Chilli Con Carne

Chilli Con Carne

Serves 8-10.


  • 1 kg Galloway minced beef.
  • 1 kg Galloway diced beef (cut each piece into 2 or 3 smaller cubes).
  • 2 tbsp plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
  • Sunflower oil for frying.
  • 8 tbsp olive oil.
  • 3 large onions, diced.
  • 5 sticks celery, finely diced.
  • 4 red peppers.
  • 8 green chillies (more or less to taste), deseeded and finely chopped.
  • 8 to 10 cloves of garlic, crushed.
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme.
  • 6 bay leaves.
  • 4 tsp ground cumin.
  • 4 tsp dried oregano.
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree.
  • 5 cans of plum tomatoes, roughly chopped, with juice.
  • ½ bottle of red wine.
  • Chicken stock/water to cover (stock cube is OK but use less per volume than recommended as can be salty).
  • 1 tsp gravy browning liquid (NOT Gravy granules).
  • 2 or 3 cans of kidney beans, drained.
  • 100gms. dark bitter chocolate.
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Optional: Cayenne/chilli pepper/Tabasco sauce to adjust heat towards the end of cooking time if necessary.
  • To finish: Juice of 1 lime.
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped.


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and sweat the onions, celery, chillies, garlic and thyme for 5-10 mins until soft but not browned.
  2. Add the bay leaves, oregano and cumin.
  3. Switch off the heat.
  4. In the meantime heat some sunflower oil in a large frying pan and dust the diced meat with seasoned flour.
  5. Brown the meat on all sides. Don’t overcrowd the pan, but brown in smaller batches.
  6. Add the diced meat to the vegetables.
  7. Brown the mince in the frying pan and add to the vegetables.
  8. Use some of the wine to deglaze the frying pan and add to the saucepan.
  9. Stir in the tomato puree, canned tomatoes, wine, gravy browning and enough stock/water to cover. You want it reasonably liquid here as it will reduce a lot over the 2-hour cooking.
  10. Simmer on a very low heat, uncovered, for about 2 hours until well reduced.
  11. Whilst the sauce is simmering away, prepare the peppers.
  12. Either on a gas ring or under a hot grill, place the whole peppers and blacken the skin all sides (about 15 minutes).
  13. Place the charred peppers in a plastic bag and leave for 20 mins.
  14. Then pick off as much of the blackend skin as you can and discard.
  15. A few bits of black are fine. DON’T wash under the tap as you’ll wash away all the flavour!
  16. Cut in half, remove the seeds and core and cut into 1 cm squares. (If this all seems too fussy you can just sweat diced peppers with the vegetables. The taste of roasted peppers is completely different though: very sweet and slightly smokey).
  17. Add the roasted peppers for the last 30 minutes of cooking along with the kidney beans.
  18. When your sauce has reached the desired consistency check seasoning to taste: salt, pepper, cayenne/Tabasco.
  19. Then stir in the chocolate a piece at a time. The chocolate will also help to thicken the sauce as well.
  20. Finish with the lime juice and coriander leaves and serve with any or all of the following: Rice. Grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack. Guacamole. Sour cream. Soft flour tortillas. Tortilla chips.

Quick Nachos:

  • Spread tortilla chips on an ovenproof plate/dish.
  • Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  • Add dollops of chilli con carne and more cheese on top.
  • Bake in the oven at 180C for 15 minutes.
  • Serve with dollops of guacamole and sour cream. (Finger food at its best, to be eaten with ice-cold Mexican beer).