Food & Drink Magazine

Chili Con Carne...when in Rome!!

By Mmskitchenbites @mmskitchenbites

The British Chili Con Carne is exactly like the British Chicken Tikka Masala ... if done right - delicious ! But if you have eaten the original stuff you end up confused ... very, very confused !! Thanks to my erstwhile job, have had the good fortune of gorging on both the TexMex and the Texan Chili plenty of times (and have a couple of mean recipes for both) so I was all curious to try the British version ... and did so within a couple of weeks of landing in London ... decided that neither the chili nor the chicken tikka masala was for us (not enough depth, overly sweet and not cooked enough) ... until I decided to give it a try myself ... read up on a whole lot of different recipes and the one below is a mish-mash of all that ... have made it a few times now and the man always complains that I don't make enough ... so I guess it is worth sharing as well (more on that Chicken Tikka Masala in another post)

Chili Con Carne...when in Rome!!


  • Beef Mince, 500 gms
  • Onion, chopped, 2 medium large
  • Garlic cloves, finely chopped, 2-3
  • Cumin powder, 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder, 2 tsp
  • Fresh Red chili, finely chopped, 1-2 or to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper or Red chili powder, 1 tsp
  • Paprika or Kashmiri red chili powder, 2 tsp
  • All spice, ½ tsp
  • Red Kidney Beans, canned 400 gms, drained and rinsed or about 1 ½ cups of boiled/cooked kidney beans ( ½ cup dried kidney beans will result in approximately 1 ½ cups of cooked kidney beans)
  • Chopped Tomatoes, canned 400 gms, or 5-6 tomatoes chopped with their juices or 2 cups of chopped tomatoes with their juices
  • Tomato paste, 2 tbsp or 4-6 tbsp of packaged tomato puree (1 tbsp of tomato paste = 2-3 tbsp of packaged tomato puree, start with less and then add more as required)
  • Beef stock, 400 ml (made with 1 beef stock cube mixed with hot water) plus more stock or hot water if needed
  • Balsamic Vinegar, 1 tbsp
  • Dark bitter chocolate, grated or chopped, 1 small piece
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste


Heat the oil in deep heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Add in the chopped onions and fry till onions go soft.

Add in the red chili, garlic, cumin powder, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, paprika and all spice. Stir and fry on low heat for 4-5 minutes - stir continuously and don't let the spices burn.

Increase the heat to high and tip in the mince. Stir and keep breaking up the mince till it is well browned.

Add in the bayleaf, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, sugar and balsamic vinegar. Stir and mix well and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add in the stock and let the mix come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pan and leave to simmer for about 40- 45 minutes. Stir intermittently to ensure the meat doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. After simmering the sauce should look thick and moist.

Add in the kidney beans, chocolate and let the sauce simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes or so.

Adjust consistency - simmer uncovered if too saucy to your liking, add more stock/water if too thick.

Let the chili rest for at least an hour before serving to let the flavours develop (I keep mine in the fridge overnight and reheat to serve the next day. I keep it a little saucy when cooking and adjust consistency the next day on heating while serving)

Chili Con Carne...when in Rome!!

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