Mexican style chilli – #thelazyhealthyyummer way, no fast burning carbs required…

Posted on March 11, 2013


mexican chilli beef with cheese and lettuce

I love a good chilli and I’ve been making it, in ever evolving guises, since my student days. I’m slightly loath to post this because I think most people already know how to make a cracking chilli, but if I say it myself, mine is particularly excellently delicious and always goes down a treat….so it might just be worth you giving it a go.

This chilli is  really simple to make.  It’s meat based, I’ll follow up with a veggie version soon. Veggie chilli is gorgeous too but I do enjoy this very traditional chilli con carne – and if you’re not vegetarian I reckon you will as well.

Time was when I ate chilli I thought I needed rice with it. No longer. I eat as few fast burning carbs as I can these days. I’ve discovered that they don’t work for me. Rice and other fast burning carbs, sadly even brown rice, make me feel bloated and I end up hungrier, after I’ve eaten them, than I was before I started. Now I’m a gluten free, low carb kind of a girl I’m much slimmer, less hungry and healthier overall. And I don’t miss them.

I find it interesting how, for some people who do eat that kind of stuff (the fast burning carbs), they seem to kind of rule their lives.  They look at me wide eyed and say “how can you not eat bread/rice/pasta?” “what do you eat instead?” It’s like they’ve got some kind of dependency going on.

The answer is I eat lots of things instead and I believe they do me  lot more good and leave me feeling more sated than all those old carb-y things used to do. Yes of course sometimes I think how nice it would be to have a lovely bit of bread, or big bowl of pasta, or whatever – and from time to time I do, but on the whole I believe it’s better for me to eat a lot less of that kind of stuff.

If you’re thinking you’d like to eat less fast burning carbs too, but wondering where to begin. Why not make this chilli and serve it as I’m about to suggest and tell me how you get on.  And then have a go at some of the other meals and snacks suggested on the rest of the blog. They’re all designed to be really easy and super yummy as well as being, hopefully, healthy options.

Mexican style chilli

Use some nice mince, buy as much as you feel like paying for, taking into consideration how many people you want to feed. A small pack will make a less meaty chilli than a big load, either way it will be delicious.

Brown the mince over a low heat in a big pan (the bigger the pan you use the more chilli you can make and the more you will (hopefully) have leftover to enjoy another day. You don’t need to add any fat to brown the mince in.  If it gives off lots of fat as it’s browning, spoon most of it off and dispose of it before putting anything else in the pot. I try to get nice lean mince which tends not to give off much fat.  I think that’s just nicer.

While the meat is browning chop an onion and some garlic. When the meat is brown stir in the onion and garlic, get them coated in the fat in the pan from the meat, pop the lid on – still over a low heat – and let the onions and garlic “sweat” with the meat while you chop some more veg to add.

“Sweating” the veg like this brings out the flavour.

What other veg will you add at this stage? What have you got? What works well in chilli?

I pretty much always add:

  • a carrot or two (sliced) ,
  • a red and/or green pepper (diced)
  • some mushrooms (sliced)
  • a stick of celery or two (sliced)

I sometimes also add:

  • a courgette (diced) but I don’t always have one and it’s not necessary.

If you have other veg you fancy chucking in, go for it.

As the additional veg are chopped, chuck them in the pan, stir to coat with fat, pop the lid back on and continue to “sweat” them over a low heat till all the veg have been added. After the last item has gone in, give it a few more minutes till all veg look thoroughly wilted/sweaty and you have a lovely cooking aroma going on.

Now it’s time to add the spices.

  • Whack in a LOAD of paprika, you want enough to give the meat and veg a reddish hue.  Ordinary or smoked paprika are both good.
  • Add some chilli, not to much, you don’t want to blow your head off. A quarter teaspoon is plenty for a medium sized chilli. If you’re doing a really big one put in half a teaspoon. Either chilli powder, or dried chilli flakes are fine. You can of course go all Fancy Dan with a whole proper chilli but I wouldn’t bother.
  • I’d also grind in some black pepper at this stage.

Give it all a stir and cook the spices with the meat and veg like this, before adding any liquid, for a few minutes, this helps the spices to really work their magic.

Then add 1-3 tins of tomatoes.

Judge the amount by how much chilli you want to end up with and size of pot you’re using. Bear in mind if you use 3 tins of tomatoes you will need a longer cooking time than if you use just one, because you want all the liquid to cook into the chilli nicely and the greater volume of liquid will take that bit longer to absorb.

Whack up the heat till it’s all bubbling, then turn it down low again and leave (with the lid off). Cook for 40mins to 90mins, or longer if you like. Long, slow cooking lets the flavours really build.  Also, reheating this dish will make it taste more delicious every time so there’s a lot to be said for cooking it in the afternoon and letting it take as long as it wants to cook, then letting it cool down and reheating it at dinner time.

You’ll know it’s cooked to total perfection when there isn’t separate liquid in the pan – or very little – and it’s all just nice and gloopy and the perfect consistency. Taste it. You’ll love it.

Serve with:

  • grated cheese, or sour cream, or creme fraiche, or mashed avocado, or whatever other topping you like


  • a big load of shredded lettuce instead of rice, or whatever else floats your boat…


  • nothing at all, it’s great on it’s own.

Healthy, yummy, filling, substantial.