Chilli for a crowd

Chilli for a crowd

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(8 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 3 hrs plus overnight soaking if using dried beans

More effort

Serves 12-14
Make a big batch of Mexican chilli con carne to keep hungry guests happy - this recipe serves 12-14

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving (14)

  • kcal548
  • fat34g
  • saturates14g
  • carbs18g
  • sugars9g
  • fibre7g
  • protein36g
  • salt1.6g
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  • 400g dried black beans or red kidney beans, or 3 x 400g cans black beans or red kidney beans
    Kidney beans scattered on a white surface

    Kidney beans

    kid-nee beenz

    Native to the Americas, kidney beans are so called because of their shape and come in very…

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 900g minced pork



    One of the most versatile types of meat, pork is economical, tender if cooked correctly, and…

  • 900g coarsely minced beef
  • 250g rashers rindless smoked streaky bacon
  • 6 large onions, finely chopped



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

  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 celery heart, chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 large unwaxed lemons



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 4 tbsp Mexican chilli powder (see tip) or mild chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano



    Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…

  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml red wine
  • 300ml beef or chicken stock
  • 600ml soured cream
  • small bunch chives

For the guacamole

  • 5 ripe but firm avocados



    Although it's technically a fruit, the mild-flavoured avocado is used as a vegetable. Native…

  • 2 red bird's-eye chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 4 small red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 4 limes



    The same shape, but smaller than…

  • 4 tbsp chopped coriander, plus sprigs to garnish (optional)

For the couscous

  • 750ml boiling water
  • juice 1 lemon



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 500g couscous



    Consisting of many tiny granules made from steamed and dried durum wheat, couscous has become a…

For the tortilla chips

  • 2 x 225g bags corn chips
  • 250g extra-mature cheddar, grated



    Once cheddar was 'Cheddar', a large, hard-pressed barrel of cheese made by a particular…


  1. If using dried beans and not freezing the chilli, rinse and pick over the beans, then soak them overnight in plenty of water. Rinse again, and tip into a large pan with enough water to cover by 5cm and bring to the boil. Boil briskly for 10 mins, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 30 mins or until tender. Drain and set aside.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based lidded pan and brown the pork, then the beef, in 4 batches, scooping into a bowl as you go. Slice the bacon into strips. Add to the empty pan and cook gently to begin with, raising the heat as the bacon crisps. Scoop the bacon out of the pan, stir in the onions, garlic, celery and the bay leaves, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft but hardly coloured – about 20 mins.

  3. Quarter the lemons lengthways, cut out the pithy core and remove the seeds. Chop into very small pieces, each with a bit of peel. Stir the chilli powder, cumin and oregano into the onions and stir-fry for a couple of mins, then return the meat, adding the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, lemon, wine and stock. Stir as the dish heats up, then simmer, covered, for 1 hr 30 mins. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Can be frozen at this stage for up to 1 month – defrost overnight in the fridge before continuing with the recipe.

  4. Add the beans to the pan – if you’re using canned beans, rinse them first. Cook, uncovered, for a further 30 mins. Can be cooled at this stage and kept covered in the fridge for 24 hrs.

  5. Tip the soured cream into a bowl, snip the chives into small pieces then scatter them over the soured cream, cover and refrigerate until serving.

  6. To make the guacamole, halve the avocados lengthways, remove the stone and use a fork to mash the flesh into its shell. Scoop out into a bowl, mashing further if necessary (I like it lumpy). Add the chillies, onions and the garlic crushed to a paste with a little salt. Squeeze over the juice of 3 limes, season with black pepper and add the chopped coriander. Mix, adding extra lime juice to taste. Cover with cling film, allowing it to touch the surface. Chill until required.

  7. To prepare the couscous, boil the kettle and measure 750ml water into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and couscous. Stir, cover with cling film and leave to soak for 30 mins, then fluff up with a fork.

  8. Prepare the corn chips up to 1 hr before serving. Spread the chips on baking sheets, scatter over the cheese and place under a hot grill for 2-4 mins until molten and crusty. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with the chilli, couscous, guacamole, soured cream and chives and some coriander leaves sprinkled over the top, if you like.

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Comments, questions and tips

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20th Aug, 2018
I've just done this chilli for an event for 80+ and I've never had so many compliments or asked for seconds. A dozen people wanted the recipe. I omitted the lemons and reduced the amount of chilli - instead i offered hot sauce seperately. Its even better after freezing. I can't recommend this chilli recipe enough if you're catering for a crowd. Its easy to make and delicious.
15th Oct, 2017
I really wouldn't recommend this recipe. There was a huge amount of cooking, in various stages, only for it to be a quite ordinary chilli which is far too lemony. I made this for a party of 10 and was really disappointed. Three large unwaxed lemons is way too much to add to something like this. Perhaps 1 lemon would add an interesting note to the flavour. But as the recipe stands, the chilli ended up tasting strange and lemony and confusing instead of rich and more-ish. Which was very frustrating after quite a lot of effort for quite frankly a very average (and too lemony) chilli.
20th Apr, 2015
Made this at the weekend for a lunch party - as we had 2 vegans attending, we also made the Butternut chilli that was featured in the same GF feature. I halved the quantities as there were just 5 meat eaters amongst us, and it still left 2 portions so it would have fed 7 (we left the pot on the table and people helped themselves to seconds). The full amount should therefore definitely feed 14. I stuck to the recipe other than didn't include celery heart as other half can't stand celery, and used hot chilli powder, but 1.5 tbls rather than 2tbls it should have been for half quantities. Used tins of kidney beans plus an extra half tin of chopped toms and some extra water as towards the end of cooking it needed more juice. I really enjoyed the flavours - the lemon added an interesting tang and the red wine added a richness. A lot of ingredients but actually pretty straight forward to cook and you can just leave it simmering and not be beavering over a hot stove when you have guests. Also made the guacamole which seemed to go down well though I'm not a fan of avocado myself.
9th Apr, 2015
This has cooked nicely in my slow cooker. I was too chicken to add the lemon. Its a fragrant and not hot(at all) chilli which is great for kids, adults can add hot sauce after serving.
15th Oct, 2017
You had the right idea! I made this by the recipe and unfortunately found the lemons very overpowering. Wish I had had your foresight!
6th Apr, 2015
Hello, I never made a chili which included lemons, so I really hesitate to do this. Is there anyone who ever did this and could you please tell me if there is just a hint of lemon or rather an overwhelming taste?
8th Jun, 2015
Hello Magriet, I made this chilli a few months ago & was as hesitating as you were, so I slightly reduced the amount of lemon, and guess what... I regretted it! You'll not find it lemony overall and will only find tiny pieces of cooked lemon that give a very refreshing taste when you chew in them. Do'nt hesitate any more!
17th Mar, 2015
Hello, I can't find the sour cream in the recipe. Is it just used to serve? Thanks a lot for your help
goodfoodteam's picture
31st Mar, 2015
Hi Idupuy, thanks for your question and well spotted. The step detailing this was missing originally but this has now been corrected and the above method is now correct and includes the soured cream and chives. Many thanks for getting in touch.
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