Beef chilli

Posted on in recipes with tags chilli.

This recipe was the subject of several years’ refinement. Serves 4-6. Enjoy!


  • Mince - 500g
  • Onion - chopped
  • Ground cumin - 2tsp+1tsp
  • Salt - I use coarse rock salt, 2tsp
  • Black pepper (pref. freshly ground) (see note below re amount)
  • Mustard powder (ditto)
  • Chilli - I use EPC's Very Lazy (ditto)
  • Cayenne pepper - 1tsp
  • Oregano - 2tsp
  • Beef stock - I use the Oxo-branded liquid stock, 2tsp
  • Garlic - 3 cloves, crushed, or 3tsp of EPC Very Lazy
  • 1 pepper (the vegetable - Bell or Ramiro work very well) - chopped
  • Kidney beans - 1 tin approx 400g - drained and rinsed
  • Tomato purée (optional - see note below)
  • Chopped tomatos - 1 tin approx 400g - or equivalent amount of fresh tomato (ditto)


  1. Brown off the mince in a little oil. Really brown it off, not just pseudo-boiled to grey, so it's going crispy and brown on the outside - so turn up your stove a little but take care to not burn.
  2. Add onion and 2tsp cumin
  3. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes
  4. Add everything else, and some water - I use an empty tin to measure, which comes in at 400-450ml
  5. Simmer for 25-30 mins. It will reduce; mind it doesn't get too dry, add more water if necessary.
  6. Serve with your choice of rice, nachos and grated cheese on top.

Spice level calibration

For a basic just-warm chilli, I started with the following quantities:

  • Black pepper - ½ tsp
  • Mustard powder - ½ tsp
  • VL Chilli - 1tsp

Spice lovers will find this a bit tame; I tend to use double these quantities when cooking for myself or for friends known to enjoy a little spice. If I wanted a really hot one I’d experiment with a trebling or quadrupling of the base amount. (Calibration note: I enjoy a little spice, but not super-hot; a Madras or Jalfrezi tends to be my upper limit at Indian restaurants here in Cambridge.)

I must stress that these quantities are only known good with EPC’s Very Lazy Chilli, which consist of dried chillies, well chopped (seeds included), in vinegar. I have no data on alternatives - you’re on your own!

Citric acid free chilli

Mad? Not at all. I was cooking for a citric acid intolerant friend, so just left out the tomatoes and added a bit more water to compensate. It worked really well.