Full of Salt & Fat NOT

The horsemeat scandal has highlighted the value of cooking your own food and avoiding processed food meals. Many people are busy and think that cooking is difficult and time consuming – it doesn’t have to be. You can cook a simple nutritious meal while totally avoiding a complicated cordon bleu recipe.

One of the best dishes to serve up is a TASTY Chilli. It is made from minced beef and it is relatively cheap – get your British meat from a butcher and you can be confident in what you are getting

What are the Origins of a Chilli?

Traditional Chilli con carne (from the Spanish for chilli with meat) – more commonly known as simply “chilli” – is a spicy stew made using chilli peppers, garlic, onions, tomatoes, cumin, and often beans, along with minced beef.

In history the first documented recipe dates from 1519 when Bernal Diaz del Castillo, one of Hernan Cortez’s captains, states, that the Cholulan Indians, allied with the Aztecs, were so confident of victory in a battle against the Conquistadors the following day that they had “already prepared cauldrons of tomatoes, & salt to make a chilli in anticipation of a victory feast.

The recipe used by American frontier settlers consisted of dried beef, suet, dried chilli peppers and salt, which were pounded together, formed into bricks and left to dry, which could then be boiled in pots on the trail!

In Chicago (located in the State of Illinois), people from San Antonio Texas in 1893 had a chilli stand in operation, which helped people from other parts of the country taste and appreciate chilli. San Antonio was also a significant tourist destination and helped Texas-style chilli con become spread throughout the South and West of America.Chilli con carne even became the official dish of the U.S. state of Texas in 1977!

Before World War II, hundreds of small, family-run chilli parlours (also known as “chilli joints”) could be found throughout Texas and other states, particularly those in which émigré Texans had made new homes. Each establishment usually had a claim to some kind of “secret recipe.”!


Easy-peasy Chilli con carne

[no need to complicate things or get exotic like Jamie Oliver!]

What you need to have in for 4 people:  a large onion/ lean minced beef (500g/1lb)/ can chopped tomatoes (400g)/ beef stock cubes (1 or 2)/ hot chilli  powder (2 or 3 teaspoons)/ can red kidney beans (410g)/ground pepper

a red pepper (optional)/tomato purée (2 tablespoon optional)/ a squirt of garlic paste (optional)

long grain rice or baking potatoes or chips & garlic bread (optional), to serve


  1. Kettle – heat  some water
  2. Can of kidney beans – open and strain in a sieve
  3. Can of tomatoes – open
  4. Onion – peel & chop or slice
  5. Red pepper (if using) – remove stalk & seeds and chop
  6. Large pot – add the onion/red  pepper/minced beef to the pot and turn up the heat to brown the meat, breaking it up and stirring to stop the meat sticking, also add a little hot water as necessary to stop it sticking, and cook for 5 minutes
  7. Stir in the chopped tomatoes into the pan, crumble in the stock cubes, add chilli powder, add the tomato puree, squirt in the garlic paste, shake in some pepper. Give it all a good stir.
  8.  Simmer with pan lid on for 20 minutes stirring now and again to stop it sticking. The sauce should be quite thick, but add extra hot water if you want the chilli to be runnier.
  9. Add the kidney beans, stir in, and heat through for 10 minutes.

It is now ready to serve with either plain boiled long grain rice or baked potatoes or chips and perhaps garlic bread.


You can make the chilli well in advance and keep it cool (and this actually improves the flavour), OR Freeze it, and simply reheat it when you are ready to eat. Enjoy.

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