20. Make Chilli Con Carne – from scratch.

I thought I’d try getting back on top of this sort of thing. I added a few more to the list to make a nice round twenty and picked this one first because a) it seemed easy  b) we made a curry a few weeks ago and had some of the spices available and c) I fucking love chilli!

We want Chilli Willi

So, I Googled a recipe and came across this one from BBC Good Food. I used that website before to make other things like brownies and a cake, so went with that.

I checked the ingredients list, took note of what I needed and went to Tescos one afternoon.


Using the list of ingrediants and made a few minor changes (indicated with a *):

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion (*I stuck in one and a half onion – the other half used for guac)
  • 1 red pepper (*I stuck in three)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled (*three)
  • 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram (*or a quarter tsp of Oregano but I found some marjoram)
  • 1 tsp sugar  Didn’t bother
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410g can red kidney beans
  • plain boiled long grain rice, to serve
  • soured cream, to serve 

I also stuck in two chillis (one green, one red) but took out the seeds (Leona doesn’t like very spicy food), and served with Guacamole, cheese and hot sauce.

Prepare your vegetables. Chop 1 large onion into small dice, about 5mm square. The easiest way to do this is to cut the onion in half from root to tip, peel it and slice each half into thick matchsticks lengthways, not quite cutting all the way to the root end so they are still held together. Slice across the matchsticks into neat dice. Cut 1 red pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves.

Yeah, so i used one and half onion, and chucked it into the pan. Chopped the three peppers into big chunks and the chillis very tiny, with no seeds (Boo!). Used three cloves of garlic and used my wee crusher

Start cooking. Put your pan on the hob over a medium heat. Add the oil and leave it for 1-2 minutes until hot (a little longer for an electric hob). Add the onions and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, squidgy and slightly translucent. Tip in the garlic, red pepper, 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder or 1 level tbsp mild chilli powder, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp ground cumin. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Bucked it all into the pot, stuck on the mince.

Brown the 500g lean minced beef. Turn the heat up a bit, add the meat to the pan and break it up with your spoon or spatula. The mix should sizzle a bit when you add the mince. Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform, mince-sized lumps and there are no more pink bits. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.



Cooked the mince and bucked it into the pot.


Making the sauce. Crumble 1 beef stock cube into 300ml hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture. Open 1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g can) and add these as well. Tip in ½ tsp dried marjoram and 1 tsp sugar, if using (see tip at the bottom), and add a good shake of salt and pepper. Squirt in about 2 tbsp tomato purée and stir the sauce well.


Simmer it gently. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and put a lid on the pan. Turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for 20 minutes. You should check on the pan occasionally to stir it and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan or isn’t drying out. If it is, add a couple of tablespoons of water and make sure that the heat really is low enough. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.

Then buck in the beans.



Bring on the beans. Drain and rinse 1 can of red kidney beans (410g can) in a sieve and stir them into the chilli pot. Bring to the boil again, and gently bubble without the lid for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry. Taste a bit of the chilli and season. It will probably take a lot more seasoning than you think. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving, and relax. Leaving your chilli to stand is really important as it allows the flavours to mingle and the meat.

Serve with soured cream and plain boiled long grain rice.

When the rice was cooked I bucked it into the mixture. Gave it a wee stir. Didn’t bother waiting on it to stand as I was starving.

Stuck some in a bowl, fired some sour cream and grated cheese over it, then added some of my own Guacamole*. Was quite tasty if I do say so myself.

Was surprised how easy it was to make. Essentially bucking stuff into the pot. Next time I’ll add more chillis.

*My own Guacamole Recipe
Ingredients: One Avocado, half a red onion, one lime 


  1. Chop onion. Stick it in a bowl.
  2. Get the non seed/non skin part of avacado and put in bowl.
  3. Mash the fuck out of the contents in the bowl.
  4. Squeeze lime juice over mashed green substance.
  5. Enjoy

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