Chilli Con Carne

Originating from Mexico or Texas? Most of us would refer to Chilli con carne as a Mexican dish, but hefty debates backed by the international “Chili Society” suggest that the state of Texas, where Chilli is the official state dish, should have the naming rights.

Chilli con carne as most of us know it is a fiery spicy dish made of peppers, meat, beans and spices. Originally chilli con carne does not have beans, after all it is not called Chili con carne y frijoles.

In this recipe I will add the beans just the way most of us would do. Chilli Con Carne can be served on its own or with rice and/or freshly made tortillas.

Who connected us?!  This recipe was shared by Pablo, whom I worked with at Alfonso’s Mexican restaurant when I was a Uni student.  Originally from Mexico, Pablo started working as a chef in the Netherlands, sharing his love for honest home style Mexican food.

Makes: 6 portions  |  Preparation time: 20 min  |  Cooking time: 2 hours


  • 3 tbsp olive oilIMG_4060
  • 1 medium size onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely shopped
  • 2 tsp chilli powder or chilli flakes (1 or 1/2 tsp if you like to keep the dish mild)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 500 g chuck steak, cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 500 g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 500 ml water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 400 g red kidney beans (2 cans)
  • 1 bunch coriander, leaves and stems chopped separately.


  1. In a bowl coat the beef with the flower and salt evenly, set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened.
  3. Add the chilli, garlic, cumin, ground coriander, bay leaf and paprika powder and stir for 1 minute.
  4. Add the beef and cook stirring for about 5 minutes or until the beef has browned. Add the tomato paste and stir for a minute until the paste is heated.
  5. Add the tomatoes, chopped coriander stalks and water. Stir to combine and bring to the boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to simmer, cook for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
  7. Add the kidney beans and 2/3 of the chopped coriander leafs and simmer for another 1/2 hour.
  8. Season to taste with pepper & salt (careful if you already salted the meat). Sprinkle with coriander leaves when serving.



  • Chilli; Originally Chilli con carne is a spicy dish, but if you prefer the dish to be mild, especially for the kids, use less chilli. You can always add chilli or some tabasco later. I use fresh chillies when in season from my own garden.
  • Garlic; Do not add the garlic with the onions. Garlic burns easily, therefore I only fry this shortly.
  • Tomato paste; I add the tomato past to the meat and let it heat up. This takes a bit of the sour taste away.
  • Cream fresh or yogurt; add a dollop of cream fresh or yogurt when serving. This will some creaminess to the dish and balances out the heat.
  • Minced meat; Yes you can use minced meat if yo like. When you use minced meat you can skip the 1 hour simmering. When you use minced meat, stick to beef, pork or any other minced meat just does not taste well in chilli con carne.
  • Canned tomato; Yes you can use canned tomato in stead of fresh tomatoes.

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