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Chilli Con Carne: Make a Big Pot and Eat It All Week

red-chilliChilli Con Carne is the perfect food for cooking in advance – storing it overnight seems to deepen and enhance the flavours. It also freezes well and is so versatile that it’s handy in small quantities for lunch. There are lots of special offers on mince around at the moment, so it’s a good time to make a giant potful for the freezer.


This will make enough for one dinner and two lunches. Just double all portions (excpet for the cinnamon stick) to make a bigger pot for freezing.

  • 300g lean mince
  • 1 onion
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsps tomato puree
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 150g mushrooms
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 red chillies, chopped, or 2 tsps dried chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. Finely chop the onion and sweat for a couple of minutes in some olive oil until the pieces start to soften.
  2. Add the mince and brown it over a low heat for about 5 minutes.  Drain the fat from the pan.
  3. Add in the tomatoes, tomato puree and the spices.  Allow to simmer for about half an hour.
  4. Add in the mushrooms and cook for another half an hour. You may need to add in a splash of water at some point.
  5. Finally, add in the kidney beans. Canned kidney beans are precooked so just need to warm through.  Allow them to warm in the chilli for about ten minutes.

Like all Mexican food, it’s great with sour cream, grated cheese, salsa and guacamole on the site.  You can eat it over the next few days or freeze it in sandwich bags to eat later.  Some things that you can do with your chilli:

  • Serve on top of a baked potato for lunch
  • Scoop into a toasted pitta bread with some natural yogurt and chopped tomatoes
  • Use as the meat filling for burritos or tacos
  • Serve with rice – the rice is extra great if you mix lime juice and chopped fresh coriander through it
  • Stuff it into a breadroll or bap to make a spicy sloppy joe


  1. I add chorizo to mine. It gives another texture and a little heat. I also use dried kidney beans instead of the canned ones; they taste much nicer but then anything under sour cream and cheese can’t possibly taste bad.

  2. Dark chocolate is great in Chilli Con Carne. Just a square or two of a good dark chocolate bar at the end. My mum does it and apparently its a trad mexican thing. I’d recommend it. Yum.

  3. @ CP -I totally agree with the chocolate, it’s ace in chili, and mellows the spiciness.

    Another top tip is to mix the chili’s, chili powder and other spices in a plastic bag, and then put the mince in and spin the bag around a bit so the meat gets a nice coating of the seasoning before you brown it in the pan.

    When the chili is done, I lob in a bottle of Corona and let the chili simmer in it until it’s cooked off, yum.

  4. Wow, thanks folks, some amazing tips there. Am going to try the chocolate thing right away.