This easy chilli con carne recipe is packed with healthy veggies, fragrant spices and lots of flavour. Real and authentic comfort food and just delicious. Serve with bread, nachos or rice and a range of refreshing side dishes.
A bowl of chilli con carne has always been delicious comfort food for me. Not only on a cold winter’s day, but all year round. And on top of all, it’s very easy to make. There are not really any set rules of cooking a pot of chili con carne, whether it is vegetarian, gluten free or just with meat. For me, I like to add veggies to any mince meat stew as well as lots of herbs and spices.
Which ingredients to use
Note: All the exact quantities of the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Even though this chili con carne recipe is really easy to make, it still contains quite a bit of ingredients. Most of these ingredients however are spices, so the chili con carne is packed with lots of flavour. The full chilli con carne ingredients list can be found in the recipe below. Here are the key ingredients to be used for this chili con carne.
- Ground beef: Minced meat or ground beef is the key ingredient for a good chilli con carne. Use lean ground beef or beef mince for the most authentic flavour. I sometimes mix beef and pork mince for my chilli con carne. It makes the meat more juicy and adds a different taste to the chilli.
- Beef stock or broth: You can either use home made (or bought) beef stock, which is always better in flavour. If you have no beef stock available you can use a stock cube for flavouring.
- Vegetables: Add diced zucchini, bell pepper and onions for a complete and healthy meal.
- Spices: As you will see from the chilli con carne ingredients list below, lots of spices are needed to get the right and most authentic taste. Feel free to add more of one spice or another, just make sure there is enough balance between the various flavours. If you use seeds instead of powder, you can first heat them up over medium heat in a pan for about 2 minutes. Afterwards crush the seeds with a pestle and mortar to release the aroma before adding them to the dish.
- Smoked paprika: I personally like to add a small quantity of smoked paprika to increase the smokey flavour in the chilli con carne dish. Just make sure to use the right quantity you like yourself since not everyone is a fan of the strong smokey aroma.
- Special ingredient: I use a teaspoon of ground cinnamon in all my dishes where I use tomatoes or tomato paste. It cuts through the acidity of the tomato flavour and no need to add sugar for that.
Tips on how to make Chilli con carne
- Browning mince meat: Do not pass this step as it releases the best meat flavours for your dish. The best way to do this is to add the mince in batches to the casserole and break it up in small pieces with a fork or wooden spoon while frying. Take out the meat from the pot when it’s lightly browned all around.
- Frying the onions and other vegetables: Same as for the meat, glazing the onions and other vegetables first releases the flavours (it will definitely smell divine).
- Adding acidity: In order to lift up the dish, I like to add a bit of acidity. In this recipe I have used Worcestershire sauce, but you can also use balsamic vinegar or homemade balsamic glaze. Don’t use too much.
- Seasoning at the end: Before serving the dish, taste to see if you need extra seasoning with salt, pepper or extra chillies if you like it hot.
- Let it rest: Have you noticed that a stew always tastes better the next day? Give the ingredients time to rest after cooking to increase the intensity of the flavour. So the earlier you make the chilli, the better it will taste.
What goes well with Chilli con carne
There are numerous side dishes to serve with chilli con carne. Here is a list with dishes to serve with chilli con carne.
- Bread: When you make the chilli a bit more juicy, it’s nice to eat it with a crunchy piece of bread. I love it with Turkish flatbread or ciabatta.
- Rice: White rice is always a great idea for any stew, or why not a flavoured rice dish like this lemon rice or yellow rice.
- Nachos: This recipe of chilli con carne can be used as a topping for nachos with cheese.
- Try the chilli con carne with these side dishes: Tomato and onion salsa, mango salsa, BBQ grilled potatoes or sauteed green beans.
Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear how it turned out! Leave a comment with rating below and share a picture with the hashtag #thetastychilli and tag me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
Chilli con carne
- 1 pound (or 500 grams) beef mince / ground beef
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 can (14 ounces or 400 grams) kidney beans
- 1 can (14 ounces or 400 grams) diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup zucchini diced
- 1 cup red bell pepper diced
- 1 cup water
- 1 cube beef stock
- 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Seasoning and spices
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 chilli pepper sliced
- 1 dried bayleave
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoon seasalt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a medium sized skillet or cooking pot over medium heat. Add the ground beef in batches and brown well. Remove the mince from the pot and set aside for later.
- In the same pot, add the onion, bell pepper and zucchini and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally until they start to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the meat back into the pot with the vegetables together with all the spices and the tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring regularly to avoid burning.
- Add water, tomato cubes, stock cube and kidney beans
- Cover the pot with a lid and let it simmer on very low heat for 45 – 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Adjust seasoning and let it rest for 30 minutes to let the flavours and spices accummulate before serving.
- Spices: The list of spices is long. No need to add all the listed spices, use the ones you have at home or you really like.
- Chili: The dish is called chilli con carne, but it does not mean it has to be eaten hot and spicy. Adjust the level of spiciness to your liking by adding more or less chilli powder or flakes.
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