Wednesday, 21 November 2012

No-Fail Chilli Con Carne

This is one of those crowd-pleasing dishes, a simple fail-safe chilli, perfect for cooking for a crowd which is exactly what I did for our Bonfire Party. Again, the rubbish photo is down to having to be really stealth and trying to take a photo without anyone seeing me! The children are used to seeing me photographing me their dinner before they can get their hands on, our friends? Not so much.

This recipe was an old BBC Good Food one, but with a few tweaks. Often if I'm cooking this for just us, I'll throw in some baked beans but I know not everyone is au fait with that kind of approach so I left them out of this meal. 

This chilli was perfect and everybody commented on it which is always a good sign. It could take some extra heat so don't be afraid to adjust the spices to your own taste. I made this with the quantities below and it was on the mild side - but Mr M is a wuss who doesn't like his food too spicy. I could have easily had a bit more hot chilli powder in it so you really need to taste it when it's cooking and see how you feel.

The recipe serves 4 and is easily doubled. It also freezes okay so good for batch cooking.

No-Fail Chilli Con Carne


1 tbsp oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
500g lean minced beef
300ml beef stock (made with 1 stock cube)
400g can chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp tomato puree
410g can red kidney beans
200-250g sliced mushrooms


Put a large pan or casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the oil and heat to hot before adding the onions and cooking for around 5 minutes until they are soft and turning translucent.  

Add the minced garlic, chopped red pepper, chilli powder, paprika and cumin to the pan and give everything a good stir. Leave to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Turn the heat up to high and add the mince to the pan, breaking it up with your spoon. Stir occasionally until all the mince is browned.

Pour in the hot beef stock and add in the can of chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. Tip in the dried majoram and sugar as well as a good pinch of salt and pepper. Stir everything well.  Bring everything to the boil, stir well and put a lid on the pan. Turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and leave for around 20 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the pan or it's not drying out.  If you think it's get a bit too dry, add a little bit of water. 

Drain and rinse the red kidney beans and stir them into the chilli pot along with the sliced mushrooms. Bring back to the boil and gentle bubble without the lid for another 10 minutes. Add more water if looking a bit dry. Taste and season. 

You can serve this with whatever you like - tortilla wraps, rice, potato wedges or as we did, over jacket potatoes!

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