Spabbit’s Chilli Con Carne

This Chilli Con is a recipe which I have refined over the years, some of the ingredients have been swapped around due to availability over time – this is the latest iteration of the recipe. Whilst there are a few ingredients which aren’t found that often in every kitchen, most of them should be available either online or in your local deli. The measurements are all approximate, the recipe will get you in the target zone, but as with all good recipes it’s up to the chef to fine-tine to their own preferences. I hope you enjoy!

A couple of these ingredients are secret weapons, and the more you use ’em the better your recipes will be, and the more ‘wow factor’ you’re likely to get, they are: Mustard Powder which brings sweet heat, Chilli & Lime for a warm and piquant finish, and finally MSG which makes everything better. Seriously, ignore any bull about MSG you may have picked up from trash media over the years, MSG is awesome 🙂 The various types of PimentĂłn are epic as well, it’s great to add that smokey paprika to dishes – it’s rare for me to use it as a primary flavour, but mixed in with other things it does add ‘that something’!

Some people will add in things like cumin, coriander, 100% cocoa chocolate – it’s all up to your tastes. If you want it really thick, leave out the stock, and maybe add in a little cornstarch. If you’re reeling frisky, you could sub out the stock for a medium dry red wine! This is such a versatile dish with so many options, you could end up cooking something slightly different every time 🙂

  (Makes around 6 500ml portions / 3 litres)

  • 800g-1kg Minced Beef or Lamb (around 15-20% fat, no fat = nasty!)
  • 2-3 Large Onions (White or Red)
  • 3 Large Bell Peppers (Any colour)
  • 1.2 kg chopped tomatoes (3*400g tins are fine)
  • 400g Hydrated kidney beans (tinned is fine)
  • 200g Tomato puree (double concentrated)
  • 250-500ml Beef or Lamb stock as appropriate
  • Oil for frying (NOT Olive, maybe vegetable or ground-nut)
  • 3 tsp extra hot chilli Powder
  • 1-2 tsp chilli and lime seasoning
  • 1-3 heaped tsp dried Basil
  • 1-2 heaped tsp dried Oregano
  • 1-2 tsp Sweet Smoked PimentĂłn
  • 1 tsp Mustard Powder
  • 1 tsp MSG
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder (not granules)
  • 3 heaped tsp Minced Garlic or Garlic Paste
  • fair squirt of Heinz Tomato Ketchup
  • sprinkle of Garlic Flakes (fresh or dried)


  • Roughly chop the vegetables and fry on high heat for around 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the minced meat and continue until the meat is well browned, the longer you cook at this stage the smaller the lumps of meat will be, and the smoother dish as a whole. Don’t be one of those people who end up with a dish containing boiled lumps of barely browned minced meat – ick! I normally add some salt at this point.
  • Add in the minced garlic / garlic paste, ensure this is evenly distributed and cook for a few minutes more – it’s up to you if you want to add in the minced garlic / garlic paste before this point, however so long as it’s cooked and distributed evenly, you’ll not have a problem.
  • Add in the ketchup, make sure it’s at the bottom of the pan, and ensure it heats / cooks a bit before stirring in.
  • Add in the tomato puree and the remaining herbs and spices, mixing well and continuing to cook for a few minutes.
  • Add in the tomatoes and red kidney beans, stirring well. Add in the stock at this point, add in a little at a time, so you can hydrate the dish as you see fit.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and simmer the dish for around 30 minutes to 1 hour, sometimes you may need to add in more stock.
  • Serve as you see fit – it’s a very versatile item, can be served in a bowl with tortilla chips, with rice, with noodles, topped with cheese, on hotdogs, with some garlic bread, even as a pizza topping… really any way you want!