One of the many great things about cooking chilli con carne is that it isn’t a precise science, leaving you plenty of room to experiment. Some people add more chilli than I’m suggesting for more heat, while others add a couple of squares of dark chocolate for an extra-rich texture.
I’ve added chunks of smoked sausage before now, while my wife sometimes fries finely chopped bacon lardons until they are crispy before sprinkling them over the top along with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped coriander or chives.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/360°F
2. Gently fry the diced onions and minced garlic in a large frying pan until they are soft and translucent. Set to one side.
3. Brown the minced beef, breaking up any large chunks in the same pan, draining any excess fat off if necessary.
4. Add the cooked onions to the minced beef and stir. Now add the chilli flakes, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon. Fry for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly to avoid the spices catching and burning on the bottom of the pan.
5. Now add the rest of the ingredients and stir thoroughly.
6. Pop a lid on and place in the oven for an hour or so to let the flavours merge and mature. (It will also cook and keep in a low oven for hours if necessary.) If the gravy is a bit thin you can thicken it with a teaspoon of cornflour dissolved in some cold water or a tablespoon of beef gravy granules.
7. Serve in bowls with boiled white rice and crusty bread.
You can use water instead of beer and standard paprika might not give the smoky subtlety of the smoked stuff but it is easier to find and much cheaper!
Using up leftover chilli
Leftover chilli freezes well and make a great topping for burgers or hotdogs, adding a New York twist to a simple supper or lunch.
For a vegetarian chilli try Diana Henry's quick black bean chilli recipe