Easy Chili Con Carne

This Chili Con Carne is super easy to make and is rich and comforting. It is also ideal for when you are having friends over. You can make it a day in advance and just reheat it. It also freezes very well.

This is my adaptation of Nigella Lawson's recipe from her book, Feast and is also available on her website.

Easy Chili Con Carne
Serves up to 10 hungry people.


  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • dash of olive oil for frying
  • 2 tsp ground chili, or to taste (I use 3 tsp and it is still quite mild)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 5 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1.5 kg minced beef
  • 4 x 400 g chopped tomatoes
  • 8 Tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 8 Tbsp tomato puree (or 4 Tbsp tomato paste)
  • up to 1 cup of water
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa (not sweetened!)
  • 2 x 400 g cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed with fresh water.
  • salt to taste

  1. Heat a dash of oil in a large saucepan and saute the onions and garlic until it starts to soften. Add the chili, coriander, cumin and cardamom to the onions and stir well. (Medium heat)
  2. Add the minced beef to the saucepan and brown it as well as you can. Take care to break up any lumps.
  3. Now add in the chopped tomatoes, ketchup, tomato puree and a little water and stir well to make a rich, red sauce. Tip in the rinsed, drained kidney beans and give a good stir. Check the consistency and add a little water if it looks too dry.
  4. Bring the saucepan up to a boil. Sprinkle the cocoa powder over and stir it well.
  5. Turn the heat to low, cover the saucepan halfway with a lid and let it simmer slowly for 1 and a half hours. Stir every now and then.
  6. Serve the chili piping hot with corn tortillas, tacos or even rice. A good grating of cheddar cheese and a few coriander leaves makes all the difference. You can also add a dollop of sour cream and some tomato salsa or guacamole on the side.


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