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Chilli Con Carne

There is no wrong way to cook chilli con carne, because there is no single authentic recipe for it that exists in either Mexico or Texas. But when you get Texans asking for your recipe, you must be doing something right!

The name, origin and authenticity of chilli con carne have been debated since its creation. Meaning literally "chilli with meat", it's been asserted that everyone from the Texas Rangers to a Spanish nun and a Chinese chuckwagon cook invented the dish.

This recipe was a regular feature onboard "Shaka" back in the day, and was a great hit with visiting Americans who compared it favorably to anything they had tasted back home. High praise indeed!

Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin

  • 1.5 teaspoons chilli powder

  • 600 g beef mince

  • 400 g can crushed tomato

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 500 ml beef stock

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 300 g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

  • 125 g grated cheddar

  • 125 g sour cream

  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped

  • 200 g corn chips


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until starting to brown.

  2. Add the garlic, cumin, chilli powder and mince and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the mince has changed colour. Break up any lumps with the back of a wooden spoon.

  3. Add the tomato, tomato paste, herbs, beef stock and sugar and stir to combine.

  4. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or until the sauce is rich and thick.

  5. Stir in the beans and cook for 2 minutes to heat through.

  6. Divide the chilli among serving bowls, sprinkle with cheese and top with a tablespoon of sour cream. Garnish with coriander.

  7. Serve with corn chips or rice.


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