Recipe: Chili (for cheats)

There’s a pantheon of chili mythology as mysterious and contradictory as the Bible itself. To bean or not to bean, to grind or to chop, to dry or to…fresh?

My friend Ilana has this fine art down to a Southern-girl tee. But since her recipe remains closely guarded by generations of protective lore, here’s something else – based loosely on the one found in Allegra McEvedy’s Leon cookboook, but with the addition of smoky chipotles en adobo. All of the good – probably none of the Texan. Enjoy.

Bastardised chili


500g of stewing beef, cut into 2cm chunks

1 tsp cinnamon

3 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 tsp dried thyme

6 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons chipotles en adobo (replace with 1 fresh green chili if not)

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp coriander seeds

2 carrots, finely chopped

3 medium onions, finely chopped

1 green chili, chopped

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tin kidney beans

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 beef stock cube

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Fresh coriander


1. Coat the beef in the cumin, ground coriander, thyme, cinnamon, 1/2 the garlic and 1/2 the chipotles. Let the flavours sink in in the fridge for a couple of hours.

2. In a heavy-bottomed pan, fry the remaining cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant.

3. Add the beef to the pan and brown

4. Tip in the chopped onions, remaining garlic, chili and carrots and continue to fry until the onions are translucent

5. Add the tinned tomatoes and remaining chipotles and simmer for ten minutes

6. Add the beans, stock cube and water to cover, cook for one hour with the lid on and then another with the lid off

7. Finish with chopped coriander and lime juice

8. Serve with rice (or whatever) and some fresh salsa.



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