James Martin Chilli Con Carne Recipe

Last updated on March 24, 2024

James Martin Chilli Con Carne
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 1 Hr 30 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 50 Mins

Begin preparing the James Martin Chilli Con Carne Recipe, a satisfying dish that turns basic ingredients into a rich and comforting meal. Ideal for social events, family meals, or as a tasty meal prep choice, this chilli con carne is sure to delight. Designed to serve 4-6 people, the recipe is completed in approximately 2 hours, giving the flavors ample time to blend perfectly.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through making James Martin’s iconic Chilli Con Carne, complete with step-by-step instructions and expert tips to enhance your cooking process.

What is James Martin Chilli Con Carne?

James Martin Chilli Con Carne is a robust and flavorsome dish that marries tender beef with beans, tomatoes, and a rich blend of spices. It’s a versatile recipe that has become a staple in many homes for its comforting warmth and depth of flavor.

James Martin Chilli Con Carne Recipe

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Flavor Depth: Every spoonful of this chilli carries a symphony of flavors, thanks to a well-balanced mix of spices.
  • Comforting: It’s the ultimate comfort food, perfect for warming up during colder months.
  • Versatile: Serve it over rice, with tortilla chips, or inside burritos. This dish fits a variety of meals.
  • Meal Prep Friendly: It gets better with time, making it ideal for meal prep.

Ingredients Needed to Make James Martin Chilli Con Carne

  • Beef: 1 kg (approximately 2.2 pounds) of lean minced beef for a rich base.
  • Onions and Garlic: 2 onions and 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, to add foundational aroma.
  • Tomatoes: 2 cans of crushed tomatoes for tangy sweetness.
  • Beans: 2 cans of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained, for added texture and protein.
  • Spices: A blend of cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, and a hint of cinnamon to introduce warmth and depth.
  • Beef Stock: 500 ml (about 2 cups) to enhance the meaty flavor.
  • Oil: For sautéing the onions, garlic, and beef.
  • Salt and Pepper: Adjust to taste for seasoning.
  • Fresh Cilantro: For garnishing, add a fresh contrast to the rich chili.
  • Rice: Serve as a base, if desired, to complement the chili.

Instructions to Make James Martin Chilli Con Carne

Step 1: Preparing the Base

  • Heat the Oil: In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat.
  • Sauté Onions and Garlic: Add the finely chopped onions and garlic, cooking until soft and golden, about 5 minutes.

Step 2: Cooking the Beef

  • Brown the Beef: Increase the heat slightly, add the minced beef to the pot, and cook until browned. This step ensures the meat is richly flavored.
  • Spice It Up: Stir in the cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, and a pinch of cinnamon, cooking for a minute until fragrant.

Step 3: Adding Tomatoes and Beans

  • Tomatoes In: Pour in the crushed tomatoes and add the rinsed kidney beans, stirring well to combine.
  • Simmer: Pour in the beef stock, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat. Let it cook gently for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to deepen and meld.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

  • Season: After cooking, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Garnish: Sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro just before serving for a fresh burst of flavor.

What Do I Serve With James Martin Chilli Con Carne?

Choosing the right side dishes can transform your Chilli Con Carne into a memorable meal. Whether you’re looking for something to complement its rich flavors or to add a refreshing contrast, here are some top picks:

  • Fluffy Rice: The perfect blank canvas to soak up the chilli’s vibrant flavors.
  • Crunchy Corn Chips: Ideal for dipping and adding a satisfying crunch.
  • Warm Tortillas: Wrap up the chilli for a delicious handheld meal.
  • Crisp Salad: A light, fresh salad balances the hearty richness of the chilli.
  • Baked Potato: A comforting choice that pairs wonderfully with the chilli’s texture and taste.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect James Martin Chilli Con Carne

Mastering the art of making Chilli Con Carne requires attention to detail and a few insider tips.

