Chili con Carne

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‘Chili con carne’ is Spanish for ‘chili with meat’, although the origins of the recipe are hotly contested, with some believing it came from America.

10 mins
1 hr
Serves: 4
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1 chili, finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1kg (2 1/4pounds) minced beef
1 large glass of red wine
3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Whatever its history, it’s won itself a permanent place on Irish dinner tables and is the perfect dish for a winter’s evening, helping to warm you from the inside. We’ve used minced beef here, but you could use chunks of beef steak instead if you prefer. As well as being tasty this Chili Con Carne is good for you, too – the minced beef or beef steak is an excellent source of zinc, vitamin B12, iron, niacin, vitamin B6 and phosphorus, while kidney beans add fibre as well as protein to the dish. Kidney beans need to be thoroughly cooked, so make sure you test these before eating – they should be soft inside, not hard and white. The chilis we’ve listed here are red ones, but if you don’t like your food too spicy, use less fresh chili or use a little of the dried powder. Smoked paprika adds another dimension to this staple dish, but you can use ordinary paprika if that’s what you’ve got in your store cupboard. Once it’s ready, serving with some sour cream or yoghurt will dampen down the heat.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, paprika, coriander and cumin (and chili if liked) and cook for 1 minute until they become fragrant. Add the mince, breaking it up in your hands as it goes into the pan. Stir everything together, allowing the meat to brown slightly. Once nearly all of the meat has changed colour, add the red wine and bring to the boil before adding the tomatoes and sweet chili sauce. Cook for 45 minutes before adding the drained kidney beans. Cook for a further 15-20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened then season with salt and pepper. Serve with rice and a little yogurt if it’s a little hot.