My Ultimate Chilli

There are a million recipes for chilli con carne – this is mine. Packed with vegetables, beans, and moderate quantity of delicious meat, this meal is one of the best things you could eat, nutritionally. It also freezes beautifully; I have a stack of bags of this chilli waiting in the freezer at all times.

Fair warning: this makes a lot, but it’s completely worth doing. Nothing beats the peace of mind that comes from having a stash of chilli ready to save the day on busy and exhausting days. Dig out the largest pot you have (or borrow one for the day) and get cooking.

Serve on its own in a big bowl, on nacho chips, with rice or cornbread, or my personal favourite: a baked potato. Top with plain, thick Greek yogurt, fresh coriander and a sprinkling of fresh chilli, then crack open a cold beer and dive in.

Feeds 8 – 12

Ingredients

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 large red onions, peeled

4 sticks celery

4 carrots, peeled

6 cloves garlic

Stalks from a small bunch of coriander

1 fresh red chilli

500g ground beef

500g ground pork

2 tbsp mild chilli powder

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground coriander

56oz (1600g) tinned tomatoes

2 tins kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tin sweetcorn, drained

2 tins baked beans (whichever brand you like)

4 bell peppers, core removed and chopped

3 medium courgettes, chopped

200g mushrooms, cleaned and diced

Method:

In a food processor or by hand, chop the onion, celery and carrot to a small dice. In a large pot, heat a hug of olive oil over medium heat, then add the chopped vegetables with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for about ten minutes or until soft.

Meanwhile, finely chop the fresh chilli, garlic and coriander stalks. (A quick blitz in the food processor will do the trick.) Add to the pot and cook for another minute or so. Add the meat with a big pinch of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until no longer pink.

Add the spices, then give everything a good stir and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes. Now add the tins of tomatoes, beans and corn, and chopped peppers, mushrooms and courgettes. Top up with about 250ml of water. Stir well.

Bring to a bubble, then turn the heat down and let simmer for 2 – 3 hours (the longer the better), uncovered, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and adjust – you may have to add quite a bit more salt – then serve with your chosen carb and toppings.

Make ahead: Cool completely then ladle portions into freezer bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost, then reheat until piping hot.

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