Smoky Chilli Con Carne (heat 5/10)

Smoky Chilli Con Carne (heat 5/10)
Serves: 4-6

We use a lot of lovely smoky chipotle chillies in our blend, as well as cumin and smoked paprika See our vegetarian section for how to cook the meatless version (30g net)

Ingredients: cumin seeds, chipotle chillies, smoked paprika, garlic, black pepper, salt, cayenne, oregano



  • 1 packet chilli con carne mix (recipe card included)
  • 1 lb/ 500g minced beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp sunflower or rapeseed oil
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree plus hot water
  • 2 x 400 g tins black beans
  • Coriander, chopped, to serve
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional but, for most people, probably essential!)
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche/sour cream/thick yoghurt (optional)


  1. Gently fry the onion in the oil until soft, about 15 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.
  2. Add the beef and fry till brown, then stir in the spices (and optional chilli) and cook for a couple of minutes until the flavours really come out.
  3. Add the tomato puree and about 300 ml/ ½ pint hot water from the kettle and stir well.
  4. Add the beans at this stage. They will absorb more flavour. Cook for at least 1 hour. If it is looking too dry, add a squirt more tomato puree with a little water.
  5. Serve with tortilla chips, rice and/or flatbreads, or a fabulous piece of Texmex cornbread!

Cook's Notes

  1. Dried beans are cheaper but you have to remember to soak them the night before and then cook for a lengthy period. This is a sensible option if you are cooking in bulk and freezing in 2 or 4 man portions, as we do.
  2. I like to use black beans as I feel the smaller size is better, and tastier. You can use whatever you have in the cupboard!
  3. I tend to add a beef oxo cube per 500g/1 lb when frying beef, but it depends on your salt intake levels!
  4. Anything like this is almost better if reheated and eaten the day after cooking, and cannot be overcooked as long as you don’t let it get too dry or actually burn it! NB a bit of sticking to the pan will not ruin the dish; just scrape it off and stir in to conceal! A small amount of leftovers makes great nachos.
  5. Use 15 g (small supermarket pack) coriander, chopped, to serve.
  6. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of crème fraiche or sour cream 10 minutes before serving, then serve some extra on the side.
  7. Other accompaniments are obviously grated cheese, fresh or pickled chillies and a fresh lime and avocado salad.
  8. See our vegetarian section for our Chilli with Vegetables recipe.

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