Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Delicious Chilli Dinner...

Today we are making Chilli con carne, a spicy meaty stew and the perfect 'One pot wonder' in my humble opinion. What's great about chilli is it tastes even better the next day! Leaving the chilli to stand allows the flavours to mingle, so this makes a perfect leftovers lunch and a prime candidate for freezing.

I've tried a variety of recipes over the years and it is very much a matter of personal taste/preference. Some like it hot, prefer different beans or really saucy. So what I intend to do is offer up a good solid foundation chilli that will allow you to experiment with different ingredients to make it your own. Ill give you some ideas at the end that you can try, if and when you have the ingredients available.

Chilli Con Carne

serves 4-5 

Preparation time 15 mins
Cooking time 50 mins
Resting time at least 10 minutes


1 tbsp olive oil
500g minced beef 
1 large onion or 2 small onions
1 pepper
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 x 400g can red kidney beans 
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes 
2 tbsp tomato puree 
1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or Mild if you would like it less spicy)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
300ml Beef stock
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar or cocoa powder
Serve with plain boiled long grain rice

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium to low heat for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile dice the onions and the pepper. Add the onions to the saucepan and cook for 5 mins, stirring frequently until they are soft and slightly translucent.

2. Add the crushed garlic to the saucepan and cook for a minute longer. Then add the pepper, 1 heaped tsp of hot chilli powder, 1 tsp of paprika (which adds colour as well as flavour) and 1 tsp of ground cumin. Stir so everything is covered in the spice and cook for a further 2 mins.

3. Now pop the mixture from the saucepan into a dish and keep to one side. Add a drop of oil to the same saucepan and cook the minced beef on a high heat for about 5 mins or until brown (no pink bits!). Make sure to break up the mince as it cooks so you don't get clumps of meat. During this time you can also make up the 300mls of beef stock.

4. Turn the heat down to low and then add the onion mixture back into the pot with the meat. Add the stock and 1 can of chopped tomatoes, 2 tbsp of tomato puree, ½ tsp dried oregano and 1 tsp of sugar or cocoa powder. 

5. Increase the heat to bring the chilli to the boil. Give it a good stir and turn the heat down to low. Let it bubble away (simmer) for 20 mins stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. We are aiming for a sauce that looks thick and juicy!

6. Drain and rinse the kidney beans and add them to the saucepan, cook for a further 10 mins or until the sauce looks ready. Taste the chilli and season with salt and pepper if necessary  I used quite a bit, but be careful not to over do it!

7. Now remove the pot from the heat and let it stand for 10 mins before serving. You can boil your rice during these 10 mins.

8. Serve and enjoy!

Some other ideas

This basic recipe tastes really good. However here are some ideas to spice it it up a bit! 

Enhance the flavour with the following:
  • A couple of splashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • Instead of Sugar use one or two small blocks of dark/plain chocolate
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon
  • A tsp of dried or fresh coriander
  • ½ tsp of Garam Masala
To add a bit more heat pick one of the following (or all 3 if you dare!)
  • Fresh chillies
  • A few drops of Tabasco sauce
  • A tsp of chilli flakes
You can add some extra vegetables (if you have them) to bulk it up, such as:

  • More onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Sweetcorn
  • Courgettes
  • Mushrooms 
Don't like kidney beans? try these instead: 
  • Pinto beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Butter beans
  • Baked beans

You can also use different types of mince if the price is right, like pork, turkey or lamb.

If you can afford it, serve with sour cream, or a dollop of greek yoghurt, a handful of grated cheddar cheese or even some lime juice ( to give it some zing!).

We served our meal with rice, but you could also try it in a baked potato, pile it on some tortilla chips and sprinkle with grated cheese, in taco's or even in a wrap with some lettuce, chopped tomatoes and guacamole.


The is not a huge price difference whether you are making 5 or 10 servings. So due to freezer space we opted to make 5 servings.

  • LIDL did 1kg of Beef mince for £3.09. Either double your recipe or save 500g for another meal
  • Onions from LIDL were 63p for a bag of 8 that works out around 8p each.
  • Garlic was 25p per bulb and we used 2 cloves, that's about 5p. 
  • Peppers are expensive but you can pick up a bag of 5 for £1.65 in ASDA, only the green and yellow varieties. That works out as 33p each. 
  • Cans of chopped tomato were 31p in LIDL
  • Kidney Beans are 27p in Sainsburys
  • Beef stock cubes were 15p for 10 in Sainsburys 
  • Tomato puree was 35p in LIDL
  • Plain rice is 40p for 1kg in Sainsburys

 You should have a variety of spices in your store cupboard, if you don't have any for this recipe you could use alternatives, instead of oregano try mixed herbs or marjoram. Ground Cumin is 58p in ASDA and hot chilli powder was 63p in Sainsburys.

This should cost you a real spend of £6.95 (don't forget that includes 500g more Beef mince and 4 spare peppers for the store cupboard)

The price of the meal actually works out as £2.69. That's 53p per serving (serves 5).

Until next time 'Adios Amigo's!'

1 comment:

  1. I have my own chili recipe, not too far from yours, primary differences being;

    include dried cumin and coriander, little bit of (lazy) ginger. Definitely has to be dark chocolate as you mention, but I'd say more like 4-8 chunks.

    Finally, and here's the budget helper; halve the amount of mince and double the tinned tomatoes, also means you can dispense with the stock.