Saturday, 14 April 2012

Chilli con carne

I’m almost too ashamed to post this recipe, being as far removed from the genuine thing as it is probably possible to get!   

Back in the 70’s my Mum began experimenting with quite different dishes from her usual repertoire.  They didn’t make a frequent appearance, but were a real treat when they did appear.  This is my version of the chilli that she used to make. 

I generally use either pinto beans or red kidney beans.  The version pictured is made using black eyed beans as they were to hand and I wanted to use them up.  You see my shame! 

The recipe below is a very generous one.  There’s no sense in making something like this, that is going to take several hours cooking time and will freeze so well, in small portions.  Once cooked I portion it up in plastic boxes and pop them in the freezer.  If you do the same with the cooked rice then you always have a ready-meal in the freezer.  The dried beans and batch cooking make this quite a frugal dish.

I used : 

1½ lb (750g) minced beef
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp chilli powder
2tsp paprika
Pinch of curry powder
2tsp oregano
Dash of Worcestershire sauce (about 1 or 2tsp)
1tsp tomato puree
2 large (400g) tins of chopped tomatoes*
1 or 2 fresh red chillies, diced
2 beef stock cubes
8oz of dried red kidney/pinto beans soaked overnight or 2 large (400g) tins of red kidney beans
Salt and pepper to taste

If you are using dried kidney beans, add them to a pan with some boiling water and cook on a full rolling boil for 10 minutes and then drain. 

Peel and dice the onions and sauté in 1tb olive oil for 10 minutes, until it starts to brown.  Peel and chop the garlic and add to the onion, cook for 2 or 3 minutes before adding the minced beef to the pan.  Cook gently until the beef is browned and the pan is dry. 

Add the Worcestershire sauce, cumin, chilli powder, paprika, curry powder, tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, stock cubes, fresh chilli and oregano and give a good stir.  If you are using dried beans then add them now.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir again.  (If you are using tinned beans, add them after the first 2 hours of the cooking time.) 

Bring to a gentle simmer and then place in a medium oven (160oF 300oC / gas mark 2) for 3 hours. 

*if Dress sauces are available where you live you can replace one of the tins of tomatoes with a tin of Dress tomato and chilli sauce.  I half-fill the jar with cold water and shake it, adding that to the chilli too.


  1. My Mom made a similar dish. My husband enjoys it and I love it too because it's comforting and familiar.

  2. Great blog. I watch a lot of BBC and now have pictures to identify the meals they eat. In the above recipe you say pinto or kidney beans, but those look like black-eyed peas. Is that so?

  3. Yes Zaftig Diva, that's right. In the text above I did explain that I was using black eyed beans in the one pictured as I wanted to use them up. Usually I would have used pinto or red kidney beans which is why I recommend them in my recipe.