Jamie’s Mexican Beef Chilli

HP1B6339 Mr Firehouse’s choice of food is usually meat, spice and more meat. So chilli or more correctly chilli con carne, really fits the bill. When a couple of dear friends from Australia visited us last year, he decided he wanted to make them the quintessentially American “chilli”.

He found a recipe in a blokey cookbook of his and set about collecting ingredients. It had the typical beef, beans and tomato, all fairly accessible. But it also called for masa harina (white corn flour) and chipotle (smoked jalapeño) chillis in adobo sauce. He took it upon himself to find the ingredients and took a trip out to a fairly big supermarket in the area. He came home with not the 4 tbsp. of masa the recipe called for, but a 4 lb (nearly 2 kg) bag. It’s still sitting in the cupboard, begging to be used. He also called me in distress from the supermarket claiming there was no chipotle chillis in sight. Since most stores here have a Hispanic food aisle, I made sure he’d checked that aisle specifically. He had! I said not to worry, we still had a week and I was  sure I could find the chillis. Maybe a trip to a Mexican grocery store was in order?

A few days later I received an email from Mr Firehouse detailing the address of a Latino grocery store, about 15 minutes drive away. I took the trip, braving the drive into unknown territory, a venture into an impossibly small store with a large stroller and the even the tumbleweeds that littered the otherwise abandoned strip mall. We finally had all the ingredients and the resulting chilli was delicious!

Now for the good bit. I was walking through the aisles of our relatively small local supermarket and what should I find but can upon can of chipotle chillis in adobo sauce. Mr Firehouse was mortified, and I always point them out when I see them as we’re shopping.

Jamie’s recipe calls for oven baking, but I did mine on the stove. He also uses beef shin which I didn’t have accessed so I used a cheap stewing beef. Feel free to use whatever cut of beef you prefer. Stick to cheap, well marbled cuts and bone in is preferred through not essential.  Simply adjust the cooking times, to cook until the meat “falls” off.



  • 2 red onions chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 chipotle chillis in adobo sauce ( or substitute with red chillis)
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 kg beef stewing meat, chopped into largish chunks
  • 2 x 400 g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of beans (chickpeas, cannelini, red kidney or a mix)
  • 1 red capsicum chopped


In a large heavy based saucepan or casserole dish add the oil and chopped onion and garlic. At this point also add the finely chopped stalks of the coriander. When the onions have softened add all the spices, including the bay leaves and cook until the spices have lost their “raw” quality.
Season the meat and add to the pan and coat well in spices. When the meat it coated add the tomatoes. Bring the mixture to the boil, turn the heat town and put the lid own.

Cook until the the meat is falling apart (about 2-3 hours), checking every 1/2 an hour or so to make sure that the pan is not catching at the bottom. At this point, remove the lid and add the capsicum and beans. Stir and leave to simmer and thicken. Add the coriander leaves just before serving,

Serve with salsa, sour cream and some fresh guacamole.



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