Mumma Jack’s Best Ever Chilli – Revisited. 39p.


Tonight I decided to make my ‘best ever chilli’ – but instead of soaking black beans like I usually do, I decided to make this a little easier. It was late, we wanted to eat in 15 minutes, so here’s my quick-n-easy version. We had this for dinner, and are having it for ‘big lunch’ tomorrow too! :-)

Ingredients: (Serves four adults)

1 onion, chopped
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
50ml red wine
2 squares dark chocolate
400g chopped tomatoes
400g canned kidney beans
400g baked beans

70g rice per person

First, bring a pan of water to the boil, and add the rice. I add 70g of dry rice per person (one certain espresso cup!)

Add the oil to a medium sauté or frying pan, and add the chopped onion, chilli, spices and crumbled stock cube. Cook on a medium heat until the onions start to soften, disturbing to prevent the spices from burning.

Add the wine, chocolate and chopped tomatoes, and stir through. Turn the heat up high to bring the liquid to a boil, and boil rapidly for five minutes.

Drain and thoroughly rinse the beans, to remove the ‘tin water’ and red tomato sauce, and tip into the pan. Stir through to warm for five minutes.

Serve over rice, with an optional dollop of yoghurt for extra yum. (I stir a tablespoon of yoghurt through Small Boy’s to cool the spices for him – he loves it!)

Ingredients cost:
1 onion, 11p. 10 red bird eye chillies, 75p (1 red chilli, 8p). 3l oil, £4 (1tbsp, 3p). 42g paprika, £1 (2tsp, 10p). 40g cumin, £1 (2tsp, 10p). 10 chicken stock cubes, 20p (1 chicken stock cube, 2p). 250ml red cooking wine, £1.02 (50ml, 20p). 1 bar dark chocolate, 31p (2 squares, 4p). 400g chopped tomatoes, 35p. 400g kidney beans, 21p. 400g baked beans, 25p. 1kg rice, 40p (70g, 3p).

Total ingredients used: £1.44 (39p per portion, with rice.)

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook:

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36 thoughts on “Mumma Jack’s Best Ever Chilli – Revisited. 39p.

    • It’s a 250ml bottle of ‘red cooking wine’ for £1.02 from Sainsburys. If I know I’ll be using a lot of wine, (winter is coming!) I get a 750ml bottle of Red Table Wine for £3.50, it’s slightly nicer and saves repeated trips to the shop… Also if Mrs J gets a bottle of red as a treat, I pour the dregs into a large jar beside the oven – and often dip into that!

  1. I do a very similar recipe but add chopped red &/or green peppers in with the onion and sometimes I add veggie mince or chopped up veggie sausage too. A squirt of tomato purée is good. And if you’re feeling extra naughty, leave the baked bean sauce in! Totally yummy!

  2. Lovely simple recipe – but might want to add a note that people with sensitive tums could benefit from cooking the kidney beans longer…

  3. What I love about your cooking Jack, is that its not only thrifty, but its also healthy, tasty and easy. Several of your recipes (or versions of them) are becoming staples at my house.

  4. I’m going to cook this today…is your chilli plant nearly finished? Ive only got green ones left on the plant now, I’ve been reading how to start another one off for next year as I’ve enjoyed it so much.

    • If it is small enough pot it up and take it inside. Keep it warm and it will re-bloom between Feb and March (depends on the specific pepper plant.) All pepper plants will grow in a green space or as a house plant it is like a rose or a philodendron it will stay green forever and some give peppers all though the year but most bear one or 2 crops.

  5. Ha! Great minds think alike. I soaked pinto beans overnight and have them in the slow cooker ready for sausages and beans this evening. Yum yum. I like the sound of the cumin in this recipe. My oldest won’t eat cumin so we miss out on those types of flavours. And the chocolate would never make it as far as the saucepan :-O

  6. I’m a heathen – I use the ‘tin water’ too. And I leave out the chocolate, and I rarely have red wine to add, and if I do it’s for drinking. I pay the tiny bit ‘extra’ for basmati rice – by far the easiest to cook and nicest in presentation.

