Beef and Red Pepper Chilli

The red peppers add a natural sweetness to this spicy chilli.

Serves 4

This beef and red pepper chilli recipe reminds me of the chilli con carne I ate as a child. It’s an easy recipe, even if it does require a little bit of slow cooking. However, it can be served up for dinner in under an hour.

Beef and Red Pepper Chilli

Chilli is the shortened name for the popular Mexican and Texan dish, “chilli con carne”. The name translates from Spanish, as chilli with meat. The shortened name is also a catch-all phrase for anything resembling a chilli con carne, even if it doesn’t contain meat.  

In pre-war Texas, the dish was such a staple that family-ran chilli parlours were common. With each parlour claiming to have its own secret recipe.

Controversial Chilli Ingredients

The chilli I remember have always contained red kidney beans, so I was shocked to learn that some do not consider them authentic ingredients. Debates rage on about whether they belong there or not. One side claims that they’ve been a part of modern chillis for so long that they’ve become the norm. while the other side stands by their ancient beliefs in what the spicy stew known as chilli con carne can include. For me, Red Kidney beans are a must.


3 Tbsps. Sunflower Oil

500g Beef Mince

1 Large White Onion, Diced

2 Red Peppers, Diced

3 Garlic Cloves, Chopped

2 Bay Leaves

2 Tsp Ground Cumin

3 Sprigs of Fresh Thymes  

2 Tsp Oregano

1 Tsp Hot Chilli Powder

2 Tsp Paprika

½ Tsp Cayenne Pepper

2 Tbsp of Tomato Puree

400g Chopped Tomatoes

400ml Beef Stock

400g Cooked Red Kidney Beans, Drained and Rinsed

20g Fresh Coriander

Juice of 1 Lime

Salt/ Pepper to Taste

To Finish

Chopped Coriander

Chopped Avocado

Sour Cream


  1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Drain the beef of any excess juices as it will help with the browning process. Add the beef with some oil and cook until the meat browns. It may need to be done in batches as too much meat in the pan will result in the cooling of the pan, forcing the mince to release excess liquid, and will boil the meat, rather than fry it.
  2. Drain the beef and wipe out the pan. Heat the remainder of the oil and gently soften the onions and peppers with the thyme and bay leaves over medium heat. Once the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, add the garlic and spices, and cook for another minute before stirring in the tomato puree.
  3. Add the beef to the pan with the tinned tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30 to 60 to 90 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add a splash of water if it gets too dry.  Note: there’s no set cooking time, because the longer the chilli cooks, the better it will be.
  4. Add the Red Kidney beans and simmer for a further 10-12 minutes until the beans have heated through.  
  5. Finish with a squeeze of lime, and season to taste. Serve garnished with fresh coriander, avocado, and sour cream.

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