Pic of Chunky chilli con carne

Chunky chilli con carne

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Meat mains

Chunky chilli con carne

Main Serves 6 2h 50 min
You may be used to using minced beef in chilli con carne, but diced beef gives it far more texture and beefy flavour. Slow cooking to the point of disintegration is the secret. This recipe offers a good background blend of spices and the extra dose of cumin really freshens it up. It's heavy on the beans so if you like your chilli meaty or have many a mouth to feed, add more beef – you can use minced as well as diced, which gives a nice range of textures.


  • ½ heaped tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, cinnamon and oregano
  • 5 sprigs thyme, tied together with string
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 350g beef, in 1½cm cubes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 heaped tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ red chilli (or more plus seeds if you like it hot), deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 large onions, cut into large dice
  • 2 carrots, cut into small dice
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tins kidney beans, drained – or about 200g of dried, soaked and cooked
  • salt and pepper


Prep time: 20 min
Cooking time: 2h 30 min
  • Step 1

    Put the dried chilli flakes, ground cumin, cinnamon, oregano, thyme and half the garlic into a dish and add the diced beef. Turn the meat to coat and leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours, overnight if possible.
  • Step 2

    Heat the olive oil in a heavy based casserole dish over a medium heat and gently fry the cumin and coriander seeds for a couple of minutes. Turn up the heat, add the beef and fry until browned.
  • Step 3

    Turn the heat back down and add the fresh chilli, remaining garlic, onions, carrots and a little salt to season. Keep stirring until the onions are transparent and the carrots soft. It'll happen quicker if you put the lid on after a few minutes.
  • Step 4

    Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes before adding the kidney beans. Cover with water and simmer on a low heat for an hour with the lid on. Then take off the lid and simmer for up to an hour more, until the meat is falling apart and everything is beginning to thicken.
  • Step 5

    Finish by adding a good pinch of ground cumin to freshen it up. Lastly check the seasoning and consistency - if it looks a little dry, add a little more water. Serve with the usual suspects: sour cream, guacamole, lime marinated red onions, tortillas and wedges of lime.

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