Chili con carne

Dedicated to my patient friend, Brian. Sorry it took so long!


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This summer, we finally arranged a long-talked-about Tex-Mex dinner with some friends. I had planned to make the chili con carne based on our tried and tested BBC Comfort Foods recipe book, but the last couple of times I’d found something lacking and decided to try a new recipe. Risky when you have company, right? Especially when one of them is American and knows what good chili should taste like. I looked all over for good recipes, and found many, as is so often the case on American recipe websites, that asked for brand-name ingredients I didn’t know how to substitute. In the end, I went with this one, but when I tasted it, there was definitely something missing. I fiddled around, throwing this and that in until it tasted better. Then I let it simmer for an hour or two, then served it up. That hour or two made a world of difference, and my friend has been asking for the recipe ever since.

I have no idea if this is an accurate representation of my recipe, because I really did just tip things in until it tasted better, but this is my best shot at describing it.


500g minced beed
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can fine minced tomatoes
1 beef stock cube dissolved in 500mL warm water
1tbsp hot chili powder
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
2 tsp paprika (powder)
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)


  1. In a large pot, brown the beef, onion, red pepper, garlic and celery over medium heat until meat is browned and vegetables are tender.
  2. Stir in the beans and all remaining ingredients, except for the coriander.
  3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat; simmer uncovered, for 30 minutes or until chili reaches desired thickness.
  4. Taste, and add extra salt, chili or black pepper to taste.
  5. Reduce to lowest heat setting, cover and leave for one hour.
  6. Stir through chopped coriander.
  7. Serve as desired.

Note: Put a bowl of chopped coriander on the table for sprinkling!

3 thoughts on “Chili con carne

  1. On cold and rainy Monday I asked Brian if he by any chance had a great chili recipe. Lucky me, he referred me to your blog and it turned out absolutely perfect! (it’s all gone already – should have made more..) – Thanks for a great recipe, Zoe!

  2. Now it was my turn (these things take time). Not quite as good as yours, but close enough. Excellent, even if I wimped out a bit on the chili powder. Dumping my old recipe!
    Thanks, Zoe.

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