Chilli Con Carne

Serves 6

I don’t care how out of ‘fashion’ this is: I love it .Mind you it’s probably so out of fashion: it’s cool.  However, I do think it is better with cubed meat rather than minced meat.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 700g(1½ lb)stewing beef ,fat removed and cut into 1-2cm cubes( ½ to ¾ inch)Pork or lamb can also be used.
  • 1-2 large onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tin of tomatoes
  • 2 green peppers, deseeded and sliced
  • 3 green or red chillies, chopped, for this I would leave the seeds in!
  • 1-2 tsp freshly ground cumin
  • 1 tin kidney bean, drained (keep liquid, if you like)
  • OR 225g (8oz) red kidney beans soaked and cooked
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • For the end- sour cream, coriander leaves, grated cheddar cheese
  • Hot Chilli Sauce
    • 5 chillies, deseeded or for seriously hot sauce, leave seeds in
    • 1 lge onion, chopped
    • 1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic,
  • Basmati Rice
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 450g (1lb) basmati rice
    • 15g (1/2 oz) butter-optional


  1. Heat the olive oil in a casserole or saucepan.  Cook the meat until it changes colour add the onion and garlic and stir around for a minute. 
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes, chopped chillies, peppers, and a good pinch of salt. Cover with a lid, bring to the boil and simmer for about 1 hour or until the meat is cooked(it should be nice and tender).By the end of cooking ,the liquid should have reduced to a thick sauce; if it gets too dry though during cooking just add a little more water.  You can also put this into an oven at 150c (300f). Finally add the cumin, kidney beans (and a little of the bean liquid, if you like) and brown sugar. 
  3. Simmer for a further 10 mins.  Serve with rice, a spoonful of sour cream, some grated cheddar, maybe a taco and some coriander leaves sprinkled on top! 
  4. Great too with tomato salsa and guacamole, and if some of your friends like a bit more heat, serve the Hot Chilli Sauce too!
    • **NOTE This like so many other stews, gets even better the next day.  It also freezes.
    • **NOTE If you realise at the end of cooking that you have not put in enough chilli, just add a dash of Tabasco sauce.
  5. For the Hot Chille Sauce
    • Whizz up all the ingredients in a food processor, add a good pinch of salt, and 1 tbsp of water.  This will keep in the fridge for a few days, and it also freezes.  Great served with curry too.
  6. For the Basmati Rice
    • This is such a good way of cooking rice; you end up with lovely light fluffy rice; and you can make it slightly in advance.  If I  am cooking this rice to serve with a curry , or something like that, I would add some whole spices to the water, and serve them on the top of the bowl of rice;  for example a small cinnamon stick and a few whole green cardamom pods. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring up to the boil. 
    • Add the salt and the rice, stir for a second or two, and boil on a high heat for about 4-5mins,or until the rice is nearly cooked(you want to still have a tiny bit of bite, otherwise the rice will stick later)then strain.  Put the rice into a serving dish, stir in the butter if using, cover with tin foil, a plate or a lid, and leave it in a low oven 140c/275f/gas1,for at least 15 mins.(will sit for up to 30 mins like this).When ready to serve, remove the lid, fluff up the rice and serve