Best of the best chilli con carne
- October 2023
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 30 min. Simmering time 2 hours
Full of layered complexity, satisfying texture and, a robust, thick sauce and a fruity heat, this chilli con carne is the best example of the one-pot classic. It’s got enough beans in it to be served as is, but you can pair it with rice or – even better – a piece of cornbread to make it go further.
Find more one-pan recipes here.
- 17g (7.3g saturated)
- 44g (13g sugars)
- 2 ancho chillies (or 1 tbsp ancho chilli flakes)
- 3 chipotle chillies
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp dried mixed mushrooms
- 15g dark chocolate
- 1 tsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground coffee
- 500ml chicken stock, hot
- Vegetable oil to fry
- 750g diced beef, chopped into smaller pieces
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, finely chopped
- 2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
- 1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 25ml bourbon or whisky (optional)
- 1 star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 3cm piece cinnamon stick or cassia bark
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 400g tins kidney beans, drained
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- Soured cream to serve
- Crushed tortilla chips
- Finely chopped chives (optional)
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Put a large lidded casserole or saucepan over a low-medium heat. Add the ancho and chipotle chillies, the cumin and coriander seeds and toast for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Tear off and discard the stalks from the dried chillies, then transfer everything to a blender (or use a stick blender in the pan). Add the mushrooms, dark chocolate, sugar and coffee, then pour in the hot stock. Cover and leave to sit for 5 minutes to help hydrate the chillies and mushrooms, then whizz at a high speed for a few minutes until completely smooth. Set aside.
- Pour a generous drizzle of vegetable oil into the casserole dish and put over a high heat. Working in batches, season the beef with salt and cook until deeply browned all over, transferring the meat to a plate as you work. Add a drizzle more oil, turn the heat down to medium, then tip in the onion, carrot and green chillies. Add a pinch of salt, then cook for 8-10 minutes until softened and beginning to caramelise.
- Add the tomato purée and paprika, cook for 1 minute, then add the vinegar and bourbon (if using; add a splash more vinegar if not) to the pan over the heat and scrape up any crispy burnt bits (this is known as deglazing the pan). Return the beef to the pan and add the star anise, bay leaf, cinnamon and chopped tomatoes, fill the tomato tin with water and add that too, then give everything a good stir.
- Pour in the whizzed chicken stock, add the drained beans, stir again and cover with a lid, leaving it slightly ajar. Turn the heat down to low-medium and leave to cook at a very gentle simmer, stirring very occasionally, for 2 hours. Keep an eye on the liquid levels; if it starts to catch on the bottom, add a little more water (I usually throw in another 100ml after 1½ hours). It’s ready when the sauce is thick and rich and the meat is tender.
- Fish out and discard the bay leaf and star anise, check you’re happy with the seasoning, then stir in the butter. Divide the chilli among bowls. Top with a dollop of soured cream, scatter over some chives (if using) and crush some tortilla chips over the top. Put a bottle of your favourite hot sauce on the table so guests can amp up the heat if they like.
Chilli tastes far better the next day, which is why it’s always a good idea to make a big batch (it freezes really well too). You could easily double the quantities – just make sure you have a nice big pan and increase the simmering time to 3-4 hours.
Rate & review
Or, how about...?
Savoury bread recipes
Jalapeño cornbread with charred spring onion soured cream
Serve this jalapeño cornbread on it’s own, as a snack...
Sweet potato gumbo with cornbread
Gumbo is the quintessential Deep South dish. Simon Rimmer’s vegetarian...
Batch cooking recipes
Southern style slow cooker beef chilli with cornbread topping
Stick a batch of richly flavoured beef chilli in the...
Subscribe to our magazine
Food lovers, treat yourself this Christmas... Enjoy 12 months of magazines for £29.99 – just £2.50 an issue.Subscribe
Unleash your inner chef
Looking for inspiration? Receive the latest recipes with our newsletter