You only need one pot to make this delicious and hearty chili con carne recipe – filled with warmth, and just the right amount of spice to keep you going as the weather gets cooler! (That said, it’s really yummy in the summer too.)
Fun Fact: “Chili con carne” is Spanish for “chili with meat”. This Tex-Mex staple meal is popular all over the world. The first time I tried it was while camping overnight in the desert. I must have been around 13 years old at the time.
It was made by one of the teachers overseeing the trip – Miss Teddy, the young, single, physical education teacher that had recently transferred to our school. Her take on chili con carne was…umm…well, it wasn’t the best. It was bland, watery, and completely lacking any what’s-the-word…oh yes, flavour. It was completely lacking flavour.
Strangely enough, all the senior boys on our trip went back for seconds, and thirds. They actually raved about it.
“Oh, Miss T…Can I call you Miss T?” I remember Neil, captain of the badminton team, saying, “I could eat this forever.”
Even the other teachers complimented her. Non-stop!
“Sue, this is to die for. I honestly don’t know what we would do if you weren’t here.” said Mr Donaldson, while completely ignoring the delicious lasagna Mr Carroll had painstakingly baked, pre-packaged (in small packs that could be warmed over a fire!) and brought along for the trip.
No idea why everyone ignored Mr Carroll’s lasagna. It really was quite delicious.
(Needless to say – I’ve not used any of my teachers’ real names. Also, I always get confused – is it spelled lasagna or lasagne?)
What is Chili Con Carne? How is it different from Texan Chili?
So, to get any immediate confusion out of the way, Chili Con Carne (as it’s referred to in the UK) is the same as Chili in the US and Canada. It’s the fusion of ground beef and kidney beans in a tomato-based stew with Tex-Mex seasoning. Ideally, there will be a smattering of delicious cheese on top (and maybe even a scoop of sour cream, bestie?).
That said, Chili Con Carne/Chili is not the same as Texan Chili which doesn’t ever include beans (it’s sacrilege, or so I’m told!), while tomatoes are more a take-it it or leave-it sort of ingredient. I’ve personally never tried authentic Texan Chili, but I’ve heard that it often uses chunks of beef rather than ground beef. Have you tried both? What are your thoughts?
(By the way, if this sounds good to you – you’ll definitely also want to check out this Super Easy Filipino Chicken Adobo recipe.)
What’s in Chili Spice Mix?
If you’re in North America, you’ll likely be able to find a chili spice mix at your local supermarket (it might be referred to as Chili Seasoning or Chili Powder – just be careful you don’t mix it up with chilli powder, which is just ground red chilli peppers…your chili would end up frighteningly spicy!).
If a good pre-packaged chili spice mix isn’t available to you, it doesn’t take much to make it at home. All you need to make a homemade chili spice mix is:
- Garlic powder (3-4 teaspoons)
- Ground cumin (5 teaspoons)
- Dried Oregano (2 teaspoons)
- Onion Powder (2 teaspoons)
- Paprika (4-5 teaspoons)
- Ground cayenne pepper (1-4 teaspoons) – this is what brings the heat, so tread cautiously and adjust as necessary! (1 teaspoon is fine for my, err…delicate palette.)
What to eat with chili
Honestly, when it comes to deciding what to eat with chili, your options are somewhat endless. But here are a few combinations I love, that I think you’ll love too:
- Chili with cheese, sour cream, and nachos
- Chili over basmati rice
- French fries + chili + cheese = Chili cheese fries = ♡
- Put on it on a hamburger to make a sort of Sloppy Joe!
- Use it as a topping on a good ol’ baked potato
- This Almost-Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich will become your guiltiest (most glorious!) pleasure!
- Feeling a little extra? Bake some kale chips, and crush them over the top of your chili. Boom.
Have I missed anything, bestie? What do you eat chili with? Or do you just scarf it down? No judgement here.
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- This Chili Seasoning Mix by Old El Paso is my go-to when I buy from the supermarket.
- One of the great things about homemade chili con carne is that it all comes together in one pot. I almost always use my Le Creuset French Oven when cooking this recipe.
If you tried this recipe, please do comment below and let me know what you think! And let’s connect while you’re here, follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Or sign up to be a part of my mailing list. Or do everything, the sky’s the limit!