powder (my boys can't handle any heat:( ) and marjoram. I used lots of dried oregano. Cooking this low and slow made it taste good. I ate my serving with pickled jalapeños

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Raj Verdi's picture
Raj Verdi
18th Jul, 2019
2.05
any tips on what I could replace the kidney beans with as my kids don't like them?
AlexR
26th Apr, 2020
5.05
I’ve used chickpeas and it’s worked great.
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
22nd Jul, 2019
Thanks for your question. Flageolet beans make a great alternative for kids as they are smaller and have a subtler taste and texture. Alternatively, you can leave out the beans altogether if you prefer.
Handsonlearning
4th Aug, 2018
Those of you cooking this in the slow cooker, how did you get it not ending up watery or bland? Any tips?
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
19th Aug, 2018
Thanks for your question. For tips on how to adapt this recipe for a slow cooker, take a look at the following feature: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-top-tips-using-slow-cooker We also have a slow cooker chilli recipe here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-child-friendly-chilli
bradleyj
13th Jan, 2018
So, I've just made this and followed the recipe to a T (except the quantity of spices), and the end product is not thick at all. It's really quite watery. I tried simmering it down for longer but to no end. Any suggestions for thickening it up? Thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
22nd Jan, 2018
Thanks for your question. Simmering for longer with the lid off is the best way to thicken a dish like this. We hope you enjoyed it all the same.
KimRichards1
13th Nov, 2017
5.05
Hi, Would I need to make an adaptions in order to cook this in a slow cooker? Thanks Kim
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
15th Nov, 2017
Thanks for your questions. For tips on how to adapt our recipes for the slow cooker, check out our slow cooker guide: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-top-tips-using-slow-cooker. We also have a family-friendly slow cooker chilli recipe here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-child-friendly-chilli
ChrisJBG
24th Sep, 2019
Thanks

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Jon Noble's picture
Jon Noble
10th Jun, 2020
4.05
I like to substitute some chilli powder for sweet chilli sauce in my recipe , at Cowbridge kitchen we also blend our chopped tomatoes !
Gareth Davies's picture
Gareth Davies
29th Feb, 2020
5.05
Good recipe, but with a few tweaks it can be a fantastic recipe. Along with the tomatoes add the following: 2 tbsp fish sauce. 1.5 tbsp soy sauce. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper. Boosts the umami richness and adds a slightly different heat note with virtually no extra effort.
Teacupbubble
27th Oct, 2019
5.05
I love this recipe. However nowadays's I use turkey mince instead as lower in fat and cheaper ..win win
Stephen Howard's picture
Stephen Howard
26th Oct, 2019
Replace the chilli powder with smoked Chipotle flakes, use smoked Paprika, half-and-half water and coffee for the stock, and finally maple Syrup in place of sugar, and you end up with a thing of smoky sweet beauty.
scoopers12
2nd Jul, 2019
4.05
Made this for the first time. It's tasty but definitely needs more spices, a bit bland as it is.
Katerina Mattock
7th Mar, 2019
5.05
Slow Cooker users: I cook for 4 hours on high and add the beans in half way. At the end I mix up 2 tbsp of cornflour and 2 tbsp of water and add it to the slow cooker. Stir every 5 minutes say over 20 minutes and see how you go. If you want it thicker - repeat the step. Works a gem. Also to make this vegan replace the mince with TVP and you're set :)
Darren Payne's picture
Darren Payne
24th Feb, 2019
5.05
First time making this today. Read through some of the comments... Definatley double the spice ingredients! Turned out amazing! Also used 4 bean can instead of kidney beans. Big thumbs up for this recipe!
Dominika Gawlinska's picture
Dominika Gawlinska
22nd May, 2018
I must have made this chilli a hundred times now and a little tip: swap the red kidney beans in water for the ones in chilli sauce (most supermarkets have them).. and you won't look back! adds tons of flavour :) In this instance I skip chilli powder and I don't drain the beans.. give it a go and you won't regret!
stephypixie
3rd Dec, 2017
4.05
Increase the paprika to 1 tbsp. I used half normal and half smoked - the difference in flavour was incredible!
lcoulthard
24th Oct, 2017
4.05
Good recipe! Swapped the beef for turkey mince for a healthier version. Halved the garlic, threw in a fresh red chilli in addition, really good.

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