Chilli con carne

I start to crave this recipe if I haven’t had it in a while.  It’s one of the cheapest and easiest in the Retro Kitchen but such a crowd pleaser.  People will think you can actually cook!  Kids gobble it down – although you may want to use less chilli when serving the little darlings.

Old Dad took the photos once again – the poor fellow was in a rush to catch a plane.  So he made me recycle a few of the photos from the spag bol recipe (admittedly there are some common steps).   Let’s hope he’s back safe and well for our next recipe – apricot chicken!

Anyhoo, to the task at hand.  We’ll start with the lifeblood of the Retro Kitchen:

Pour wine 1

And on to the ingredients:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil – as in the spag bol recipe, there’s no price.  Once again, I pinched it from old Mum

2-3 large cloves of garlic – $1.18 per bunch:


1 large brown onion – $1.59 each:


500 g extra lean beef mince – $8.00 per pack:


1.5 green capsicum – around $4 for 2:


140g tub tomato paste – $2.20 for 2 tubs:

Tomato paste

400 g tin red kidney beans – $1.96 per tin:

Red Kidney beans

420 g tin corn kernels – $1.95 per tin:

Corn kernels

0.5 tspn oregano – $2.30 per jar:


0.5 tspn chilli powder – $3.19 per jar:

Chilli Powder

4 bay leaves – $1.50 per packet:

Bay leaves

You’ll also need rice.  For some reason I forgot to get a photo of this – Old Dad was halfway to the airport by the time I remembered.  You’ll have to use your imagination for a while!

Now let’s get cooking!

Step 1 – crush garlic thoroughly:

Garlic crushed

Step 2 – chop onion finely:

Onion chopped

Step 3 – chop capsicum.  Again, I forgot to get a photo of this.  There’s a bit to the task as you want to avoid certain parts of the capsicum (eg the middle part with all the seeds for example).  I’ll have to get back to you when Old Dad comes home!

Step 4 – pour 3 tbsp oil in deep frying pan and put on medium-high heat.  You may recall from the spag bol my admonition that you’ll regret using any more:

Pouring oil

Step 5 – place garlic in oil:

Adding garlic

Step 6 – spread garlic out and cook until light brown (watch out – it happens quickly!):

Browning garlic

Step 7 – place onion in oil:

Adding onion

Step 8 – spread onion out and stir until it becomes soft and golden – perhaps a little more so than the photo below:

Browning onion

Step 9 – add mince:


Step 10 – the following is verbatim from the spag bol recipe – I just couldn’t seem to improve the words.

Once the mince is flat in the pan, start breaking it down into smaller pieces using your wooden spoon.  You want to avoid large lumps.  That said, you don’t want to pound it so fine that the meat won’t hold the flavours to come:


Step 11 – cook mince until brown:

Mince brown

Step 12: add capsicum and cook for a few minutes until it softens:

Add capsicum

Clever dicks will notice that this is a fresh shot not recycled from the spag bol post.

There are two main changes (apart from my clothes):

  • I’ve had my watch repaired (I got it for my 16th birthday – it’s ageing better than I am); and
  • I’ve gained weight – it’s from all this cooking.   The recipes aren’t fattening but cooking each three times for this blog may well be!

Step 13 – reduce heat.  Add tomato paste and stir:

Add tomato paste 2

Step 14 – add 2 cups of water and stir – again I missed a shot of this so I hope you can visualise it for yourselves.

Step 15 – add pepper and stir:

Add pepper

Step 16 – add salt and stir:

Add salt

Step 17 – rinse corn kernels with a strainer and add to pan:

Add corn

This shot is at a funny angle.  Maybe Old Dad got to the Yalumba when my back was turned.

Step 18 – rinse red kidney beans with a strainer and add to pan:

Add kidney beans

Isn’t it starting to look yummy!

Step 19 – add 0.5 tspn oregano and stir.  You may want to add a little more water if it’s starting to look too dry:

Add oregano

Step 20 – add 0.5 tspn chilli powder and stir:

Add chilli powder

Step 21 – add bay leaves, stir and simmer for a few minutes:

Add bay leaves

Step 22 – grub’s up, kids!

Ready to eat

Step 23 – return to a true bundle of joy:

Pour wine 3




6 thoughts on “Chilli con carne”

  1. The Offspring would have complained if I’d served this without corn bread. I have an authentic (dead easy) 1970s recipe for same, reply in comments if you are feeling adventurous.


      1. Here you are:
        Sift one cup SR flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp. baking powder & 3/4 tsp salt together and then stir in 1 cup of yellow cornmeal (i.e. polenta). Add 2 lightly beaten eggs, 1 cup of milk, and 60g creamed butter. Beat with a mixer for about one minute until smooth. Pour into a greased shallow baking tin or a ring shaped cake tin and bake at 200 degrees C for about 30 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm to scoop up the juices from your Chilli Con Carne.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lisa

      Old Mum and I are having a crack at this on Thursday night! Mum had totally forgotten until your kind reminder that it was customary in the England of the late 1960s to have chilli con castle with corn bread! I will be in touch!


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