Chilli con carne


As we all know, travel isn’t always glamorous. I recently found myself in a hotel room attempting to heat a piece of supermarket lasagne in a coffee cup. As I finally curled up with my cup of lasagne, I surprised myself with the thought that there really is something quite lovely about eating out of a cup. I know you are wondering where I’m going with this and the answer is that a friend of mine always Serves chilli con carne at his parties in a cup, with a spoon, and it’s become quite a favourite tradition.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 large red chillies, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) minced (ground) beef
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) vegetable stock
  • 400 g (14 oz) tinned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 400 g (14 oz) red kidney beans
  • 1 red capsicum (pepper), about 300 g (10½ oz), diced
  • 150 g ( oz) light sour cream
  • coriander (cilantro) sprigs, to serve


Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, chilli, cumin, coriander, paprika and oregano. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and the spices are fragrant.

Add the beef and cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes, or until well browned. Add the stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, soy sauce and cinnamon stick. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened.

Remove the lid and stir in the kidney beans and capsicum. Cover and cook for a further 20 minutes. Spoon into bowls and top with the sour cream and coriander sprigs.