Smoky lamb & bean chilli

by Jenny Chandler

A smoky alternative to the usual beef or pork chilli

A great dish to make in advance as the beans just sup up the flavours as it sits. The combination of rich lamb shoulder meat, acidic tomatoes and smoky chilli heat is a proper winner. 


900g lamb shoulder, diced into 3cm-ish pieces
Salt and pepper
5 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tbsp dried oregano
½ tbsp sweet smoked paprika
½ tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp chipotle puree or chopped (more if you’re brave)
2 x 400g can of plum tomatoes
1 small bottle of Mexican lager
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
550g home-cooked or 2 x 400 g cans of red kidney, black, pinto or borlotti beans, drained
Juice of 1 lime


Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Place a large saucepan with a tbsp of olive oil over a medium heat and brown off the meat in batches. Set aside.

Turn down the heat, add the remaining oil with the onion and garlic and fry very gently until soft. Add the oregano and spices along with the chipotle puree (if using the chipotles in adobo, chop them roughly before adding) and continue to fry for a couple of minutes before stirring in the meat.

Now throw in the tomatoes, lager and sugar, cover with a lid and cook very gently for about an hour or until the lamb is tender. Add the beans, warm through, squeeze in the lime and taste. Balance with salt and pepper and more lime if necessary.

Serve in bowls topped with red onion, coriander, a slice of lime and boiled rice or tacos with some sour cream alongside.

Recipe: Jenny Chandler