The ultimate chilli con carne

Jill Dupleix
Chunky, hearty chilli con carne.
Chunky, hearty chilli con carne. Photo: William Meppem

There is no wrong way to cook chilli con carne, because there is no single authentic recipe for it that exists in either Mexico or Texas. This means we're free to cook up beef, chilli, beans and spice any which way we like. Even so, let's give it a little more heart and soul by chopping the meat by hand, and cooking it low and slow to produce deeper, richer flavours.


1.5kg beef chuck or brisket, cut into 3cm pieces

pinch or more of cayenne or ancho chilli powder

2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned

4 tbsp vegetable oil

2 onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, grated

400g canned tomatoes, chopped

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp chipotle in adobo, finely chopped (with sauce)

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 litre beef or vegetable stock

400g canned red kidney beans, rinsed

400g canned borlotti beans, rinsed

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

coriander sprigs and steamed rice for serving


1. Heat the oven to 160C. Toss the beef in flour seasoned with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a heavy frypan and brown half the meat until lightly tanned, then transfer to a heavy casserole. Add one tablespoon of oil to the frypan and repeat with remaining beef.

2. Add remaining one tablespoon of oil to the frypan and cook the onion for five minutes until softened, adding garlic towards the end. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, chipotle in adobo, cumin, oregano and cinnamon, stirring. Add the stock and heat to a simmer.

3. Combine with the beef in the casserole dish. Cover and cook in the oven for 2? hours, stirring once or twice after the first hour.

4. Add both types of beans and cocoa powder, stir through, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or more until meat is tender and sauce is thickened. Taste for salt, pepper and chilli, and serve with coriander and steamed rice.

Serving suggestion: Guacamole salad with beetroot and radicchio

Pimp it up: 10 ways with chilli con carne

Find more of Jill Dupleix's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.

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