I will call this a Classic Chilli Con Carne but I won’t call it traditional. In fact, there is nothing typical or traditional about this Chilli Con Carne and the reason being is because this is a British home cooking favourite. I started to wonder if we had done this dish a little unjustice. That we have sort of given it the full lasagne and stroganoff treatment by taking dishes that became popular in the 70s and 80s and not really doing much to them since. But isn’t that why we like it? Our parents Delia inspired dishes that we grew up on are home comforts. These were after school dinners and reminds us of being kids. They are dishes that we took away to university with us and continue to make now. But there is nothing authentic about the kind of Chilli Con Carne I am talking about here. In fact, we have taken one of Southwest America’s popular dishes and most definitely given it what I call the lasagne treatment. (The Italians do not top their lasagne with a cheesy bechamel sauce…)
While I love and feel comforted by our own versions of classic recipes I still can’t help but feel a little guilty of what we have done to these dishes when I taste something a little more authentic. During the Autumn and Winter months our local gastropub, Salt n Bone, serves a delicious Chilli packed with chunks of tender meat, chipotle sauce, coriander and served with either corn bread or freshly baked tortillas. Our British version calls for minced beef and served in a jacket potato, smothered in sour cream or on top of some neatly piled basmati rice. Both dishes offer something different. For me a Chilli Con Carne is the perfect bowl of food to cosy up to after a long day and this is why this recipe using minced beef works well.
This version is my go to midweek dish. It is comforting, easy to make and tastes delicious. It might not be the real deal and we might get a little stick for our terrible take on the original but that is what home cooking is about – making dishes our own. I add some paprika, cumin and a dash of chipotle sauce. I used a mix of fresh and tinned tomatoes and use minced beef. And I always serve it with a bowl of steaming basmati rice!
This recipe also freezes well. I leave the leftovers to cool down before putting into freezer bags.
- 500g minced beef
- 1 large onion (peeled and finely diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
- 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper (halved, seeds and stalks removed and roughly chopped)
- 1 tin 400g chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin 400g kidney beans
- 2 fresh tomatoes (roughly chopped)
- 1 tbpsn tomato puree
- 1 tbpsn chipotle sauce
- 1 large red chilli (finely sliced, seeds removed if you want it less spicy)
- 1 tspn dried cumin
- 1 tspn dried smoked paprika
- Juice of half a lemon
- Small bunch fresh coriander (finely chopped)
- Salt/ pepper
- Olive oil
- Heat a dash of olive oil in a large, deep saucepan. Add the minced beef and break it down so that the meat is starting to crumble and brown. Once slightly browned take the meat out of the pan and leave to one side.
- In the same pan add the onions, garlic and peppers and cook on a medium heat for around 5-6 mins or until the vegetables are softened. Stir regularly.
- Add the meat back to the pan and then mix in the fresh tomatoes, chilli, cumin and paprika. Stir in the tomato puree and mix well. Add the chipotle sauce and give it another stir and then gradually pour in the tinned tomatoes. Place the lid slightly ajar on the pan and bring to a boil and then leave on a gentle simmer for around 25 mins until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Stir occasionally.
- Drain the kidney beans and then add to the pan for another 5 - 10 mins.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and fresh coriander. Season with salt and pepper and serve with some basmati rice and sour cream.