Friday, 10 January 2014

Chilli con Carne (A.K.A. Healthy Dins Part Deux)

So, I hope you're still ploughing through January. How many days left? Are we still not even half way though?! January, to me, always seems like the longest month. December has a total of 31 days too and it flies, every year - no questions asked, but January is another story altogether...

Anyway, this dish is a perfect winter warmer and has that lovely balance of comfort food, while being very healthy too. I use a combination of the usual kidney beans, plus chickpeas, and both are very nutritious, adding to the fibre and protein content of the dish, whilst also boosting vitamins and minerals. The kidney beans are a particularly good source of iron. I have also listed a few tasty serving ideas below the main recipe. I do hope you enjoy.


  • 375 - 400g lean beef mince (the regular container size)
  • Garlic, finely chopped - the amount of cloves, I'll leave at your discretion
  • Spices* 
  • Salt, to season
  • 2 medium onions or 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 - 2 peppers, diced
  • A handful of mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Tin of kidney beans - rinsed
  • Tin of chickpeas - rinsed
  • Half a tube of tomato paste (about 70g)
  • 1 - 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce (trust me!)
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  1. Fry the onions with a little sprinkling of salt in a medium pan or wok until softened - 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add all your spices in and cook through for a few more minutes until an intense, spicy aroma is wafting around your kitchen...mmm!
  3. Add the garlic and fresh vegetables next (hold back on the tinned ones) and fry gently for a couple more minutes.
  4. Tip in your meat and turn up the heat, mixing well, to ensure it gets cooked through.
  5. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, the tomato paste, the sweet chilli sauce and mix through. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  6. Add in your tinned beans and allow the sauce to develop in flavour - for 20 minutes minimum to an hour or more, if you have the time.
  7. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary, just before you're you're ready to serve.
To serve:

I make homemade potato wedges with washed baby potatoes (unpeeled), chopped once or twice into large chunks and tossed in oil and cajun seasoning, baked in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour. I serve these with sweet chilli mayo, which is simply made by combining one part sweet chilli sauce to 2 parts mayonnaise.

Heated pitta breads are also delicious as a pocket to serve the chilli in. (Coeliacs - check for gluten-free versions).

Rice is a classic combo but it's not my preference anymore.

A good old baked potato works very well.

I also make guacamole as a side, when avocados are my friends, which unfortunately is not the case at the moment. I will blog that recipe at a later date when I encounter my next non-fickle avocado (don't hold your breath!)

Perfect toppings also include some grated Cheddar cheese, natural yogurt or sour cream and freshly chopped coriander.

*The spices - Chilli powder is a must but you have room for manoeuvre here. I used 1 tsp hot chilli powder, a little dash of chilli flakes, 1 tsp cumin, half tsp smoked paprika and 1 cinnamon stick. I highly recommend the cinnamon and you could use a half tsp of ground cinnamon if you don't have any cinnamon sticks. I just had a few left over from Christmas (mulled wine never happened this year, alas!)


  1. woow

  2. Looks so spicy, I enjoyed a lot, thanks for hosting this food guide.