Meaning "chilli with meat", this dish prompts fiery debate. Where and how the classic recipe originated is a controversial topic among various American states – although Texas, with chilli con carne (also known as chili) as its state dish, is arguably frontrunner for the title. Even more contentious is what makes the perfect "bowl o’ red". As the International Chili Society says, "Never has there been anything mild about chili".






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (64 votes)


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 500 g chuck steak, cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 500 g ripe tomatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 400 g can red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 bunch coriander, leaves and stems chopped, plus extra leaves to serve
  • chopped avocado and tomato, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until softened.

Add chilli, cumin, coriander, bay leaf, flour and beef and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until beef has browned.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans and 500ml water and stir until combined. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or until meat is tender.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with chopped avocado and tomato and extra coriander leaves.

Photography by Alan Benson.

As seen in Feast magazine, November 2012, Issue 15.


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