Easy Chilli Con Carne

Chilli con Carne and Rice (8804)

Whenever I meet up with friends, one of the first questions they ask me is “what are you cooking today?” Such a great question. Seriously. It’s a simple one really, but there’s always a reasoning behind it which I totally get. Because when you’re the one in charge of feeding the people living in your household, thinking about what to cook every single day, or more tediously, day in, day out, it starts to feel as too much of a chore. I applaud every one of you though. I know where you’re coming from and I understand.

Now I get the easier side of that bargain. There are only two of us in this house, so I don’t get to hear many complaints. J eats what I choose to cook. I rarely cook something which isn’t liked, except those days when I don’t really taste while I season and that ends up being somewhat bland most of the time. I’m human so I get angry and take it personally. After a time-consuming cooking session, that came right after doing a million-and-one chores and errands, during which time I could have spent baking, thank you very much I have now completely lost my appetite,  and the complaint is the last thing I want to hear.

Chilli Dogs (8802)

So yes, I admit to not liking complicated meal prep, any day of the week, including weekends. I almost found myself writing the phrase ‘especially on week days’ but that wasn’t the complete truth! Being a baker at heart, cooking daily meals can get to me. The mere browsing for ideas gives me the heebie-jeebies. To the point of letting out a little scream once in a while. Is anyone with me on that one?

As far as one of J’s favourite meals, I would almost say, this is the real deal. Chilli con carne is supposed to be spicy and the version I give you here is just that. My favourite part about it though is that I finally found a so-easy-can-do-it-with-my-eyes-closed recipe. Something which can be thrown into the pan with staple pantry ingredients. Instead of the za’atar**, you could use dried thyme or dried oregano, as the original recipe suggests. I’m in love with za’atar though and I still have some left from the copious amounts my brother-in-law brought over for me from his travels.

So here you go. No thinking, no fuss, no headaches, no nothing. At least for today. Give me a shout if you make it and good luck! This is my kind of food.

For the chilli:

  • Regular olive oil, for frying
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes or chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cumin
  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tinned kidney beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed under cold water*
  • 1 level tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried za’atar**
  • pinch of salt
  • freshly ground pepper

To serve with rice:

  • 2 cups basmati rice, cooked by absorption
  • Grated cheese

To serve as hot dogs:

  • 8 Frankfurters, or any other kind of sausages of your choice
  • Grated cheese

Place a large heavy-based saucepan on medium to low heat. Pour a tablespoon or so of regular olive oil into the pan and when it’s sufficiently hot tip in the chopped onions. Let them sweat for around 5 minutes or until they turn translucent. Add the garlic, chilli and cumin, and give everything a good stir.

Add the minced beef, and break it up in the pan. If needed add another dash of olive oil and mix the meat well with the spices. When it starts to get lightly browned, add the Worchestershire sauce, chopped tinned tomatoes, washed kidney beans*, light brown sugar, za’atar, salt and pepper.

Bring everything to a simmer, cover and let the mixture cook on low heat for around 20 minutes, while giving it a stir every few minutes.

Serve with rice and any leftovers over hot dogs.


(Recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course, Hodder & Stoughton, 2012.)

Other recipes you can find on C&T:

One year ago: Peach Melba Muffins with White Chocolate Chunks

Two years ago: Rhubarb Triangles

Three years ago: Anything You Want to Add to Cake

Four years ago: Rosemary Cake


6 thoughts on “Easy Chilli Con Carne”

  1. Sounds great Roberta! I’ve never used za’atar. I take it personally when Owen doesn’t like something I make too. (I’m used to it from the kids, especially if it doesn’t look like something they recognize.) But chili dogs, that they would enjoy!

    1. Thanks Sadie! J likes spicy food so sometimes it’s hit and miss. I love spicy food but not the kind that makes you want to drown half a gallon of milk after! When we lived in Michigan, he made a chilli so hot that you couldn’t eat without sour cream. I couldn’t take it!

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