Quick chilli con carne

20081129 ChilliConCarneTitleWeb


When I was a kid, we definitely had certain food associated with certain days. Fish and chips or Cranzgots pizzas were for Friday afternoons.  Fondues were for a treat on Friday nights (come on, it was the 1970s!).  Saturday afternoons, depending on the season, were for corn on the cob; omelettes with garlic bread; or a buffet of cold fish dishes like rollmops, sardines and pickled fish.  Saturday nights were for chicken sosaties.  Sunday mornings were croissants for breakfast.  Sunday afternoons were for roasts.  And Sunday nights were for soup.


I have always maintained that one of the benefits of being a grown-up is that you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want.  If I want croissants for breakfast on a Wednesday morning, or a fondue on a school night… who’s going to stop me??  Even so, I find that we still have certain food that we associated with certain nights.  For example, we will seldom have a chicken stir-fry over a weekend, and we are unlikely to have a pizza on a weeknight. Sunday remains soup night, and Saturdays remain corn on the cob days. But we also have a couple of new “traditions”.  Curry is almost always reserved for chilly Friday nights.  That is, if we’re not having chille con carne!


There is something deeply satisfying about this dish, but the speed and ease with which you can make it mean it’s perfect for a friday night when you want something healthier than curry or pizza, but still rib-stickingly good.  I was never interested in chilli con carne – the mere mention of chilli in the title put me off.  That is, until we had some at Nick’s godparents’ place and I realised that if I was making it, I had full control of the spiciness!  The fact that I have come to love beans in pretty much any form also helped 😉  On the topic of the beans, if you think ahead a little, soak the beans when you leave for work in the morning and they should be perfect to cook by dinnertime.  the dried beans certainly have a better texture than tinned ones, but if you are pushed for time, the tinned ones work just fine.  I use red kidney beans, but you can use whichever take your fancy.


So if you unexpectedly follow me or Nick home on a Friday night hoping for a meal, there is a good chance that I will have the wherewithal in the house to throw this together, and it certainly would feed a couple of hungry guests.






500g lean mince (I use pork or turkey, but beef is also good)
2 cups dried red kidney beans (or beans of your choice)
1 tin chopped tomatoes with juice
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp dried cilantro/coriander leaf
2 Tbsp tomato concentrate paste
sunflower oil for frying
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 Tbsp chipotle ketchup
1 tsp sugar




If using dried beans, place the beans in a large pot in the morning before work and cover with plenty of water.  Discard any beans that float.  Soak for 10 hours, then discard the soaking water.  Re-fill the pot with clean water and bring to the boil – do not add salt as this can make the beans tough.  Simmer till tender (about 40 minutes) and drain.


In the meantime, heat the oil in a large frying pan and sautee the chilli flakes, onion and garlic until the onion is translucent but not browning.  Add the mince and continue to cook until the mince is browned and almost cooked.


Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and beans (if using tinned, just drain them well and add straight from the tin. Cook over medium heat until heated through and the sauce has reduced to the desired consistency.  Stir in the cilantro, chipotle ketchup and salt & pepper to taste.  Serve on brown rice.Bloggeraid


I am submitting this recipe to Giz of Equal Opportunity Kitchen who is hosting a BloggerAid    event to raise awareness of world hunger.  For those who don’t know, BloggerAid is a group of international food bloggers, convened by the lovely Val of More Than Burnt Toast, Ivy of Kopiaste and Giz herself.  Check out Giz’s announcement for more details, but you’ll have to hurry as the deadline is 28 December!

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  1. says

    Taking full control of the spiciness for me means amping it up to a thousand! Heh heh heh :) Looks delicious, Jeanne! Sorry I wasn’t able to catch the BloggerAid event, though :(

  2. says

    Aren’t traditions wonderful?
    When I was growing up, we always had chile con carne on Christmas Eve, the day my grandfather arrived and the night we put up the Christmas tree. It was thrilling to be allowed to eat dinner in the living room, with our bowls of chile con carne on the coffee table (that had a cloth on it, of course), surrounded by decorations not yet on the tree, presents still under wraps in a box waiting to be placed at the foot of the tree and the thrill of Santa’s imminent arrival.
    Now, of course, amalgamating family traditions, I have learned about the wonders of a sit-down dinner on Christmas Eve, putting our tree up a few days before Christmas Eve.
    Even though we are eating like kings, suddenly after reading your post, I feel the need for a bowl of chile con carne! (With black, pinto, red kidney and navy beans) In fact, I think I’ll go down to the kitchen and start soaking some beans!
    Thank you for the idea, Jeanne, and thank you for pointing to the BloggerAid event.
    Merry 4th Day of Christmas!

  3. says

    I love Chili any day of the week. Now I’m trying not to be overcome with envy that you have chipotle ketchup! What a wonderful sounding ingredient. Never heard of that here, but I do have ground chipotle powder, which I guess I could add to my ketchup!

  4. says

    My heart gets warm just thinking about chilli and I really have trouble resisting this one. Winds are gusting, snow flying and what could be more warming. Thank you for this lovely entry to BloggerAid: Because we can Help. I believe we can!!!

  5. says

    I wish you had posted this recipe last week. I cooked red kidney beans for the first time and had no idea how to make them. Your recipe sounds easy and delicious.

  6. says

    Would you believe I have never eaten Chilli Con Carne?? I have no idea why as I love a little chilli and I am a huge fan of beans. I am definitely going to have to try this!

  7. says

    This is comfort food at its best Jeanne. It is also the perfect addition to Giz’ event to raise awareness for those less fortunate than ourselves.I know that it is a passion of yours!!

  8. says

    Knock-knock…is it Friday yet? Sounds finger licking good Jeanne. My kids still have ‘those days’ earmarked aften; can’t let them have a free run so early in life. We still have bookmarked days often, but I love your Fridays! This recipe is wonderful & heart-warming. YUM!!
    Have a wonderful 2009 Jeanne…filled with warmth, fun & happiness!!
    (BTW, love it that you used ‘mea culpa’ & achieved it too..he he)

  9. says

    Mmm, I’m really craving spices at the moment. I’m staying with my parents and my father won’t touch anything with even the remotest bit of heat – part of me can’t wait to get home to cook up something with a just a little fire (though not too much). Chilli con carne is such great warming comfort food and yours looks delicious.

  10. says

    I think our only regular meal was the Sunday roast but I’m sure the week’s meals were more planned out than I ever manage now. This looks delicious and reminds me that I need to get over my dislike of kidney beans!

  11. says

    “I have always maintained that one of the benefits of being a grown-up is that you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want…” I wish that were always true.I will tell you later.But a big pot of chili would excellent about now( you can turn up the heat on mine). Happy New Year.

  12. says

    I see behind the ‘chili’ and the ‘meat’ (carne), I see rice and beans which is a everyday Latin American+African food, isn’t it? Pure comfort by nature.
    Happy new year!