A fantastic alternative to traditional chilli. 

Serves 4.

Chilli Con Carne


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 beef stock cube/ home made stock
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 400g red kidney beans
  • 400 diced chorizo


  • Prepare your vegetables; Dice 1 large onion, Cut 1 red pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves.
  • Put your pan on the hob over a medium heat. Add the oil and leave it for 1-2 minutes until hot. Add the onions & the Chorizo and cook, stirring fairly frequently until the onions are soft, squidgy and slightly translucent. Tip in the garlic, red pepper, one heaped teaspoon hot chilli powder or one level tablespoon mild chilli powder, one teaspoon paprika and one teaspoon ground cumin. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Brown the 500g lean minced beef. Turn the heat up a bit, add the meat to the pan and break it up with your spoon or spatula. Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform, mince-sized lumps and there are no more pink bits. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.
  • Crumble one beef stock cube or use homemade stock into 300ml hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture. Open one 400g can of chopped tomatoes and add these as well. Tip in ½ teaspoon dried marjoram and 1 teaspoon sugar, if using and add a good shake of salt and pepper. Add about two tablespoons of tomato purée and stir the sauce well.
  • Simmer gently. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and put a lid on the pan. Turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for 20 minutes. You should check on the pan occasionally to stir the mixture and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan, and also that it isn’t drying out. Add some water if it is catching. After simmering gently, the mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.
  • Drain and rinse one 410g can of red kidney beans in a sieve and stir them into the chilli pot. Bring to the boil again, and gently simmer without the lid for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry.

Serve with soured cream, guacamole, tortilla chips, jacket potatoes, or brown rice. The perfect winter warmer on a chilly November evening!


In season this month:

Fruit, Nuts & Fungi
Apples, medlars, pears, quince, raspberries, chestnuts, horse mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, truffles, walnuts, wood blewits

Vegetables & Herbs
Artichoke, beetroot, Brussels tops, cabbages, cardoons, carrots, celeriac, celery, chard, chicory, endive, greens, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins, salsify, swede, turnips, nettles, watercress

Meat & Game
Wild goose, grouse, hare, mallard, partridge, pheasant, rabbit, wood pigeon

Fish & Shellfish
Code, crab, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters, prawns, scallops, sea bass, sprats, squid, whiting

Suzanne is a professional chef, wife and mother who has lived in South East London all her life.

You can email Suzanne with any comments or questions at

This article first appeared in the November 2016 issue of SE22 magazine.