Chilli con Carne is a great dish to share with lots of friends.  There are many variations and this recipe is courtesy of Rachel Allen, a cook, cookery writer, TV presenter and lover of great real food which she taught Jen to create at Ballymaloe Cookery School.

Rachel says, “I don’t care how old fashioned this is, I love it. Mind you, it’s probably so out of fashion it’s cool. However, I do think it’s better with cubed rather than minced meat.”


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 700g stewing beef, fat removed and cut into 1-2 cm cubes (pork or lamb can also be used)
  • 1-2 large onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
  • 2 green peppers, deseeded and sliced
  • 3 green or red chillies, chopped (for this I would leave the seeds in)
  • 1-2 tsp freshly ground cumin
  • 400g tin kidney beans, drained (keep liquid, if you like) or 225g dried kidney beans, soaked and cooked
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • Sour cream (dairy-free if necessary), coriander leaves and grated cheddar cheese to garnish (optional)


1. Heat the olive oil in a casserole or saucepan.

2. Cook the meat until it changes colour, add the onion and garlic and stir around for a minute.

3. Add the tinned tomatoes, peppers, chopped chillies and a good pinch of salt.

4. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour or until the meat is cooked (it should be nice and tender). By the end of the cooking time, the liquid should have reduced to a thick sauce. If it gets too dry during cooking, just had a little bit more water or liquid from the beans. You can also put this into the oven at 150°C/300°F/gas 2.

5. Finally, add the cumin, kidney beans (and a little bit of bean liquid, if you like) and brown sugar. Simmer for a further 10 minutes.

6. Serve with rice, a spoonful of (dairy-free) sour cream, some grated cheddar or dairy-free cheese, maybe a taco and some coriander leaves sprinkled on top. It’s also great with Tomato Salsa and Guacamole, and if some of your friends like a bit more heat, served with a Hot Chilli Sauce too.

Team Tip: Like so many stews, this gets even better the next day.  It also freezes well and so great for batch-cooking. 

Team Tip: If you realise at the end of cooking that you haven’t put in enough chilli, just add a dash of Tabasco sauce. 

**Always check the ingredients of any food you’re cooking with to make sure it doesn’t contain something you or your child should avoid.


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