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Kitchen Secrets: Readers share their tricks for a truly tasty chilli con carne

It’s a recipe that divides home cooks worldwide. Our readers share their tips for the perfect chilli.

Image: Shutterstock

EVERY HOME COOK has their own kitchen hacks, cheats and traditions, and we want to know yours.

Each week as part of our Kitchen Secrets series, we ask our readers to share their cooking tips and go-to-dishes. From the secret to quick-and-easy dinners, to the best way to scramble an egg, we set a new question every seven days.

Chilli con carne is a true Tex-Mex classic, a hearty combination of meat and spices, usually with the addition of tomatoes or beans. Like any classic dish, most people have their own cast-iron rules on how to make it correctly – beans or no beans, onion or no onion, mild or spicy…

This week, we asked our readers to share their own take on chilli con carne, which has become something of a classic in Irish kitchens too.

What’s your tip for a perfect chilli con carne every time?

Add some jalapenos as well as the dried spices: When your meat is cooked and browned, add the spices and fry gently, before adding tinned tomatoes. My spice mix is chilli powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and salt. I always add a few chopped jarred jalapeno peppers, they give the chilli a real kick and a wonderful flavour – an authentic Mexican taste.

- Angie Nolan

If you can get bolognese right, you can get chilli right: For a really simple chilli con carne recipe, I take a basic bolognese, with some add-ins: 1 tsp of cumin and chilli powder after you cook the onions, plus a tin of kidney beans and a tin of chickpeas with the tinned tomatoes towards the end of cooking.

- Fiona Staunton

A square of chocolate works wonders: A good chunk of dark chocolate and a teaspoon of espresso powder will make any chilli taste amazing. 

- Donna O’Shaughnessy

Or try chocolate chips like Nigella (seriously): As soon as I made Nigella Lawson’s chocolate chip chilli back in 2014, I knew I could no longer go back to minced, insipid, regular old chilli. The recipe feeds an army so feel free to half the ingredients. Given the lack of veg, we go crazy on sides here: guacamole spiked with plenty of lime; a homemade salsa of sweet mango, finely diced tomatoes shallot and chopped coriander; dollops of sour cream; warm fluffy rice. 

- Donna Connolly

More: Kitchen Secrets: Readers share their best tips for a truly great lasagne>

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