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Chilli Con Carne


  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8-10 mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 500g of mince steak with a good fat content
  • 2-3 tins of kidney beans
  • 100gish of tomato purée
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • Sunflower oil
  • Chilli powder
  • 1tsp ground roasted cumin
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1tsp fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper
Chilli Con Carne


I don't know of any other dish that is more widely prepared at home. Everybody can make a chilli. It's easy and tasty. It can be served with rice, bread, salad, baked potato or even champ. This is how I do it. It always seems to work well. Don't treat the above ingredients and quantities as the gospel, thing is with a chilli it takes a fair bit of tasting and adjustment. You have to get the flavours balanced... when you get the heat, sweetness, saltiness right, the flavours suddenly multiply. I think this delicate balance is why people go to extremes like adding chocolate to get this balance. But the key is good ingredients, treating them correctly and generous seasoning. Loads of seasoning. Here goes!


  • Start by getting your biggest and heaviest saucepan up to full heat. Really hot.
  • Add 2-3tbs of sunflower oil. It has to be sunflower oil. Add the mince. Stir a few times to prevent sticking.
  • Keep the heat at full whack. Stir now any again. You have to brown the ass off the mince! Turn it from a grey, tasteless meat into a brown, crispy full of flavour meat. It could take up to 10 mins to achieve this.
  • Browning it off properly also means the meat breaks down and you end up with a finer texture and no nasty lumps.
  • After the meat is browned, add the onions and garlic.
  • Reduce the heat a smidgeen and cook for a few mins. Add the peppers and mushrooms. Keep everything sizzling nicely. You will need to have your hob on full blast.
  • Season with about 1tsp of salt and 1 tsp of ground black pepper. Stir for a couple times more. Total time for sautéing the veg should be about 10mins.
  • Again, this is important as the frying draws the flavour out of the veg.
  • Add the beans. The more the better. More beans means better texture! If you do not have enough beans the chilli will lack texture.
  • I love kidney beans so always add loads. Plus, beans are good for you and make the meal go much further.
  • Add the roasted cumin, fresh thyme, paprika and about 2tsp of hot chilli powder. Preferably cayenne.
  • Add a tube or small tin of tomato purée and the sugar. Stir well. Cook for a few mins. Season again. Taste.
  • If it tastes mild... add a load of chilli powder, if it tastes hot but not "OMG I need a bucket of water" hot, add another tsp or so of chilli powder.
  • If it does indeed taste "OMG I need a bucket of water" hot, just add half a tsp or so.
  • Remember, you will be eating the chilli with rice, potatoes or bread... which will dilute the flavours and heat of the dish a lot. Back to the point of seasoning generously!!
  • Add enough water to almost cover the ingredients. Won't be much, 100ml or so. Stir well. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an hour or so.
  • Stir regularly and towards the end taste. Don't be afraid to add more salt, pepper, chilli or sugar.
  • You can also add a glug or two of oil, makes the dish moist and glossy without adding water which will ruin the consistency.
  • The final product should be thing with just a little bit of free liquid.