Here are some key pointers to elevate your dish:

  • Season Well: Don’t underestimate the power of seasoning; adjust salt and spices to taste after simmering.
  • Quality Ingredients: Opt for high-quality ground beef and fresh spices for the best flavor.
  • Simmer Slowly: A slow, gentle simmer allows the flavors to deepen and meld beautifully.
  • Adjust the Heat: Tailor the spiciness to your preference by controlling the amount of chili powder.
  • Experiment with Texture: Some prefer a chunkier chili, while others like it smoother. Adjust the cooking time and ingredients to suit your taste.

Variations of James Martin Chilli Con Carne

The versatility of Chilli Con Carne means it’s easy to adapt to different tastes and dietary needs.

Here are some creative twists on the classic recipe:

  • Vegetarian Delight: Use quinoa and a variety of beans for a meat-free version full of texture.
  • Extra Heat: Incorporate chopped fresh chilies or chili flakes for those who love a fiery dish.
  • Smoky Depth: A dash of smoked paprika adds a new dimension of flavor.
  • Rich and Creamy: Stir in a spoonful of sour cream before serving for a richer texture.

How do I Store James Martin Chilli Con Carne Leftovers?

  • Cool Down: Let the chilli cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer: Move the chilli into airtight containers.
  • Refrigerate or Freeze: Refrigerate if eating within three days, or freeze for up to three months.

How do I Reheat James Martin Chilli Con Carne Leftovers?

  • Thaw: If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat: Warm it on the stove over low heat, stirring occasionally. For a quicker method, microwave it covered, stirring occasionally.
  • Adjust: If it’s too thick, add a bit of water or stock to reach desired consistency.

Nutrition Value (per serving, based on 6 servings):

  • Calories: Approximately 350 kcal
  • Protein: 25 g
  • Fat: 15 g (Saturated Fat: 5 g)
  • Carbohydrates: 30 g
    • Fiber: 8 g
    • Sugar: 5 g
  • Sodium: 500 mg
  • Cholesterol: 70 mg


Can I make James Martin’s Chilli Con Carne in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can prepare James Martin’s Chilli Con Carne in a slow cooker. Brown the beef, onions, and garlic as per the initial steps, then transfer them to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients except for the fresh cilantro and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Garnish with cilantro before serving.

What are the best toppings for Chilli Con Carne?

The best toppings for Chilli Con Carne include grated cheese, sour cream, sliced jalapeños, diced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, and lime wedges. These toppings add layers of flavor, texture, and freshness to the dish.

Can James Martin’s Chilli Con Carne be frozen?

Yes, James Martin’s Chilli Con Carne can be frozen. Cool the chili completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or bags. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat thoroughly before serving.

How can I thicken my Chilli Con Carne?

To thicken your Chilli Con Carne, allow it to simmer uncovered for additional time, letting some of the liquid evaporate. Alternatively, you can mix in a small amount of cornflour or cornstarch dissolved in water during the last few minutes of cooking, stirring until the desired thickness is achieved.

What can I use if I don’t have kidney beans?

If kidney beans are unavailable, black beans or pinto beans make excellent substitutes in Chilli Con Carne. These alternatives maintain the dish’s hearty texture and absorb the flavors well, ensuring a satisfying result.

Is there a substitute for smoked paprika in Chilli Con Carne?

For those without smoked paprika, you can use a combination of regular paprika and a pinch of liquid smoke to achieve a similar flavor. Alternatively, chipotle powder or a bit of ground cumin can also provide a smoky note to the dish.

Final Words

The James Martin Chilli Con Carne recipe is more than just a dish; it’s a warming embrace in culinary form. Perfect for any occasion, it promises both comfort and a feast for the senses. This guide not only walks you through the creation of this beloved dish but also offers tips, variations, and advice for storage and reheating, ensuring that your chilli con carne experience is as fulfilling and flavorful as possible. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe is designed to guide you to a delicious result every time.

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