Bean Chilli


ometimes you just need chilli and cornbread in your day. I love a comforting chilli, slow cooked and more often than not these days, made with chunks of braising beef that can be shredded rather than the traditional mince. However, sometimes time isn’t always in the equation for the privileges of slow cooking! On my meat free days or for vegetarian (or vegan) guests, I often make this version and its the smoked paprika that is the winner here for that ‘meaty’ replacement. That said, don’t you dare think about skimping on that. If you don’t have paprika, sorry you’ll need another trip to the shops!

It offers the same comfort and depth of flavour. I know I sound like a broken record but this really can be knocked up in 20-30 minutes max. It really is just a task of opening a lot of cans and stirring. But the take home is that it is wholesome. Its leans away from processed foods and its really cheap. 

9 times out of 10 I will make a cornbread loaf to accompany this (recipe here) but if time does not permit you can enjoy this in SO many ways. Serve on rice for the extra grains or just devour in a bowl like soup. I like to pimp the toppings here with guacamole, soured cream, grated cheddar and coriander. Dip crunchy tortilla chips into it or heck…make a nachos and get that grill on! It also makes an excellent vegetarian burrito filling with eggs and rice. Ok…stop it now I’ve given you quick, cheap and versatile.

Serves 4 (I have never made less than this and would advise you make a batch. It serves 2 with extra and is great reheated/frozen for an even quicker ready meal!)

  • 1 x can mixed beans (I always use Napolina for the quality but any mixed beans will do. Avoid anything in a sauce already)
  • 1 x can black beans
  • 2 x cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, smoked paprika,
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (use as much as you like. I like to use chilli flakes rather than fresh to control the spice here)
  • 1 lime

Toppings & Sides

  • Soured cream OR plain yoghurt with a squeeze of lime
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Chopped fresh coriander
  • Guacamole (Or mash 1 avocado with juice from 1/2 a lime and some salt and pepper)
  • Cornbread (see here)
  1. Get yourself a heavy based casserole dish or saucepan.
  2. Heat a splash of sunflower oil and add the onion. Sweat for 8-10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further few minutes.
  3. Add the spices and chilli and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Drain the beans and wash them briefly. Add the beans to the pan and stir. Season.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes and stir. Wash out the tomato cans with a little water and add that too until its a thick/thin as you desire.
  6. Simmer for 5-10 minutes to let everything warm through. 
  7. Add the juice of 1/2 lime and serve with your toppings and sides!

Don”t feel bound by the beans I suggest here – 2 cans of your favourites will work well. I suggest a mixed can as a base and then go wild with your second – chickpeas or extra kidney beans work well here.