Mother and Baby

The Best Chilli Recipe

Section: Dinner ideas
The Best Chilli Recipe
  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation time: 2 hours


Looking for the best chili recipe? Chilli con Carne is a classic dish and a great way to get meat into your toddler - plus, you can vary the spice level depending on whether you're giving to a child. If you've got time, make it the day before so let the flavours really develop.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. 

  2. Roughly chop the onions and finely slice the chillies, keeping the seeds. Crush the garlic and dice the beef into 2cm cubes. 

  3. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl, season generously with salt and pepper and then add the cubed beef, tossing with your hands until lightly coated in the flour.
  4. Heat half the olive oil in a large, heavy-based casserole dish, add half the beef and fry over a medium–high heat for 5–6 minutes or until browned on all sides. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a plate, then fry the rest of the meat in the remaining olive oil before transferring to the plate with the first batch of beef. 
Next, add the onions to the dish and fry over a medium heat for 5–10 minutes or until soft and just starting to brown. Add the garlic and chillies (if using) and cook for another minute or so. 
Return the beef to the casserole dish along with the chopped tomatoes, kidney beans (if using), tomato purée, chilli powder, cinnamon, sugar, stock and coffee.
  6. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and transfer to the oven to cook gently for 1 ½ hours or until the beef is tender and the sauce thick and fragrant. When ready, remove from the oven and stir in the chocolate until melted and fully incorporated.
This recipe is taken from Free-From Food for Family and Friends by Pippa Kendrick (HarperCollins, £25). Photos by Keiko Oikawa



Blend some of the cooked chilli meat until you have the desired consistency.

Finger Food

Give your toddler a few pieces of cooked cubed meat and chunks of bread for him to dip in the chilli.

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