Thursday, 15 November 2012


Chilli is an excellent way to use up leftover ingredients.  A basic recipe can be adapted to include lots of surplus vegetables, and as a general rule the more tomatoes you can stick in it the richer your sauce will be.  Every time I make this, it comes out differently depending on what else I have in the fridge.  As an added bonus, beef mince is often sold in bargain multi-packs so if you're buying it to make something else you'll already have spare mince available to make your chilli later.   It is genuinely a something out of nothing dinner - and very tasty to boot.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon medium chilli powder
1 teaspoon oregano or mixed herbs
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped finely
500g lean beef mince
300ml beef stock (use 1 stock cube)
3 tablespoons tomato puree
tin of plum tomatoes, chopped (they have more flavour than tinned chopped tomatoes)
Freshly ground black pepper
tin of kidney beans (optional).  Don't add if you want to freeze the chilli though.  I often leave it out then add to the portions I'm serving up.  Add about 20-25 minutes from the end while the chilli is simmering.


200g pot of leftover salsa - this adds a fantastic richness to the chilli. Highly recommended!
250g cherry or pomodorino tomatoes (this is a great opportunity to use up your spare buy-one-get-one-free tomatoes from Tomato Prawn Curry).  Works well with the salsa too.
leftover peppers (any colour)
leftover carrots, diced finely
leftover mushrooms
leftover red chilli pepper, deseeded and chopped finely (avoid if you're not a fan of spicy food - this can give quite a kick)
Soured cream


1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan.  Add the onions and garlic (and chopped chilli if using).  Cook for 5 minutes until the onion begins to turn transparent.

2. Add the mince (and diced carrot if using) and cook until the meat is browned.  

3. Add the flour and stir gently.  Put in the tomato puree, stock, tinned tomatoes, chilli powder and oregano / mixed herbs.  This is also the time to add the salsa and punnet of tomatoes, if you have them.

4. Bring to the boil, stirring.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Add any leftover peppers and mushrooms.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes, then season with  salt and freshly ground black pepper.

6.  Serve with rice and a dollop of soured cream.  This chilli freezes well, so you can store it in portion sizes and defrost to use as a topping for baked potatoes or pasta too.  It's also great in tacos...

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