  7. Sad, I love what you are doing and appreciate the blog needs to make money to survive. But it saddens me to see the adverts below the content. Not that there are adverts but the content of them … ‘ Nice holidays in exotic places’ … that stuff. Probably me looking up history that caused it

    Keep campaigning

    • I dont get to choose the content of the adverts, I’m afraid. Price of having an easy-to-use blog with very scant fees to run – the irony is if I self-hosted and self-created a website like this, I’d need much heavier advertising to cover the costs…

  8. Curious. Maybe it is because I use an ageing Mac, that I see no adverts. on the blog.

    I have printed the chili recipe. Excellent.
    A tip on baked beans: I always keep a bottle of Worcester sauce to put on almost every thing. A slug of this plus a spoon of tomato puree or ketchup or both transforms the cheapest tinned beans.Half a tin with toast is quite adequate for my solitary supper.

  9. I made this last night in my slow cooker, and had some for lunch. YUMMY. It’s a great recipe, next time I’m going to add some sweetcorn for extra texture.

  10. Am going to try this tomorrow . If you don’t have a fresh red chili ,can you use chilli flakes instead (and if so , what quantity would you recommend for a mild chili kick ?)

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  12. Made this this evening for dinner and it was gorgeous, no cumin in the house but still tasted great and used a jar of lazy chilli I had sitting unused in the fridge. Thanks for this great recipe.

  13. I prefer something meatier and hotter so I replaced the baked beans with 400g Sainsburys Basics mince (£1.46) and added an extra chilli. BTW with 65g of rice per person it then works out at 481 cal per portion.

  14. I made a leftovers chili last night. We get chicken breast on sale down where I am for 1.00 pd (bone in) So I steam it or poach it and get broth.

    I had a random chicken breast, 2 old onions, garlic chive from my tin of herbs, and a 8 oz pack of rice noodle pasta from before my late husband passed (he bought it and I did not know how to cook it. most of his asian noodles cook in 5-7 mins. This one took 30.. lol)

    My new mate wanted chili spaghetti and had bought a can of wolf chili no beans (15 oz). I wanted to use up the chicken and onions before they went bad.

    So I put margarine and garlic and the chopped up onions in the bottom of a steamer for 10 mins to see what would happen (they just cooked down right. ) At the same time I poached the chicken breast. I let the onion mix sit while the chicken got done. Then I had mate shred the chicken. I put ameo acid broth (organic soy sauce) and leftover bean broth and tomato broth into the chicken broth from the poached chicken brought it back up to simmer/light boil added the rice noodles. After that I put the shredded chicken and the wolf chilie into the steamer (Mate snuck up and put in a couple ladles of chicken broth )and we let that come up to hot.

    I consider this clean out the fridge chili.

    Dad had his plane and I had cheese and sour cream on mine.

    Except for the wolf chili and the chive everything was slated for the bin or compost pile. With the pasta it had been in the freezer for a couple years and we could have made ramin if it came out bad. We have some food choices.. but not many and I did not want that meat to go to waste even though I have never put chicken in chili before.

  15. Thanks for revisiting this recipe, Jack.
    The addition of the chocolate and red wine makes such a difference. (I had a bottle of red wine which had been given as a gift, so that was ‘free’ for me.) And I hadn’t thought of using baked beans drained of their tomato sauce instead of dried/tinned haricot beans.

    I had a few sultanas left over from making windfall apple chutney so added these, and used a dried chipotle chilli (left over from another recipe) for a more smoky, barbecue-y chilli.

    Accompanied by some Sainsbury Basic pitta breads (6 for 22p).

    It made more than enough for three hearty meals!

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  17. I made this tonight as per the recipe but without the chili. It was really lovely and I portioned it into three so I now two meals in the freezer for another time. Thanks.

  18. Making this with some modifications for a snow day :)
    Had white beans and diced “chili seasoned” tomatoes in the cupboard, so used that along with the onion. Added some cocoa powder and red lentils to thicken it a little bit. It’s on the stove now, smelling delicious, and I’m excited to see how it turns out!

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