Chili con carne or meatless… whatever takes your fancy!

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Hello Ladies,

Like everyone, I have a few go-to recipes that are included regularly in my cooking rotation. These tend to be versatile, simple and composed of ingredients you can find just about anywhere. The chili recipe I want to share with you is the result of about 10 years of practice (and throwing together whatever happened to be in my cupboard…). View it as a base recipe you can build on to find your ‘perfect’ chili. I’ve made this recipe many different ways… beef, turkey, vegetarian, vegan… options, options, options!

Chili con carne or meatless - Culinary Correspondence Blog

The iteration pictured in the post is chili con carne I made on a rare day that I missed eating red meat. These days I generally make the chili meatless (often vegan) and it’s just as delicious.

Here’s how to throw together a heaping batch that should feed about 6-8 people. Make it ahead on Sunday and enjoy it during the week for dinner. Chili is always better the day after, especially if you are using meat.

  • One large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 500 gr ground beef or turkey (opt.)
  • 1 green pepper (+ 1 red pepper if you like your veggies)
  • 1 bouillon cube (beef, chicken or veg – your choice)
  • 1 large can of tomatoes (or 2 medium cans)
  • 1 small can tomato concentrate
  • 1 small container passata/tomato coulis (opt. if you like lots of sauce!)
  • 1 large can of red kidney beans (or 2 medium cans)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder (crank up the heat if you dare)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Rice (I prefer basmati, although long grain is more commonly paired with chili)
  • Sour cream or yoghurt (opt.)
  • Grated cheese (opt.)
  • Tabasco or hot sauce (opt.)

Peel the onion and garlic and chop them finely. In a large pot warm the olive oil a bit before tossing in the garlic. Give it a minute and then add the onion. Sauté the onions until soft.

While the onions are cooking, chop the peppers finely (no one likes huge chunks in their chili – plus it takes forever to cook). Add to the pot once the onions are done. Cook the peppers until they are quite soft.

Peppers sauteed for chill - Culinary Correspondence Blog

Add ground beef or turkey if using.

Pour a cup of water into the pot and crumble the bouillon cube. Mix well and let simmer gently for a few minutes (until meat is cooked, if using).

Add the canned tomatoes and the passata (if using). Tip: if you have whole canned tomatoes, use scissors to chop the tomatoes into bits IN THE CAN, then add to the pot.

Separately, combine the tomato concentrate, cumin and chill powder. Add the mixture to the pot.

Drain the kidney beans and rinse well. Toss them into the chili. Let simmer ever so gently, covered, for 30 min to an hour (or more if you have time). Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve chill on top of a portion of rice, accompanied by any desired toppings (sour cream, grated cheese, tabasco…).

Bon appétit!

Chili con or sin carne - Culinary Correspondence Blog Chili with or without meat - Culinary Correspondence Blog


UPDATE: Here’s a shot of a vegan version of the chili with black beans and red kidney beans. Delicious!

Served - 2 bean chili


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8 thoughts on “Chili con carne or meatless… whatever takes your fancy!

  1. Hanin September 7, 2014 at 4:18 pm Reply

    Bethie! This looks amazing!
    I know Thomas loves chili (con carne), I will definitely be trying this one out.
    Can’t wait to have you in Barcelona next week… Maybe we can cook something together for my next post! Lots of kisses

  2. Emily @ September 8, 2014 at 6:33 pm Reply

    Mmmmmmmm it’s lunch time here and now I want Chili!!!!!!!! I’m going meatless for a bit- Beth when you did your veggie only versions, did you add other veggies to compensate? If so- what were your most successful veggie additions? I was thinking some chopped mushrooms maybe?

    • Beth @ Culinary Correspondence September 9, 2014 at 7:23 am Reply

      Hey hun! Mushrooms sound like a great idea 🙂 I’ve added extra pepper (red and green) and I’ve also tried adding different beans (I used white beans + red kidney beans last time) which was good too. I know that people like to add corn in chili – it’s not my thing but you could give it a try. It’s really a question of taste… let me know how it goes! xoxo

  3. Jan September 9, 2014 at 10:32 am Reply

    Hi all. Sorry to be the last one to the party.
    Em for your veggie version, try adding courgette chopped a bit bigger than your peppers (which by the way, I love chunky.)
    When you kids were little I got to be a very lazy chili maker. I used one pot (a big one for a big batch, so I could freeze at least half) and sautéed the onions, garlic and meat.Then threw in the rest of the vegetables raw. Of course, since I was at home in those early days, I had lots of time to let it simmer. I also would replace some of the water with a can of beer which gives an extra boost to the flavour. Since we couldn’t get chili powder in France then I mixed cumin, oregano and coriander until I got a nice Tex-Mex tang.
    Other additions, I can recommend are jalapeños and fresh parsley and coriander.
    Chili season is just around the corner. Thanks Beth, for reminding me how much I love this stuff-never met a chili I didn’t like!

    • Beth @ Culinary Correspondence September 9, 2014 at 12:58 pm Reply

      Thanks for the ideas! The one-pot strategy is key – so much less washing up to do. I had never thought of putting beer – I’m sure the Man would be up for trying that variation!!

  4. Emily @ September 10, 2014 at 6:14 pm Reply

    Mom- you gave us beer when we were kids? No wonder we were so wonderful!

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