Chilli Con Carne

chilli con carne
Chilli con carne made with beef strips and dried beans

Chilli con carne is a no-fuss weekday go-to, a plentiful, tasty, healthy meal at a reasonable price. There are many variations on this, from using top grade rump steak to minced beef and everything in between. I use cheaper tenderised steak and dried beans and the result is great. Dried beans are a doddle, as long as you plan ahead.

Ingredients – enough to fill 15 largish tortillas

700g *tenderised steak
250g dried beans – I used red sugar beans
Large onion, diced
Large green pepper, diced
2 x 400g cans of whole tomatoes
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced or crushed
1 to 2 fresh chillis, deseeded and chopped
10ml cumin
10ml dried oreganum
Smoked paprika
Cayenne pepper
* I use tenderised steak because I prefer the chunky texture compared to mince. I just carefully remove any silver skin or other chewy bits. You can use normal steak or any other cut as long as it will give you sinew-free chunks of meat.


Pour a single layer of beans at a time on a white plate to check for grit and discoloured ones. Soak in a pot of water overnight or at least six hours. Discard the soaking water, add boiling water to about 3cm above the beans and simmer for 40 minutes. Note: do not add salt or anything else at this stage.
After 40 minutes, pick out one bean with a fork gently press between thumb and forefinger. It must be soft, but not mushy. If still hard, give it another ten minutes and check again. Repeat until done. Keep in mind they will cook some more with the meat and veggies.

Cooking dried beans
Cook the beans until soft, but still keeping their shape.

Brown the meat in batches in a little oil on high heat. The meat must sizzle, not boil in its own juices. Set aside the browned meat, lower the temperature and add the onion, pepper, garlic and chilli and cook until softened. Add the herbs and spices and incorporate. Add the tomato and the meat, as well as a little bit of wine, water or stock if too dry. Simmer for 30 – 45 minutes and it’s done.

Serve on a flour tortilla with grated cheese and/or sour cream and/or roughly chopped coriander. Unless you are an expert at rolling a tortilla, this chilli can become a bit messy to eat.

Chilli con carne with homemade tortilla
Do not overfill the tortilla, or it will be messy.

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