Chilli is a controversial one. With tomatoes, without tomatoes. With vegetables like onions and peppers, or without them. For the purists: with beans, without beans. If using beans, black or kidney? If you’re a Jamie Oliver fan you might even throw in a few cheeky chickpeas. Beer base – or red wine – or stock? Cook all day, eat tomorrow or whip up in an hour. Thin or thick; with rice or without. Do you use vinegars, adobo chillis, a bit of dark chocolate – or stick with the fresh ingredients only? Everyone disagrees.

And no doubt, no decent chef would be particularly proud of my quick chilli method. But it looks good, tastes delicious, is incredibly simple, can be made in minutes and is true to its name – chillis with meat. So I like it. My recipe just serves two.


300g lean minced beef
120g cooked and drained kidney beans (half a can, basically)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 teaspoons minced chilli
3 heaped tablespoons tomato puree or paste
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
Half a pint of beef stock
Salt and pepper, to taste

What to do:

1. Brown your mince in a drop of olive oil. If it’s good minced beef, there won’t be much fat or liquid in the pan when it’s coloured. If there is a lot of liquid left, drain it off.

2. Add your garlic and chilli, lower the temperature and cook for a few minutes.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well, and leave to simmer until thick. Taste for seasoning.

4. Eat with rice or tortilla chips, and sour cream, grated cheddar and sweetcorn. And a nice beer alongside. Really couldn’t be simpler.