Chilli con Carne.

The name means ‘meat cooked with chilli peppers’, and is a classic Latin American dish of Mexican origin. The chilli, kidney beans, paprika, cumin and origanum are all signature Mexican ingredients, and Chilli con Carne is so well known world-wide that it hardly seems necessary to write a recipe, but here it is anyway. There are, of course, any number of variations on this basic theme, and celebrity chefs have special recipes with lots of fiddly ingredients [absolutely fresh, of course], but below is the classic dish pared down to the essentials. Chilli con Carne is ideal for preparation in bulk and freezes well.


¼ cup olive oil.

4 large onions, chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Fresh chilli to taste.

2 tblsp ground cumin

2 tblsp paprika.

Salt to taste.

1 ½ kg diced beef.

5 tblsp plain flour.

2x400g tinned chopped tomatoes

1/3 cup tomato paste.

1 bay leaf.

1 ½ cups kidney beans.

1 cup water.

2 tablespoon rubbed origanum.


Heat the oil in a sauté pan over a hot flame. Add the onion and sauté until soft, then add the garlic, chilli, cumin, paprika and salt. Stir fry until the aromas are released then add the meat, stirring gently until completely sealed and covered with the spice mix.

Add the flour and stir through until fully incorporated, then stir in the tomato, tomato paste, bay leaf, beans and the water. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook gently for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the origanum, mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Serve with baked potatoes, salad and sour cream on the side.

Yields: 12 servings.

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