Chilli con carne

by Jenny Chandler

Jenny Chandler gives this classic crowd-pleaser a boozy twist


5 tbsp olive oil
900g chuck steak, in large dice or beef mince (if you’re in a hurry!)
2 onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted and ground or 1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp oregano
2 -3 tsp chilli powder
1 can or small bottle of bitter, or dark beer
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsps worcestershire sauce
550g home-cooked or 2 x 400g tins, drained red kidney, pinto beans or black beans
1 large handful of coriander, roughly chopped


Take a large cast iron pot or heavy saucepan, heat up half the oil and brown the meat off in batches. You want plenty of colour and flavour, so take your time. Set the meat aside.

Soften the onion in the remaining oil and then add the garlic, cumin, oregano and chilli. Hold your breath for a moment—the chilli will make you gasp—stir for 1-2 mins and wait until you are engulfed in wonderful aromas. Add the meat back into the pan before the garlic catches and burns.

Tip in the beer, tomatoes, sugar, worcestershire sauce and season with a good pinch of salt. Bring everything up to a boil and then cover and simmer really gently for about 2 hours (or a minimum of 40 mins if using mince) or until the beef is really tender.

Stir in the cooked beans, simmer for a further 10 mins and check the seasoning.

Serve with the chopped coriander or, better still, leave the chilli for a day or two for the flavours to mingle, marry and mature.

ALTERNATIVE: How about serving the chilli with a bowl of salsa or guacamole or some grated cheese (I love wensleydale or lancashire) and sour cream on the side.

With plain boiled rice, a baked potato, tortillas or even polenta.

Recipe: Jenny Chandler