Chili-ish mince

Basic Chilli-ish Mince


For an ingredient-specific grams to ounces conversion chart click here.

This week’s recipe is a family favorite because it’s versatile in the extreme. It’s based on a recipe for Texas Chilli from the cookbook Smart Food for Busy People by Annabel Langbein, but because our kids weren’t into chillis when they were younger, I adapted it, and everyone likes this version so much we’ve stuck with it. I’ll post a photo next time I make the dish —  probably sometime this upcoming week :)

I’ll give you the basic recipe, then talk about the subs and variations I’ve used over the years. And in case you were wondering, we DO spell “chilli” with two ls in New Zealand *g*

Basic Chilli-ish Mince

1 tablespoon cooking oil
500-750g  (1 – 1.5 pounds) lean beef mince
2 tablespoons  tomato paste
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 – 2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 x 400g tin (approx 14 oz) tomatoes in juice, pureed (or chopped roughly in the tin)
1 cup of beef stock (the stuff made with dried beef stock powder or cubes is fine)
1/2 bag of frozen mixed vegetables or chuckwagon corn (mix of corn, red & green peppers, onion)

  1. Heat oil in large  fry-pan. Brown the mince well, making sure there are no large lumps.
  2. Add tomato paste, garlic, oregano, chilli powder, and stirfry for a minute.
  3. Add tinned tomatoes and stock.**
  4. Simmer 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. (Depending on the amount of mince used, add more liquid — stock or water — if mixture becomes too dry.
  5. Add frozen veges, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so until veges are thawed and heated through .
  6. Serve with freshly steamed rice.


  • **Add 1  x 400g tin (approx 14 oz)  red kidney beans
  • **Add a handful sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • **Add 1/2 red pepper, finely diced (I don’t bother if I’m using chuckwagon corn.)
  • Stir in 1/2 cup olives, pitted and chopped, just before serving


  • No plain tinned tomatoes? Substitute flavored tinned tomatoes such as Mexican, Italian, Savory etc. Adjust oregano and chilli powder as necessary
  • No flavored tinned tomatoes either? Substitute half a cup of tomato relish or taco sauce or salsa (or whatever tomato-based thing you have in the fridge) and add extra liquid. You might wish to use less chilli powder if you use Mexican flavored tomatoes, taco sauce or salsa.
  • No tomato paste? Substitute tomato sauce, ketchup, relish or chutney.
  • No beef stock? Use a dried soup sachet such as Maggi oxtail (beef) or even tomato at a pinch.
  • Already have a bunch of cooked rice in the fridge? Add cooked rice just before the frozen veges, and simmer to heat through. You’ll end up with a cooked paella kind of consistency.
  • Prefer “proper” corn to frozen veges? Stir in 2  cups whole kernel corn just before serving.


I’ve also used leftover mince from making tacos (the kind where you add a sachet of taco-seasoning-mix to minced beef and simmer it with a bit of water) as a base for this dish, and didn’t bother adding the teaspoon of chilli powder.

Basically, it’s hard to go wrong with this recipe.





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