Chilli con carne


Another grainy photo, this time, however, graininess is not a theme of the post.  I can’t wait to get my hands on my camera.  I swear I will never forget it again.

Chilli con carne is something I used to make quite a bit but haven’t done for ages.  The recipe I use is from the Australian Women’s Weekly and, of course, I don’t have it with me.  Such are the woes of living between two houses.  There are Australian Women’s Weekly recipes on-line but it is such a long time since I made it, I didn’t know which, if any, of those I was reading was the actual recipe I used to make.  In the end, I went with the recipe – on the basis they are, usually, reliable.  And it was very enjoyable.

I know there are plenty of chilli con carne recipes on-line and I make no claims that this is an authentic recipe.  The main reason for this post is: as I was making it, I thought, “What a simple, healthy, family meal this is.”  It is a one-pot meal and, when served with a green salad, would be a cheap, well-balanced meal for six.  Keep the chillies mild and the chilli powder to a minimum and kids would love it.  I decided to write this post just to remind everyone to make it every now and again.

The other reason for the post is:  that great Catalyst show, “Gut Reaction“, is being repeated this week and next.  It is really worth watching.  Part one will be on iview and Part 2 will be showing next week.  It really impressed me the first time I saw it.   It sent me off on a flurry to increase the fibre in our diet.  Check out this post which is a short summary of the shows.  In essence, we don’t eat enough fibre and, therefore, don’t have a great variety of good bugs in our gut. This results in we Western folk being susceptible to a wide range of diseases.  Legumes are a great source of fibre, so be generous with the red kidney beans.


  • 3 rashers of bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1kg good quality beef mince
  • 2 medium brown onions, chopped
  • 2 medium red capsicums, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, chopped
  • chilli powder – use as much as you like.  The recipe said 2 x 20 mil tablespoons which is a lot if you are feeding kids.  I used 1 teaspoon of hot smoked paprika and one teaspoon of chilli powder and it wasn’t very hot.  I drizzled some tabasco sauce into the pot near the end and drizzled some more over my dinner.  I will know next time to up the chilli powder.
  • 800g can chopped tomatoes.  I used 2 x 500 mil jars of crushed tomatoes.
  • red kidney beans – the original recipe said one 400g can of red kidney beans but I don’t think that is anywhere near enough.  I used 250g dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight and then cooked until soft.  This resulted in four cups of cooked beans.  If you use tinned beans, use at least two tins.


  1. Heat a small amount of oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the bacon and cook until brown.
  2. Reduce the heat.  Add the onions and cook, gently, until soft and transparent.
  3. Increase the heat.  Add the mince.  Cook, stirring to break it up, until the mince is well  browned.
  4. Add the chilli powder.  Cook, stirring, for one minute.
  5. Add  the capsicums, garlic and chilli.  Cook until the vegetables are soft.
  6. Add the tomatoes and one cup of cold water.  (I didn’t need to add any water because there was plenty of fluid in my tomatoes).  Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about one hour.
  7. Add the beans.  Cook, uncovered, for a few minutes to heat the beans through and reduce the sauce, if necessary.
  8. Serve with rice or corn chips.
  9. Top with sour cream, avocado, jalapeño chillies, etc.

28 thoughts on “Chilli con carne

  1. Needs cumin. USA(texas) chilli powder is mostly cumin with some chilli powder as aussies would understand it. My American husband loves chilli and makes it a lot. Usually when his tomatoes are overproducing. He has pressure canned chilli. Now though he mostly cans the tomatoes or freezes them and then makes chilli later.

    • Hi Janis, I have a pressure canner and have often thought about canning spag bol but have never done it. Chilli con carne would work equally well. Maybe I will get brave one day. Yes, you are right re cumin, it is a very old recipe.

  2. Pingback: Whatcha been doin’? | Passion Fruit Garden

  3. Hi Glenda, hope you and Maus are well, we love chilli con carne too and your recipe is just like mime, except the bacon. I make it fairly often and sometimes I add some smoked paprika too.

  4. Great recipe, Glenda. I prepare at least one batch every fall, once the temps cool a bit. I have to admit, though, the way you served your chili, atop rice, that caught my eye. Never thought to serve it that way but I can see the advantages. I have to keep this in mind. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. A gentle reminder about fibre. I like to think we consume enough legumes, pulses etc but I doubt it is really enough to counteract all of the processed food that still creeps into our diets. I will double my efforts (and farts!). xxx

  6. Chilli con carne is a great dish, versatile, feeezable and can be served with varied sides inc. on toast. Extra good when the weather is correspondingly chilly. Mince, I think is a wonder ingredient. Even travelling we keep a kilo in the tiny van freezer, plus various tins of beans, tomatoes etc in the “pantry”.

  7. I always have a stash of chilli con carne in the freezer And you’re right – I always use 2 tins of kidney beans too I don’t know why recipes only say to use 1. I never put bacon in – I must give that a go next time.

  8. Just trying to work out what to serve my daughter and S.I.L tomorrow night. Out all day so I might do this early and have ready. Such hearty fare in such miserable weather.

  9. Hi there Ms Passion,

    just thought I’d share with you that i put both ground cumin & ground (or finely chopped seeds) Fennel into my Chilli [secret herbs & spices – just like Colonel Sanders]
    NB. Also, what about some tomato paste…?

    Thanks so much for this reminder – I LOVE chilli & this is definitely the weather for it!

    I appreciate your lovely blog


    • Hi Kate, Cumin seems to be a common addition but I have never seen fennel seeds, nor tomato paste. I have just checked out a Mexican cookbook I have, and that recipe includes oregano. I guess anything goes with this one. It is a bit like spag bol.

      BTW Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • Hi Kate, I have just got back to Perth and checked out my 1973 recipe. It has tomato paste and oregano, but no tomatoes. Obviously there are a million versions.

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