September 4th, 2012


Comfort food: chilli beans

When I was young, one of the dishes my mother used to cook us was a variation on a chilli con carne. It was deeply inauthentic, as befits British cookery of 40 years ago, but it was tasty, inexpensive, and very easy to prepare. And we all loved it.

I have recently started to cook it myself, at least a variation on it, but I think I have the essence of the original.

So, with no more ado

Chilli beans


  • 500g lean minced beef (extra lean is better)

  • 1 tin of baked beans

  • 1 packet of Colmans chilli con carne mix

  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup

  • 4 tablespoons water
  • Preheat an oven to 160C

  • In a casserole, brown the minced beef

  • Add the spice mix and stir in

  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix in

  • Mix all together and place the casserole in the oven for 45 minutes

The above will serve two hungry people. When I was young, we used to have it with freshly baked crusty white bread, but bellinghwoman and I have it on its own.

The original also had a couple of bay leaves in, but I've so far managed to forget that both times. You can also add some chopped browned onion. If you feel like it, you can be serious with this, adding your own spices rather than using a pre-made mix, and using tomato purée and sugar and vinegar instead of the ketchup, but at that point you're starting to head off into proper cookery. The essence of this one is its simplicity.