Man’s Chili

“Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili.”

                                        β€“ Alleged last words of Kit Carson, frontiersman.


I called this dish Man’s Chili because that’s what it is! It’s one of the most carnivorous dishes I know, it’s spicy, and it was given to me by a man (my man)! – Nothing like a few prejudices thrown in for a good measure, ha? πŸ™‚ Or a bad measure.  πŸ™‚ Of course not all men are like that.

As for the recipe itself, it does take a bit of time, but it’s incredibly easy to make and very very tasty! Also, it’s very cheap, and very basic in terms of ingredients. A perfect student meal! Which it was, on many an occasion, believe me.

I’ve always thought the origin of this dish was Mexican, but…. If it has a Spanish names, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is Spanish, or in this case Mexican! There is quite a lot of debate as to where this dish originated. Check this source for an interesting article about the history of this dish. According to the same source, there is no chili in Mexico today, apart from in the few places that cater for tourists. To sum it up, they say:


“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):

β€œdetestable food passing itself off as Mexican, sold in the U.S. from Texas to New York.”


 So, not Mexican then! But do I care? Why, of course not!!!

Also, there are many versions of this dish. It seems that our version is the Perdenales River Chili, the favourite of President Lyndon Johnson! His wife, Lady Bird Johnsonfamously said: “My feeling about chili is this: Along in November, when the first northern strikes, and the skies are gray, along about five o’clock in the afternoon, I get to thinking how good chili would taste for supper. It always lives up to expectations. In fact, you don’t even mind the cold November winds.”  Here is a little snippet from Wikipedia about this:


Perdenales River Chili

President Lyndon Johnson‘s favorite chili recipe became known as “Pedernales River chili” after the location of his Texas Hill Country ranch. It calls for leaving out the traditional beef suet (on doctor’s orders after his heart attack while he was U.S. Senate Majority Leader) and also adds tomatoes and onions. LBJ preferred venison, when available, over beef; Hill Country deer were thought to be leaner than most. First Lady Lady Bird Johnson had it printed up on cards as a mail-out because of the many thousands of requests the White House received for the recipe.


I leave you  with my favourite chili con carne quote:


“Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili. Congress should pass a law making it mandatory for all restaurants serving chili to follow a Texas recipe.”

– Harry James, trumpet player





Chili con carne


SOURCE: My husband


COOKING TIME: 1 h 15 min

CUISINE: American (?) 

SERVES: 3 – 4



1 onion

1 clove of garlic

1 grated carrot (optional)


1 lb (454 g) beef mince

1 can of chopped tomatoes

1 can of kidney beans

chili powder

red wine (optional)



1. Fry the onions and garlic on a little oil. Add the grated carrots, if using. Fry the mince.

2. Add the canned tomatoes and kidney beans, chili powder and red wine and bring to the boil. Reduce the temperature and simmer for at least an hour. This is important!

3. Serve on a bed of rice or with a baked potato, together with grated cheddar and Greek/plain yogurt. Enjoy!



Wine. As I said, wine is optional, but I think it adds the depth of flavour. Also, the chili goes great with red wine, so if you are having some for dinner, open it and add a splash to the chili. Red wine is better aired, so that makes it great, too!

Chili. Add chili according to taste. I judge it by colour: when nice and reddish brown, then it’s ready! As for the brands, Schwartz hot chili powder is very tasty, but not hot enough (to me). You can either add dried chilies to it, or use Tesco’s chili powder, which is hotter, and still tasty.

Carrot. Carrot is really only optional. I sometimes add it to add a little sweetness to counter the tomatoes, and to squeeze in a vegetable!

Cooking time. The longer the better! You need to end up with a thick , bright brown sauce. This dish is excellent made a day in advance, and can survive in the fridge for 4 – 5 days. It freezes, well, too.


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  1. Your picture made me drool! I love chilli. The perfect food for feeding large numbers! Elise at Simply Recipes posted an amazing vegetable chilli recently. Highly recommended! πŸ™‚


  2. I love chili. Did you know an indian dish called qeema is also very similar to chili!


  3. I don’t think LBJ would have allowed beans in his chilli….
    I, on the other hand, not being from Texas, and not ever having in ‘proper’ chilli, always put in the beans – that’s the best part.
    Your ‘man’ did very well, indeed!


  4. WENDY, yes, chili is definitely perfect for feeding large numbers! I’ve done that a few times! Will have a look at Elise’s recipe, thanks for letting me know.

    NABEELA, I know qeema. I made it a few times. I love both dishes. πŸ™‚

    KATIE, why would LBJ not allowed beans in his chili? I love the beans, too! πŸ™‚


  5. Oh my, that definition from the Mexican dictionary is just too funny!! And your chili sounds DELICIOUS!


  6. It’s hilarious, isn’t it?
    Thanks! πŸ˜€


  7. james p

     /  30 June, 2008

    Oh, this is wonderful! I just made it tonight! I did add the grated carrot and red wine. Super!

    I also spruced it just a bit with a little ground cumin (maybe a teaspoon or so) and some cayenne pepper powder (about a quarter teaspoon). Of course, with salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste. I had it with rice, grated cheddar, and some saltines.

    This is a really good recipe – the results are excellent especially given how easy the preparation is – totally a man’s chili πŸ™‚ Fast and delicious – thanks for this one!


  8. Hi James! great to hear you enjoyed the chili! red wine is a must for me, but i often skip the carrot. and yes, cumin definitely is great! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for letting me know how it went!


  9. nice recipe – i shall certainly give it a go. one change i will make though is to use fresh chili peppers instead of powder. i find fresh chilies give a much fresher flavor. of course if you are unsure of the heat while using fresh chillies just remove the seeds first!

    i’ll let you know how i get on!



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