LOW MEAT CHILLI RECIPE                                chilli sin carne

December 2017




I got into the habit of making this a little too often so I’ve had a bit of a dry patch recently but it’s so reliable, versatile and delicious that I could eat it every day of the summer or winter! I’ve tried many different chilli recipes over the years, and this recipe merges a number of clever ideas from fantastic chefs like Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein and Nicola Graimes.  I make this chilli without any actual carne/meat, I don’t think it tastes any different with meat so I don’t bother using it anymore.  


Chilli Sem Carne recipe – serves 4 – prep time 30 minutes – cook time; tasty after 30 minutes tastier the longer you leave it


2 tbsp butter or corn oil

1 large or 2 small onions peeled and diced

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp oregano

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

4 garlic cloves crushed and diced

1-2 fresh chilies depending on what heat you want

 300g mushrooms sliced

200g Quorn mince or brown lentils – optional


splash or red wine

300ml cup of black coffee

chipotle or chilli flakes

400g can chopped tomatoes or fresh tomatoes to make it even tastier

2 tbsp tomato puree

300ml veg, chicken or beef stock

1tbsp molasses or dark brown sugar

1 courgette sliced

1 green pepper de-seeded and diced

400g tin kidney beans



Make a cup of black coffee and sprinkle chipotle or chilli flakes into it to soak and leave to rest.  Fry your onions for about 10 minutes until they are soft.  Add the garlic and fresh chilli and let it mingle for a couple of minutes before adding the cumin, paprika, oregano, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and leave to heat for 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and make sure they are coated with all the lovely spices. After 5 minutes they should soften and reduce in size at which point you can add Quorn mince or rinsed brown lentils.  If the Quorn mince is frozen you can let it thaw in the pan and again try to ensure it is covered in lots of the lovely spices. 


The contents of the pan are probably pretty dry at this point and I usually add a big glug of red wine and let that sizzle and cook off.  Then I add all the other liquids being the coffee with chilli flakes, tin of tomatoes, stock, molasses and tomato puree and bring it to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and add the kidney beans, courgette and pepper or whatever vegetables you have to hand and leave to simmer for 30 minutes to 3 hours.  The flavours enhance the longer that you leave it and it is even tastier on day two. 


I always serve my chilli with yoghurt or sour cream, coriander and grated cheese and have it with either rice, a jacket potato or in a wrap with salad.