Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chilli Con Carne

The first snow of the winter arrived at the weekend so what better way to warm yourself up than a bowl of chilli con carne.

Chilli is one of those dishes that warms you up just thinking about it! The deliciously spiced sauce (that can be as hot as you like) is comfort in a bowl. It is a perfect family meal but it is also the ideal dish to serve to a crowd. You can make it in advance and if need be freeze it then simply re-heat and serve with all the accompaniments I have suggested below. I honestly can’t think of anything more perfect for a cold day, than a giant pot of simmering chilli.

When you first look through the list of ingredients, there may be a couple that surprise you, however don’t be put off! The first one is the chipotle pepper (which is actually a dried and smoked jalapeno) and if you can get these then it really is worth the effort. The chilli adds a real depth of flavour with its smoky, chocolate tones that is delicious. If you can’t get the chipotle pepper then you could add a little cocoa powder to add a little extra depth to the chilli, but I promise you won’t be disappointed if you go to the extra effort to track down the chipotles!

The second ingredient that may sound a little strange is the can of Campbell’s condensed tomato soup. This is what my mum uses to make chilli and it always tasted amazing. I have added some extra ingredients – spices mainly – but I have stuck with the soup! I appreciate that it is in no way authentic but I have tried making chilli both ways, using tinned tomatoes and secondly with the soup, and every time I have served the soup version people love it! When I tested it myself my preference was definitely the soup sauce so try it and see for yourself – you will be pleasantly surprised!

The recipe below serves 4 since I often make this during the week, however it is very easily (and successfully) doubled or tripled. If you want to make it more substantial serve it with rice.

For a vegetarian version, simply omit the mince and make it a 3 bean chilli instead using kidney beans, borlotti beans and black eye beans. Follow the recipe as above adding all three beans towards the end when it is suggested you add the kidney beans. Delicious!

1 dried, smoked chipotle pepper
2 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
500g extra lean ground beef
2-3 tbsp of chilli powder (depending on the heat of your chilli powder & how spicy you like it)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 can of Campbell’s condensed tomato soup
250ml/ 1 cup beef stock
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Salt & black pepper
420g can of kidney beans
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

To serve:
Spring onions, thinly sliced
Sour Cream
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Avocado, sliced
Lime wedges
Tortilla chips

If you have a dried, smoked chipotle pepper re-hydrate it in a small bowl with boiling water while you start cooking the chilli.

In a large pan heat the oil then sauté the onions over a medium heat for 5 minutes until they have softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before adding the mince. Cook until the mince has browned stirring frequently to break it up into small pieces.

Once the mince has browned add the chilli powder, ground coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper and oregano and stir well until the mince is evenly covered in the spices. Cook for another minute or so then add the soup, beef stock, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. If using the chipotle pepper, remove from the water and finely chop. Add to the chilli, stir well then cover and leave to simmer gently for 45minutes to 1 hour, until the sauce has reduced and thickened and all the flavours have intensified. Add the kidney beans and the red and green peppers and cook for a further 10 – 15 minutes. Just before serving sprinkle in the coriander.

Serve in bowls with extra coriander and all of the above accompaniments for a delicious and hearty meal.


  1. Thanks! I'm in Canada. Freezing here again today!!

  2. Ah, we're in Scotland and have been promised snow possibly tomorrow. I'm intrigued by the Campbell's soup now. I'll also need to try the chipotle. It has been ages since I made chilli so that may be on the menu for next week. Thanks for the ideas.

  3. Yeah I'm from Scotland and all of my family are still there so I keep an eye on the forecast - looks like it's going to be cold for everyone!! Wrap up warm!
    The tomato soup sounds so weird and to be honest I would be hesitant if it wasn't for the fact I've had it and honestly it tastes so good - have even done taste testings with lots of people and they always wonder what the 'secret' ingredient is! I hope you enjoy it! : )

  4. Thanks. I'll let you know what I think when I have tried it. :)

  5. That looks utterly delectable - in fact, it almost makes me wish it was cold here (oh well, it probably will be by the weekend!)
    Have you moved to Canada permanently? Sorry, I haven't been as diligent a reader as I would like to be lately...

  6. Thanks Lucy! I moved to Canada 5 years ago - my husband is Canadian so it looks like I will certainly be here a while! I go home at least once a year though to get my home fix!
    Don't worry about the lack of reading - I know how it can be, Im just delighted you read when you can! : )

  7. Love the snow scenes. Which part of Canada you are in? My sister-ln-law stays in Vancouver and she told us this week is unnormal with artic weather,freezing cold under -9.
    You are right, I love to have hot & spicy soup especially Tom Yum (Thai spicy and sour soup) during winter time :-P

  8. Thanks Yin! Im fairly close to Vancouver - definitely not usual to get this much snow at this time of year!!
    You've totally got me craving some Tom Yum now!! I think i'm going to have to make some this weekend! : D

  9. Snow already..yikes! The chilli con carne looks delicious. Love the avacado as a serving suggestion. (I could eat avacado with anything though)

    Monica :)

  10. Thanks Monica! Yeah I'm a huge fan of avocado as well - especially with a squeeze of fresh lime juice on it! :)

  11. One of my favourite winter dishes. :) It looks so appetising on your plate. :)

  12. I made it Lynds, it's 30 degrees and humid but still tasted awesome - needed the aircon on though as got a bit happy with the chilli.... Used grated dark choc instead of the c-pepper or coco powder, was yum. Going to do the prawn curry next for D's cousin coming to stay. Australia does a good prawn so it's perfect! Your blog is looking excellent buddy. Abs x

  13. Thanks Abs! Glad you enjoyed it even in 30 degree weather! I hope you enjoyed the curry as well. (Sorry this reply is so late!)x


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