Date: 15 May 2015 Author: Jacqui Categories: Food, International Cuisine, Main Dishes 1


“Next to music there is nothing that lifts the spirits and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili.”

                                                                                                                                                                                       – Harry James (1916-1983) band leader and trumpeter

I cannot agree more! We somehow assume that Chilli con Carne is an authentic Mexican dish but you will be surprised to know that the only thing certain about the origins of chili is that it did not originate in Mexico! Here is some interesting information about it.

Charles Ramsdell, a writer from San Antonio in an article called San Antonio: An Historical and Pictorial Guide, wrote:

“Chili, as we know it in the U.S., cannot be found in Mexico today except in a few spots which cater to tourists. If chili had come from Mexico, it would still be there. For Mexicans, especially those of Indian ancestry, do not change their culinary customs from one generation, or even from one century, to another.”

If there is any doubt about what the Mexicans think about chili, the Diccionario de Mejicanismos, published in 1959, defines chili con carne as (roughly translated):

“detestable food passing itself off as Mexican, sold in the U.S. from Texas to New York.” 

In fact it is one of the most famous dishes in Texas, hence it would be better defined as a Tex Mex dish. There are many variations of the Chilli con Carne recipes, my favorite is one with two secret ingredients … cocoa and coffee. Do not be afraid to try it! I can assure you, it tastes delicious! Also do not be put off by the long list of ingredients! Trust me, it will all be worth it when you taste it!


  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 100g smoked Pancetta
  • 900g beef mince
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp chili powder*
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 heaped tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 medium potato, cubed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 to 4 cups gluten free beef stock
  • 1 espresso cup strong brewed coffee
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 small cans kidney beans


In a large pot, sautee the onion, carrot, celery and jalapeño in some olive oil for a few minutes or until the onion turns translucent. Add the Pancetta, garlic and chopped herbs and cook for a few minutes more.  Add the mincemeat to the pot and brown stirring all the while.  Thrown in the potato cubes.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, then add the spices – the garam masala, paprika, cumin and chilli, followed by the tomato paste.  Pour in the wine, add the sugar and cook until the wine is almost absorbed.  Finally add the canned chopped tomatoes, the coffee, the cocoa powder and three cups of the stock.  Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and let simmer for about an hour and a half to two hours, stirring occasionally. If too thick, add the extra stock. During the last half an hour of cooking, stir in the canned kidney beans.

Before serving, garnish with a dollop of sour cream and some shredded cheddar, or sliced onion and/or avocado cubes as well as some tortilla chips.

Serve with boiled rice.

*Increase or decrease the amount of chilli according to how much heat you can take!


    • Nate
    • June 20, 2019
    • It is believed that carrots originated in Afghanistan and spread to other areas of the world as traders took carrot seeds back to their respective places of origin.

    • Reply

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