Ultimate chilli con carne

Contains pork – recipe is for non-Muslims only
For a more authentic chilli with a depth of flavour, use diced belly pork, beef steak and pancetta and slowly simmer

  • Prep:1 hrs 15 mins
    Cook:2 hrs
    plus overnight chilling
  • Serves 6
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 555
  • fat 29g
  • saturates 9g
  • carbs 12g
  • sugars 4g
  • fibre 4g
  • protein 51g
  • salt 1.9g


  • 500g lean belly pork slices
  • 700g skirt steak or lean stewing beef
  • 75g diced pancetta or rashers rindless smoked streaky bacon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 3 tbsp Mexican chilli powder (see tip) or the milder dulce pimentón powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 300ml red wine
  • 450ml chicken or beef stock
  • 400g can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • rice or couscous, to serve
  • 300ml soured cream
  • 4 small firm ripe avocados
  • juice 2 limes, plus extra wedges to serve (optional)
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli dipping sauce
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander or chives


Authentic chilli powder

I like the Mexican chilli powders, usually made with ancho chillies, which give smokiness but not too much heat.You can find them online at souschef.co.uk.

Chilling overnight

The best tip for chilli-making is to start 24 hours in advance, allowing it to sit overnight so the flavours develop and mellow.


  1. The day before, cut all the meat into small chunks – this will take at least 30 mins. In a spacious, heavy-based pan, fry the pancetta in the oil over a medium heat until it is crisp and the fat has melted.

  2. Stir the onions and garlic into the crisping pancetta and cook, stirring often, for 10-15 mins until soft.

  3. Cut the lemon into quarters lengthways, then remove the pithy core and seeds. Chop into small pieces (each with a bit of peel). Remove the pan from the heat and scoop the contents into a sieve, letting any fat drain back into the pan – and give some encouragement with a wooden spoon.

  4. Return the pan to the heat and brown the pork in the hot fat, then stir in the beef and brown that too. Add the chilli powder and cumin, and cook over a low heat for 2 mins, stirring constantly. Add the flour and cook for a further 2 mins. Add the bay leaves, 1/2 tsp salt, the lemon, oregano, tomato purée, red wine and stock. Return the onions to the pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring often, then reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, and stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, for 2 hrs until the sauce is thick and the liquid has reduced. Add salt to taste. Cool, cover and chill overnight. Can be frozen at this stage for up to 1 month – defrost overnight in the fridge before continuing with the recipe.

  5. Add the beans to the chilli and reheat. Serve with rice or couscous, a dollop of soured cream, slices of avocado tossed in lime juice, a splash of chilli sauce, sprinkling of coriander, and lime wedges, if you like.

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