Chili Con Carne

Chili con carne ~ (chili with meat.)

Gimme a bowlful!

Gimme a bowlful!

I grew up one amongst five other children so we ate a lot of mince. Alas, it was never done like this . Recently I have somewhat gone off red meat in steak form, call it pregnancy perhaps but I think it’s more about getting into basing my meals around the grains and veg with meat as a side performer, not the shining star.

I like to use mince in ways that stretch it out across either a large meal to feed many, or a meal that will go the distance past dinner into lunch or even more dinner the next day and this meal did not disappoint me. It did two large portions for dinner plus lunch for both of us the next day and there’s a small serve left (for me!)

Now in the past, despite making my own guacamole, salsa and adding lots of fresh salad-y sides I confess to using the packets of seasoning for my nachos, tacos and burritos etc. Shame on me! But no matter how I tried I couldn’t get the flavour right without those shitty little packets. Boo.

But I uncovered a wee (literally it’s about 20cm x 10cm) Family Circle cookbook that I bought ages ago called Tex-Mex. I remember buying it from a supermarket checkout shelf because I love Mexican food and likely promptly tucked away because I didn’t know what any of the spices were or how to cut an avocado. This was obviously pre-nutritionist days.

And I was surprised at how few ingredients are used but how darn tasty the dish turned out, and I attribute it largely to the long simmering time. Seriously, whilst I’m in this pregnant/fussy/need to eat meat in little tiny pieces phase and totally digging the idea of dollops of sour cream, mashed avocado and sprinkles of cheese… I will be busting out Tex-Mex at least once a week.

Try it, you’ll love it too! And you can say “NO!” to packet mix seasoning.

Chili con carne

Serves 4 - 6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 20 minutes


  • 1 teaspoon chilli (powder or flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 500g beef mince
  • 400g crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup stock (I used veggie you can use beef if you like)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 400g kidney beans (I used black beans)
  • 1 Large onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)


Step 1
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large pot and add the onion.
Step 2
Sweat for 5 minutes or until softening and golden.
Step 3
Add garlic, chilli and cumin and stir to coat onions, cook for a minute or two.
Step 4
Add the meat and break up using a fork stirring to brown, then stir in the tomatoes, stock, oregano, sugar and tomato paste.
Step 5
Bring to the boil and then turn down to gently simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
Step 6
Drain and rinse the beans, then add and leave to heat through for 5 minutes or so.
Step 7
Serve with rice or use as a base for nachos, tacos or burritos ~ heck if you fold it a certain way it's a different meal isn't it?
I served ours on rice with grated tasty cheese and a dollop of sour cream. N.O.M.


If you would like to make this vegetarian, then follow all steps minus the beef, and just simmer for about 20 minutes before adding the beans ~ perhaps use two tins of beans instead of one.
Fresh coriander would make a perfect green accompaniment.
Maybe steam or boil some ears of corn, then slice off the kernels and stir through the cooked rice: mixing grains makes for a more complete plant protein profile!

I think I prefer black beans over kidney beans anyways.

I think I prefer black beans over kidney beans anyways.

When I was an impressionable teenager I read “Like Water for Chocolate”, a novel about the forbidden love between Tita (the youngest daughter of a mean farmhand) and Pedro, who marries Tita’s sister to be close to Tita. It is set in Mexico and written with every chapter detailing a recipe and a story that involves the recipe. It’s the ONLY book I’ve ever read where the movie that was made from it is as good as the book.

Ahh, Tita and Pedro. Your love will forever burn

It is almost a cook book and well and truly cemented my love of Mexican food ~ and fulfilled my appetite for a passionate love story! Read it if you haven’t: Buy if from Amazon here.

This isn’t a Meatless Monday post, obviously. But you can make it on a Tuesday or Wednesday if you like!

~Yours with a yum yum in my tum, K180, x




  1. I love any dinner that is a vehicle for avocado and sour cream!
    I make a version with turkey mince that is super yummy…so good on a cold winter day!

  2. I grew up in a large family too…but it was mostly meat + 3 veg on the dinner table. (My parents never would have prepared this for us!) I cook a chicken mince version of this for my kids regularly which they devour, probably due in no small part to the sour cream that I serve it with.

    • Katie180 says:

      Sour cream, cheese, more cheese & more sour cream make Mexican food a taste buds best friend!

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