4 portions. Maximum cost: £10.20, 

Skill level: Medium, 

Total cooking time: 1.5 hours (ish), 

  • Prep time: 25 minutes, 
  • Cooking time: 50 minutes + 

Equipment used: 1 heavy bottomed casserole dish with lid, 

Original recipe: (Hairy Biker’s) Chilli con carne


You’d be correct in noting that 400g of mince for 4 people is not a substantial amount. Do not be concerned (!) this will happily feed 4 when you pack in a load of veg and serve with sweet potato wedges, tortilla chips, avocado and some fresh salad items.  If you’re feeling like a fat bastard though, feel free to increase the meat and bean content or add rice.

A big thank you to Instagram-er “Hugdecook” for the healthy inspiration here – I’d previously have served chilli solely with plain rice but the fresh sides add a nice contrast and mean that you can easily justify that extra hefty portion.


To prep:

  • Roughly dice 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 carrot and 1 green pepper
  • Roughly chop your mince to break up any big lumps.


To cook:

(Original recipe in bold font)

Place a large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat and soften 1 chopped onion. I add the 3 diced cloves of garlic earlier than the original recipe specifies to ensure it gets to see the base of the pan (it can get overcrowded in there). I also like to add in 1 diced carrot and 1 diced green pepper to create an almost, Mexican-esq sofrito.

To this, add 400g mince beef. Cook together for 5 minutes, stirring the beef and squishing it against the sides of the pan to break up the lumps. (If you fancy being extravagant, add some chopped chorizo cubes as well – warning, this does make the dish mega rich)

Add 1–2 teaspoons of chilli powder, depending on how hot you like your chilli, 2 tsp ground cumin and 2 tsp ground coriander. Fry together for 1–2 minutes more. Sprinkle over 2 tbsp flour and stir well.

Slowly add a small glass of red wine and then 300 ml stock, stirring constantly. Tip the can of tomatoes and can of kidney beans into the pan and stir in 3 tbsp of tomato purée, oregano and bay leaf. Season with a pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Bring to a simmer on the hob, then cover loosely with a lid. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mince is tender and the sauce is thick. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve.

Hairy Bikers Chilli Con CarneI’ll admit now that I left my chilli cooking for a lot longer than 45 minutes – nearly 2 hours in fact until almost all of the liquid had evaporated. This did leave a very crusty bottom on the pan (nothing a good soak won’t solve) and meant I lost some chilli however the final dish took on a really deep, intense, smoky flavour. I think to achieve this depth, you have to sacrifice some to the chilli gods. 


To serve: Slice the sweet potatoes into big wedge shapes – leave the skin on, just cut off any gnarly bits. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika or chopped rosemary and bake in a hot oven (200 C) for 10 minutes before reducing to a lower heat (150 C) and continue continue cooking for another 20 to 25 minutes. 



All prices from Sainsbury’s, Feb 2017, unless otherwise stated

For the chilli:

  • 1 carrot (10p)
  • 1 green pepper (50p)
  • 400g lean minced beef (10% or less fat) (£3 from Chadwick’s butchers)
  • 1 medium onions (17p)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (50p for a bulb)
  • 1–2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 150ml red wine or extra stock (£2.25 for a mini bottle)
  • 300ml beef stock (do not use a stock cube, invest in some proper liquid stock, any remaining can be kept in the freezer, £2.10 for a 450g tub)
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes (£1)
  • 400g can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (55p)
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • flaked sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


To serve:

  • 4 sweet potatoes (92p)
  • 2 tomatoes (40p)
  • a bag of watercress (£1)
  • 2 avocados (£1.90) 
  • 2 bagx of 40g Doritos (£1.50)
  • 1 pot of soured cream (60p for 150ml)


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