The Ultimate Chilli Con Carne

There would have been an infinite number of unwritten chilli con carne recipes, before the concept of ‘recipe-writing’ emerged. Now there are an infinite number of written chilli con carne recipes. It’s the sort of hand-down family dish, where everyone has their own ‘secret addition’. Many honour the Aztec roots of the dish by adding coffee or grated dark chocolate to chili con carne. Lots use baked beans instead of the more traditional red kidney beans.

It’ll come as little surprise to you all that the ‘secret weapon’ here in our Rooted Chilli Con Carne comes in the form of spices. We use Hot Smoked Paprika (for smoky-heat), Ancho Chilli Powder (for fruity-chilli notes), Ground Cumin (for earthiness) and also a dash of cinnamon (which is barely discernible, but adds an aromatic note which really lifts the whole dish).

The only other secret? ‘Time’ – chilli con carne isn’t a dish to be rushed. Ideally, make it the day before (it only improves second time round), or allow a few hours for the chilli con carne to cook slowly and for the beautifully spiced flavours to develop.


2tbsp + 2tbsp olive oil
800g-1kg beef mince
2 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp Hot Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1tsp Ancho Chilli Powder
½ tsp True Cinnamon
250ml/9fl oz red wine (optional)
2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 beef stock cube
Lea + Perrins (1tbsp)
1 x 400g tins red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Garnish: coriander leaves, sour cream, House Blend (to sprinkle)
To Serve: rice, guacamole, tortilla chips


Heat the oil in a heavy-based, (ideally ovenproof) pan. Get it as hot as your hob will allow and then cook the mince at a high heat for a couple of minutes – breaking up any lumps and encouraging it to brown. Transfer the cooked-mince to a bowl and set to one side.

Lower the heat, add the remaining oil to the same pan and cook the onions for 7-10 minutes, until they start turning translucent. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute or two – until fragrant. Now stir in the spices, return the beef mince to the pan and, (if using), pour over the red wine – bringing it to a rolling simmer for 2 minutes, to boil-off the alcohol.

Add the tinned tomatoes and use a knife to roughly cut them up in the pan, then stir in the tomato puree, beef stock cube and Lea + Perrins sauce. Bring everything to a simmer. Either cover with a lid and allow it to simmer gently on the hob for a further 1-1.5h, or put the lid on and transfer to an oven set to 160C.

10 minutes before serving, stir in the red kidney beans. Spoon the chilli con carne over six bowls of rice, and then top with a dollop of sour cream, fresh coriander and House Blend.

spices used

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