Chilli Con Carne

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chilli con carne

For me, there is much comfort to be found in having a large pot of chilli con carne bubbling away on the stove, especially since I know that many meals can be derived from this one dish. At other times, it happens to be a great dish to make if you are entertaining a small crowd.

We love to serve it with steamed Basmati rice, topped with sour cream and chives, together with a handful of chopped creamy avocadoes which have a wonderful way of melting into the warm rice.

The children, of course, love to eat chilli con carne with warmed tortilla chips, which they are only allowed to have once they have eaten a decent portion of rice. But given how much they enjoy this Mexican-inspired dish, even with the mild chilli heat, it’s usually not a problem to persuade them to finish their plate. My son loves the kidney beans so much that he often tells me to add more, and I am only happy to oblige.

chilli con carne

I have tried many recipes for chilli con carne over the years, slowly arriving at this concoction of my own. For recipes where minced meat is the main ingredient, I like to freshly grind the meat myself using a good quality piece of beef. If you don’t have a meat grinder (I love my KitchenAid meat grinder attachment), you can ask your butcher. But, of course, there is nothing wrong with buying ready-minced meat!

If you are not feeding young children, I would add a bit more chilli powder to the pot. Otherwise, I like to serve some freshly chopped green chillies or jalapeno peppers on the side, or even pickled jalapeno peppers are delicious.

If you have a large enough pot, I would recommend making a double batch on, say, Sunday, and you will have several meals sorted throughout the busy week. One of my favourite ways of serving leftover chilli con carne is with baked potatoes – I can’t think of a more comforting meal to enjoy in the middle of the week.

chilli con carne

Chilli Con Carne
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: Serves 3-4
Ingredients
  • For the chilli:
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500g (1 lb) minced beef
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder (or add more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground white pepper
  • 4 tomatoes, largely diced
  • 400g (14oz) tinned diced tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 x 400g (14 oz) tinned kidney beans (or use just 1 tin, if you prefer), drained and rinsed
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

  • To serve:
  • Basmati rice, cooked according to packet instructions
  • 1-2 ripe avocadoes, largely diced
  • 1 cucumber, largely diced
  • sour cream or crème frâiche garnished with chopped chives
  • fresh green chillies or jalapeno peppers, or picked jalapeno peppers
  • tortilla chips, warmed in a hot oven
Method
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and cook the onion and garlic until they have softened.
  2. Turn the heat up to high and add the the minced beef. Cook until all of the meat has browned.
  3. Add the chilli powder, dried thyme, paprika, cumin and pepper. Cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add the chopped fresh tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, chicken stock, bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
  5. Mix everything together well and bring the mixture to a boil. Then turn the heat down to a low simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for about 1.5 hours. Give the mixture a stir every 20-30 minutes and check that the mixture is not sticking to the pan.
  6. After 1.5 hours, remove the lid, and continue cooking over low to medium heat. If the mixture looks too thick, add some water.
  7. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as necessary.
  8. Just before serving, stir through the chopped coriander (cilantro) and sprinkle some on top for garnish.
  9. Serve the chilli con carne with steamed Basmati rice and the chopped avocadoes and cucumber. Garnish with green chillies or jalapeno peppers, and a dollop of sour cream or crème frâiche.

Cook’s Notes

This dish keeps well in the fridge for several days, and even frozen in small portions for quick thawing and reheating.

Share your photos!

If you have tried this recipe, I would love to hear how it turned out! Please leave a comment below and share your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #eatlittlebird

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10 Comments

  1. Simon 20 January 2017

    I could copy paste this text and write it on my own Chili recipe haha! Everything fits. The kids love it too and we make it in big batches! I love those recipes where you can go creative and find your own style! Never used thyme in my chili. Might give it a try!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 20 January 2017

      Ha ha! There must be a million and one recipes for chilli con carne, and I agree that it’s one of those recipes which you can easily tweak to make your own. I used to not add many herbs, but then I saw a recipe using dried thyme, and as I had a bottle of never-used dried thyme in the pantry, I decided to use it and was pleasantly surprised 🙂

      Reply
  2. Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine 21 January 2017

    Beautiful photos of this chili. It’s one of my favorite dishes to make as well. I made it recently for my husband’s family in Australia and they made a pot of rice to serve it over– in America, we don’t serve it over rice!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 22 January 2017

      Oh that’s interesting to know! The first time I ate chilli, it was served with rice, so that’s how we always eat it at home. Of course, the children like to eat it with tortilla chips 😉

      Reply
  3. This is pure comfort food! I love any recipe that allows me to cook once and eat several times. Gorgeous photos too!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 22 January 2017

      Thanks, Allison! This is one dish I don’t mind eating for several days in a row 🙂

      Reply
  4. valentina 21 January 2017

    This is exactly the type of meal my whole family loves! Such delicious ingredients — love those spices! And beautiful pictures!

    Reply
  5. Dannii 21 January 2017

    This really is the ultimate comfort food isn’t it. It’s so easy to make and a great way to use up leftovers too.

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 22 January 2017

      Yes, it is absolutely comfort food 🙂 One of my favourites too!

      Reply

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