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How to make the perfect Chilli con Carne - and what to do with it

Updated on August 18, 2014

This is my absolute favourite dish. For my university years I used to cook it at home, box it up, bring it to uni and freeze it. It was fab - some boil in the bag rice (4 for £1 - tesco) or a couple of peppers, and I'd be full, happy and not much out of pocket.

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 50 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: Serves 4-6 people
Getting hungry...
Getting hungry... | Source


  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 fresh chilli (2tsp or chilli flakes)
  • 1 shake worcester sauve
  • 1 beef stock
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, coriander, cinnamon
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 250ml red wine
  • 2tbsp tomato puree
  • Fresh coriander leaves


  1. Heat the oil in a a large saucepan (make sure it has a lid). Cook the onion and garlic until they turn transparent and soft.
  2. Turn the heat up and add the beef mince. Break chunks up with a wooden spoon - this takes me a couple of minutes - then cook it through until it has browned.
  3. Add the red wine and stir through. Allow the wine to boil for a couple of minutes. Add the beef stock.
  4. Add the tomatoes and the kidney beans, then the cinnamon, coriander powder, cumin, salt, pepper, worcester sauce and tomato puree. Stir it through well.
  5. Turn the heat down and allow the chilli to simmer for about half an hour. Stir every now and again until the chilli is nice and thick.
  6. Taste to make sure the kidney beans are soft. If the mixture is as thick as you would like but the beans aren't quite to taste, add some water to give it a bit more time.
  7. Add more seasonings to taste. Chop up the coriander and either put on top to serve or stir through.

Serve with Rice

A bed of long grain rice, a few spoonfuls of chilli and some freshly torn coriander over the top. Serve piping hot.

The finished product...mmm
The finished product...mmm | Source

Serve in Stuffed Peppers

This is my personal favourite. You can either slice the top off your peppers, or cut them in half down their length.

Drip in some olive oil and smear it on the walls of the inside of the pepper. Put it in the oven under the grill, at about 170C, for 20-30mins. When the pepper is nice and soft, spoon the chilli in, sprinkle some cheese over and put back under the grill until the cheese has melted and the chilli is piping hot.

My personal favourite!
My personal favourite! | Source

Mexican Tacos

If you're feeling Mexican you can try this recipe with:

  • El Paso Tacos
  • Grated cheese, or Mexican spiced cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Lime
  • Tomato

You can pick and choose the ingredients you like. Load them all in a taco on top of your chilli, and you have a traditional Mexican dish. It tastes amazing - though a little messy!

You can also make a similar dish by loading the chilli onto nachos, and serving with any of the above. Put the nachos under the grill for a bit to melt the cheese and voila.

Mmmmm! | Source

In a Burrito

Mmmm! Warm up some soft white tortillas and fill with chilli, lettuce, rice, salsa, guacamole, sour cream...whatever takes your fancy! Roll up and feel free to melt some cheese over the top.

Serve with Jacket Potato

You can either cook jacket potatoes in the microwave, or in the oven.

In the oven: make sure the potatoes are washed and prick them a few times with a fork. Preheat your oven to about 200C. The potatoes are ready when you can plunge a knife into the centre and it comes out easily. This usually takes about an hour and fifteen minutes.

For the microwave: prick a few times with a fork and then place in the centre of the microwave for about 4 minutes. Take out, turn over, then repeat for four minutes. Leave the potato to stand. If it is still a bit hard, cook it in intervals of 30 seconds.

You can also use McCain partly cooked jacket potatoes - good if you're in a rush.

Spoon your chilli over the top, cheese or sour cream if you wish, and tuck in.

With Pasta

As a spicier form of Bolognese, spoon your chilli over some freshly cooked spaghetti or noodles. Again, grated cheddar or parmesan tastes great with this dish.

With Salad, Coleslaw and Sweet Potato

Chilli is great as the main part of your dish. Can just be had with salad, but if you want a big meal then sweet potato wedges and coleslaw go great too.

Freezing chilli

This is a great meal to split up into boxes and stick in the freezer. I just defrost it in the microwave whenever I need a quick and easy meal. It only takes about four minutes in the microwave, and with microwave rice you've got a lovely hot meal in under ten minutes!

Chilli con Carne Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/4
Calories 270
Calories from Fat36
% Daily Value *
Fat 4 g6%
Carbohydrates 18 g6%
Sugar 4 g
Fiber 7 g28%
Protein 32 g64%
Sodium 298 mg12%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


1 cup White Long Grain Rice
2 Peppers
30g Grated Cheddar Cheese
1 Old El Paso Taco
100g Spaghetti Pasta
1 Jacket Potato

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