The Ultimate Chilli (incl. Vegetarian + Vegan Alternatives)

I love me some Mexican food and I wanted to share my go to chilli recipe, great on nachos, tacos, burritos…you get the idea. There’s nothing groundbreaking about this recipe, in fact it’s pretty darn basic, but that’s why I love it. The success of this chilli isn’t about a long list of ingredients or snazzy techniques, it’s having the patience to cook the few ingredients slowly to bring out their best flavours. It’s actually my husband’s recipe and I’m generally not allowed to get involved, so I’ve also included my own vegan chilli recipe in case beef isn’t your jam.

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I’ve served the vegan bean chilli here on nachos and it’s just as delicious as it’s meaty counterpart - and I don’t say that lightly, like when someone eats a sweet potato brownie and says it’s better than a normal brownie…it’s not Susan, you’re lying, or you’ve never eaten a proper chocolate brownie - this chilli is legit, really tasty!

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Chilli Con Carne

Ingredients;

2 x 400g tins mixed beans (i.e. pinto, black eyed, chick peas, haricot, lima, borlotti, cannellini) 2 tbsp Olive oil 500g Ribeye steak (or any other beef cut) 2 White onions, finely chopped 2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 Red chillis, finely chopped 3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes Salt + Pepper

Serves 6

Method;

  1. Preheat oven to 140ºC. Drain the beans and tip into a bowl of cold water then leave to one side whilst you prepare the chilli.

  2. Heat the oil in a large, cast iron casserole dish (or something heavy based and lidded) over a low heat. Add the garlic to the pan and cook gently, being careful not to let it burn. After a couple of minutes the garlic should have taken on some colour, you can now add the onion and chilli - if you don’t like things too hot, omit the seeds at this stage and add a pinch of dried chilli flakes instead for a milder heat. Stir everything together and leave to cook over a low heat whilst you prepare the meat.

  3. Place the steak onto a chopping board and chop into rough pieces then add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Continue chopping into fine chunks.

  4. The onions, garlic and chilli should now be soft and golden. With a wooden spoon, push the vegetables to one side of the pan and turn the heat up to high. Once hot, add the beef to the clear space in the pan and leave to brown. Be careful not to move the meat too soon, it’ll stick and tear, the meat will release itself after a minute or so. Once you have a good amount of colour on all of the meat turn the heat down low. Drain the beans and add to the pan then stir everything together. Throw in the tinned tomatoes and bring to a simmer, pop the lid on and cook in the preheated oven for 4 hours (2 hours minimum).

  5. Halfway through cooking, take it out of the oven and give it a good stir through and if you feel it’s looking a bit dry, add a little water. Once cooked, taste for seasoning and add salt as needed.

Note; If you are preparing the chilli ahead of time, allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. It will keep for 5 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.

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mixed bean chilli (Vegan)

Ingredients;

2 x 400g tins mixed beans (i.e. pinto, black eyed, chick peas, haricot, lima, borlotti, cannellini) 2 tbsp Olive oil 2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 Red onions, finely chopped 1 Red chilli, finely chopped 1 tbsp Cajun spice 200g Cherry tomatoes (mixed colours if you can get them), quartered 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes 1 tbsp Tomato puree 1 tsp Soft brown sugar Salt, to taste 125g Fresh spinach

Serves 4

Method;

  1. Drain the beans and tip into a bowl of cold water then leave to one side whilst you prepare the chilli.

  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pan over a low heat. Add the garlic to the pan and cook gently for a couple of minutes, being careful not to let it burn. Once the garlic has taken on some colour, add the onion, chilli and cajun spice, give everything a good stir then leave to cook over a low heat until the onions are soft and golden, about 5 minutes or so.

  3. Drain the beans and add to the pan, along with the fresh tomatoes. Stir then leave to cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes have softened. Now add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar and a generous pinch of salt. Stir then cover with a lid and simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes. Check on it half way through and add a drop of water if it’s looking a bit dry.

  4. Stir the spinach into the chilli and cook for a few more minutes until the spinach has wilted. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste.

Tip;

This chilli freezes well but if you wish to do so I would recommend omitting the spinach when you first cook it and adding it in when you reheat the chilli for serving.

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