It’s chilly… So let’s eat CHILLI… yum!

18 Mar

chilli 2Recently it has been very cold outside, and to be honest it doesn’t seem like it is going to get any better soon.  I heard the weather forecaster this morning telling the world it was going to SNOW in the North of England.  So, I thought that I should give you all my chilli recipe, to stave off the winter chills.

I used to prepare this chilli and make a relatively normal amount, so I could freeze the left overs.  I soon realised that rather than making 6 portions I may as well make a HUGE batch and then freeze the rest.  Therefore, my chilli has become an epic chilli making day.  I literally set aside a day to prepare this and then I can portion it up and freeze it for easy meals when I come home from work.

I am going to give you the recipe for my EPIC CHILLI and if you feel that it is too much, you can reduce the portion sizes.  However, the cost will increase per portion if you do this.

Here we go chilli people… this long winter will not beat us if we have chilli in our tummies!


COOKING TIME: 45 minutes

MAKES: 20 portions

COST PER PORTION: approx. £0.67

I think this is really really good value for money (especially when you are purchasing fresh, lean beef mince).  I have used Sainsbury’s to buy my ingredients as it is most local to me, but do shop around try to buy your tins/cartons when they are on offer, as you can reduce the 67p even more.  Also, if you live near a market go there to buy your peppers, courgettes and onions as they will be significantly cheaper.


  • 1kg lean beef mince (I buy 2x 500g packets when they are on offer.  These will cost approx. £6.00)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 10p
  • 3 onions £1
  • 2 small courgettes £1
  • 2 large dark red peppers (I always feel like these have more vitamins and minerals as they are so deep in colour) £1.60
  • 2x 400g tins of kidney beans (In water, not chilli sauce, unless you really want that one!) £1.40
  • 3x packets of tomato passata (Don’t buy the ones in the glass jars they are a lot more expensive) £1.60
  • 300ml water
  • 4 tsp chilli powder 10p
  • 3 tsp black pepper 10p
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce 5p
  • 1 tsp salt (I do apologise, but it does need it…) 1p

You are also going to need some freezer bags… shop around for this, get the smallest ones you can.  I estimate these will cost 2p each so add this to the cost of the recipe to.


Lets do this in stages to make it more manageable…

1. Prep your area:

I warn you, your kitchen is going to erupt into kitchen mayhem.  So be prepared!  Lets start by getting out our pans.  I have 3 pans – we have a pan set, so I use these.  If you have 2 large pans this would be best.  Ensure you choose pans that have lids, we will need these! Get out your chopping board and a sharp knife.  Then get a bowl – this is going to be for all the rubbish from the onions (the skin and the root), the tops and tails of the courgette, the pith and seeds from the red pepper.

2. Prep and cook your vegetables:

We are going to prepare the onions first, so chop the top off, chop them in half and then peel them.  Leave the root intact, this will stop your eyes stinging anywhere near as much.  Now dice the onion so that it is quite fine.  If you like chunky vegetables then feel free to leave the onion quite large, I like everything small.  Do as you please!

Place the oil into one of the pans and heat until it is warm, not spitting.  Place the onions in and leave to cook until golden.  You will need to stir them every now and again.  Whatever you do, do not let them burn. (This should take 10 mins).

Whilst the onions are cooking wash your courgettes and red peppers.  Dice these finely (about the same size as the onions, however you did those) and then place to one side.  Chopping a red pepper is really easy – when you know how.  Place it down on your board with the stalk facing upwards.  Then chop down the edges of the pepper, so you end up with all the pith and the seeds attached to the stalk.  You can then chop off the rest of the base and the rest of the red pepper from the top… taaaa daaa!  Then you can chop the red pepper nice and finely… do this flesh side up, shiny side down – much easier.  The knife will glide.

Add the courgette and red pepper to the cooked onions.  We want to cook these until they just start to loose their colour and become soft.  This should take about 7 minutes.  Ensure the pan is on a medium heat.

At this stage I would add the salt, pepper and chilli and then leave to cook out for another 2 – 3 minutes.

3. Brown the beef mince…

In the second pan place the lean beef mince, turn on the heat and cook.  You want to keep ‘chopping’ this with the spoon you are using to stir, so that it all breaks up into little pieces.  Cook this until it is golden.  If you can do this at the same time as the onions, peppers and courgettes then great.  If not that is fine, but ensure you turn the heat off on the onion etc. whilst the beef cooks.  Browning the beef mince will take 10 – 15 minutes.

4. Share between the pans…

This is where the cooker starts to get messy!  Well mine does!  I now have veg in one pan, beef in the other – so either get a large bowl, throw everything in and then split between the 2 pans, so that they both contain the same, or add everything to one pan and split.  Its up to you, but now you need to ensure that both the pans are equal in veg:meat.

5. It’s time to get saucy!

The main ingredients for our chilli are now done.  Well done!  Now we need to make the sauce.  Add 1 and a half cartons of passata to each pan.  Add 1/2 the water to each pan too.  Now measure and add 2 tsp of chilli to each pan (you can always add more later if it is not ‘hot’ enough – but you cannot take it away, so be careful!).  Drain the tins of kidney beans, so there is no liquid and give them a good wash.  I find the best way to do this is to put everything into a sieve and then run water over the beans.  Add half to one pan and half to the other.  Shake approx. 1/2 a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce to each pan of chilli annd then give them a good stir to combine all the ingredients.

It is now time to leave the chilli to cook.  So add the pan lids, bring the contents to the boil and then reduce the heat so that the chilli is just bubbling (simmering).  We are going to let this cook for half an hour.  Set an alarm for 10 mins and then stir the chilli, set for 10 mins and stir the chilli etc.  This will stop the chilli sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.


Here is my chilli cooking away… I split everything between 3 pans, which makes the maths complicated!
NB. My kitchen doesn’t seem to messy for ‘chilli day’.

You know the chilli is ready when it has changed colour and become a deep red/purple – as per the pictures.  The liquid should have evaporated off and the chilli should have reduced a little.  If it does not look like this, remove the lids, and leave for another 10 – 15 minutes.

I then allow all my chilli to cool down – with the lids on.  This takes a few hours.  Once it is cooled I place all my chilli in a very large bowl add 1 large cup of water, mix well and then its portioning up time!

6. Portioning up!

I get out my scales and my freezer bags and then I begin to portion up.  I am a Nutritionist and have worked for a well known supermarket, so I know that the approximate portion size for meat and sauce is about 200g.  I therefore weigh out 200g of chilli into each freezer bag.  I tie/roll and then place them in the freezer and I am done.

When I come in from work (generally on a Monday after a long day) I get one portion of chilli out the freezer and defrost it for 6 minutes in the microwave.  I then cook it in the microwave for 4 minutes, 30 seconds and then serve it with wild rice and a dollop of sour cream.  If I was more prepared I may leave the chilli to defrost in the fridge overnight then cook in a pan on the hob – but Monday holds an element of laziness (for me) so unfortunately I resign myself to the microwave.



One Response to “It’s chilly… So let’s eat CHILLI… yum!”

  1. happygrapefruit April 30, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Yummm! Sounds amazing 😀 Love your blog too btw! xoxo Alicia a.k.a. Happygrapefruit 😉

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