This great chilli con carne recipe has to be one of the best dishes to serve to friends or family for a tasty and relaxed meal. A delicious warming dish that packs a spicy hit. Just right for a cold day. As with many “authentic” recipes there are many claims to the original version. The truth however is that dishes and tastes often change over time in different regions resulting in competing claims for the “real thing”. Recipes provoke disputes among aficionados, some of whom insist that the word chili applies only to the basic dish, without beans and tomatoes.
Chili con carne is a frequent dish for cook-offs, and the dish is often used as an ingredient in other dishes. The version below tastes great but feel free to customise it to your own preferences, more spice or chilli, mix portions of beef and pork, tomato yes or no? maybe no beans!
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Chilli Con Carne Origins
Chilli (Chili) con carne means in Spanish ‘chili with meat’. Typically it is often referred to as simply chilli. This spicy stew containing chili peppers (sometimes in the form of chili powder), meat (usually beef), and often tomatoes and beans.
The original dish can be traced back to southern Texas with working-class Mexican women (In San Antonio they were known as chili queens selling chili-flavored beef stew from colourful carts in the town squares . A recipe dating back to the 1850’s describes dried beef, suet, dried chili peppers and salt, which were pounded together, formed into bricks and left to dry, which could then be boiled in pots for cattle men out on the trail.
See more about Chilli history here >>
Chilli Con Carne Ingredients
This will serve 6 people
750g Beef mince from Morley Butchers
2 large onions diced
2 sticks celery finely sliced
1 400g tin chopped tomato
1 Tin kidney beans
1Tin Borlotti beans
1 Tin Haricot beans
4 Garlic Cloves finely chopped
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 Large fresh halpeno chilis chopped
Vegetable oil for frying
1 2 tbsp Dried chillis or chilli powder (or to taste)
Freshly ground pepper.
Cooking Method Chilli Con Carne
This dish works very well in a large cast iron pan or similar – a good fitting lid will help too. This is a slow cook so great to leave in the oven or over a low heat for a few hours.
Add you chopped onions and celery and soften over a low heat. While that is happening fry the mince in a separate pan on a high heat to colour it and add flavour. Do this in batches to keep the pan hot and try to avoid any cooking in pools of juice. If it happens tip the excess in with the softening veg.
Add the browned mince to the vegetables. Fry the garlic gently and add with the other cooked ingredients. With some water deglaze the frying pan and add to the pot.
Add in the beans. You can use a variety as suggested here which can look attractive or make up the quantity with your particular favourite. If using dried beans they need to be soaked and cooked before this stage. NB To ensure that you have some good shaped specimens when serving reserve a third and add towards the end of the cooking. (Some bean types can collapse when cooked.) Top up the pan with water so that all ingredients are well covered. You could use some stock for this which will add depth of flavour. Keep the pan over a low heat.
Time for some seasoning add the pepper, smoked paprika and oregano. When it comes to the chilli adjust to your preference. Some chipotle (smoked) chilli adds depth and habanero chilli will boost the heat.
Put the pan with lid on into the oven and cook for two hours at 180°c on the hob keep at the lowest heat. Stir from time to time and add the remaining beans with 30 minutes to go.
You can serve right away or keep overnight and reheat next day – the flavours will deepen. Finish with some grated cheese, chopped fresh coriander, and a spoonful of sour cream.