The Ultimate Chilli Con Carne

I had a very busy weekend this weekend, which is quite unusual for me – I usually like to sit back, catch up with my programmes and do a spot of baking. However it was my nephew George’s 2nd birthday (yes he was George before the Prince was George!) so we had a fun time running about, playing with tractors and dinosaurs and attempting to race both of them.

So my brother and sister-in-law had quite a few round to their house, and had a little birthday bash! There were about 15 of us altogether, and CJ did a brilliant job of catering for us – she made two large pots worth of Chilli Con Carne, made a big pile of pittas, some sour cream and put a load of bowls nearby, ready for everyone to help themselves whenever they were peckish.

It worked marvelously: it was so simple, and pretty mess free, and was super filling and yummy!

I’ve been meaning to post my recipe online for a few days, as we had a Chilli last week, but CJ inspired me to add a few more ingredients including chickpeas, mushrooms and chorizo. You can add or remove whatever you do or don’t fancy and just play around with this one.

As long as you add the chocolate – I’d say that’s the most important ingredient (maybe the meat as well) as it really adds a rich flavour like no other!

So this is a brilliant one to cater for a large group of people – or just a few of you wanting something really tasty for dinner… enjoy!

Chilli Con Carne (serves 4-5)

1 tbsp oil

1 large onion (I use 1 large stick of celery to keep it onion free)

1 red pepper

1 garlic cloves (optional – I like to keep it garlic free and add more chilli or spice!)

2 tsp chilli powder (or 1 for mild)

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

500g minced beef

1 beef stock cube

400g chopped tomatoes

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp tomato puree

400g red kidney beans

400g chickpeas (optional – a nice tasty change)

Handful of mushrooms (again optional)

Chorizo meat (Add this if you want a really meaty and flavoursome Chilli!)

50g dark chocolate

Plain boiled long grain rice or pitta bread

Soured cream, to serve

  1. Add the oil to your pan and leave to heat for 2 minutes
  2. Add the chopped onion/celery, stirring for about 4 minutes or until soft
  3. Add the crushed garlic, chopped red pepper and mushrooms
  4. Now add the chilli powder, paprika and cumin and give it a good stir, cooking for a further 5 minutes
  5. Brown the mince beef (and chorizo) in a separate pan and then add to the mixture. Stir for a further 5 minutes, making sure the mince is fully incorporated with the mixture
  6. Add your stock cube into 300ml of hot water and pour this over the mixture
  7. Add the tomatoes and sugar, then add a good amount of salt and pepper
  8. Stir in the tomato puree and finally the dark chocolate. Stir well
  9. Simmer gently and bring to the boil. Put the lid on the pan and leave for around 20 minutes, checking it occasionally and stirring. The sauce should look thick and juicy
  10. Add the red kidney beans/chickpeas and bring to the boil again
  11. Taste to test whether there is enough seasoning, then turn off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.
  12. Serve with rice/pitta and sour cream


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