Hot on the heels of my sod-the-purists carbonara comes my sod-the-purists chilli con carne. This was thrown together in less than half an hour this evening and there is plenty leftover for tomorrow and possibly the next day – which is fine by me, I’m a busy woman. Chilli con carne freezes really well too.

I made a quick dash to Asda this afternoon to grab some beef mince and I was pretty sure I had most things I needed for a chilli con carne at home, although I left my phone in the car so I couldn’t call my husband to check. No big deal, I thought as I merrily threw a few bits and pieces into the basket and forgot the butter…

It was a freezing night and the forecast is for a chilly week, so a warming, hearty beef chilli con carne is just the thing for it. This one eschews fresh coriander for the powdered stuff, I chucked in some rose harissa paste to boost the heat and flavour (and because I happened to have some in the fridge), and I found some chorizo, so I diced that up into little bits and threw it in at the start with the onion and garlic. And of course you can add lime – I just didn’t have any in the house so I didn’t bother.

Harissa paste – rose or otherwise – is not really a posh ingredient, especially in the countries where it is used in everyday cooking, such as Tunisia. It is now readily available in most supermarkets, as well as smaller grocery stores and off-licenses, it lasts ages and you don’t need to use loads to add a big flavour punch. What is not to like?

Another tip is to substitute the tin of kidney beans with a tin of refried beans – this is especially wise if you have a fussy eater in the house who baulks at the sight of kidney beans. As a bonus, while refried beans look rather dog-foody when you open the tin, they are a cheap, easy way to bulk out the chilli con carne – this means you’ll have more than the recipe below, which is great for feeding a lot of people or you want the leftovers to last.

Anyway, while I am in a sod-the-purists mood, here’s tonight’s chilli con carne – excuse the presentation in the photo!

Sod-the-purists chilli con carne


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

50g chorizo, finely chopped

250g beef mince

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tin red kidney beans (or use a tin of refried beans to add thickness and bulk, especially if you are on a budget or feeding a big family)

1 red pepper, diced

One heaped teaspoon harissa paste

Chilli powder to taste

2 teaspoons coriander powder

2 teaspoons cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Three tablespoons tomato paste

Rice and sour cream to serve



  1. Heat the olive oil in a pot and add the onions, garlic and chorizo. Cook until the onion softens.
  2. Add the mine and brown.
  3. Turn down the heat and add the tomatoes, kidney beans (or refried beans) and red pepper. Stir well and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add the chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Stir well and serve on rice with a dollop of sour cream on top.

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