Chilli Con Carne

by georgegsp

The original chile con carne consisted of dried beef, suet, dried chilli peppers and salt, which were pounded together, formed into bricks and left to dry, to be boiled in pots while on the trail. Now the official dish of Texas, chilli is the subject of competitions, where contention is rife over the inclusion of beans, which are forbidden by most authorities on the subject. I include them, as I feel they add texture, but accept that to some this recipe is now null and void.

Chilli Con Carne

Serves: 4-6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:


4 tablespoons beef dripping
4 onions (finely chopped)
2 red peppers (finely chopped)
5 dried habanero chillies (stalks removed, deseeded and crushed)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoons dried oregano
800 g minced chuck steak
200 g fresh beef suet
2*400 g cans of plum tomatoes
250 ml Basic Beef Broth
50 g dark chocolate (90% cocoa solids, grated)
50 ml good wine vinegar
400 g can of beans

For the cornbread
300 g polenta
300 g plain flour
100 g light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
20 g Maldon sea salt flakes
200 g free-range eggs (about 4 large)
480 ml unsalted butter (melted)
beef dripping (for frying)

To serve
4 small ripe avocados (mashed)
400 ml soured cream
400 g Cheddar cheese (grated)
4 spring onions (chopped)
2 limes (cut into wedges)
4 large, mild fresh red chillies (finely sliced)
1/2 bunch of coriander (leaves ripped)


  1. Preheat the oven to 150oC.
  2. Heat the dripping in a very large lidded casserole and fry the onions, red peppers, chillies and garlic until they begin to soften. Add the spices and oregano and stir well, then add the minced beef and keep turning it to separate it as the meat browns.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, then cover and put into the oven to simmer gently for 2 hours, stirring from time to time.
  4. If you have a double oven you can start the cornbread. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and the whole eggs, milk and butter in another. Combine the 2 mixtures.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180oC. Heat a cast-iron skillet or oven-proof frying pan over a shallow depth - 2mm - and add the cornbread mixture. Let it sizzle and start to cook on the sides, then toss into the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cornbread.
  6. Reheat the chilli if necessary and serve the chilli with mashed ripe avocados, soured cream, grated Cheddar, finely chopped spring onions, lime wedges, chopped fresh chillies, plenty of fresh coriander and the cornbread on the side.
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