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Chilli con carne

Rich, velvety, deep and smokey chilli, packed with fibre and warming tex-mex spices. I just LOVE how versatile this dish is! Make it on the hob, in a slow cooker, make it as spicy as you like, make it veggie, make it vegan. Serve it with rice, in tacos, over nachos, jacket potatoes or as a chilli lasagne or cottage pie. Freezes incredibly well, I've always got a few batches stashed away. The secret ingredient for a deep flavour - is dark chocolate!

Total time to make : 30 minutes Time to prep : 10 minutes

Time to cook : 20 minutes

Servings : 6


2 tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 red pepper, diced

500g beef mince

2 tsp smoked paprika

4 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp hot chilli power (or cayenne)

2 tsp dried oregano

2 x beef stock cubes dissolved in 360ml boiling water

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp maple syrup

4 tbsp tomato puree

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

2 x 400g cans beans, rinsed (I used red kidney and black beans)

30g dark chocolate


  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep, heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium - high heat. Add in the onion and sauté for a few minutes until soft and translucent. Add in the garlic and red pepper and sauté for another few minutes until cooked, being careful not to burn the garlic.

  2. Add in the beef mince and cook until all the meat is browned, using a wooden spoon to break up the mince. Once browned, add in all of the spices except the oregano and stir to mix. Sprinkle in the oregano, rubbing it between your fingers - this releases the oils and imparts more of the flavour and aroma.

  3. Pour in the stock and add in the Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and rinsed beans. Add 1 tsp of salt and let everything come to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer.

  4. Simmer on a gentle heat for as little as 30 minutes or for up to 2 hours over a slightly lower heat for a deeper flavour and thicker, more rich sauce. Once it's ready, remove from the heat and add in the dark chocolate, allowing it to melt into the chilli and stirring through. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

  5. Serve with sour cream (or greek yogurt/quark), lime wedges, guacamole and coriander.

Nutritional Information

(per serving)

388 calories

26g protein, 25g carbs, 19g fat

Good to know:

  • Add up to 4 tsp of hot chilli or cayenne powder depending on how spicy you like it. I'm a medium Nandos spice gal - so 2 tsp is enough for me!

  • For the slow cooker, follow the first 3 steps (*but reduce the water the stock cubes are dissolved in to 120ml*) and then transfer everything to a slow cooker and cook for 6 - 8 hours on low

  • To store, allow to come to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. The flavour intensifies and deepens over the days 😍

  • To make this vegetarian/vegan, use a meat-alternative mince or substitute with another 2x tins rinsed mixed beans and use an anchovy free Worcestershire sauce (or skip it out completely).


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