Big Pot Mexican Chilli


Ooohh this is a “must make” when I’m with my family and friends again. I give it 11 out of 10. Yes, I’m blowing my own vuvuzela here, but hey you tell me what you think after you’ve made it. These quantities serve 6-8 people. If you enjoy it with wraps or rice you could probably serve 8-10. I’ve got a plan to stuff some of the leftovers into sweet potatoes and bake that. Served on toast for a Sunday night dinner or go the whole enchilada and make enchiladas????Our guest poster today will tell us a bit about the “Smugglers Boot” wine. Please give him a warm welcome.

Big Pot Mexican Chilli


  • 1 L onion about 220g before peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery sticks leaves included
  • 2 L cloves garlic 10g
  • 650g mince I used 420g beef mince and 230g pork mince
  • 2 tsp dried oreganum
  • 1 tsp each ground coriander, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika
  • 15 ml chicken stock powder
  • 2 Tbls tomato paste
  • 2 tins chopped Italian tomatoes
  • 2 tins black beans
  • 1 each red, yellow and green pepper
  • 2 stems spring onion
  • 2-3 chillis your preference here jalapeño's are mild
  • 2 tsp instant coffee powder
  • handfull chopped coriander and fresh oregano
  • 2-3 tbls sour cream

Salsa Salad topping for 4

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 sm red onion finely chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • handfull coriander chopped
  • 1 stem spring onion
  • squeeze lime


  • These ingredients look a lot but they actually are not. Look out for the quantities in the steps in the photos below. 2 ingredients where not used but can be. Brian ate one of them during the cooking process so it was out of mind. The other I felt was unnecessary just for the 2 of us. Let's see who can guess first which ones they were 
  • Finely chop 1 large onion and add to pan. Fry for 2-3min
  • Chop 2 celery sticks with leaves add to onions fry for 2 min
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic add to pan. Fry for 1 min. Stir constantly so mix doesn't stick to pan. Add extra oil if you like or a splash of water.
  • I used 420g beef mince and 230g pork mince. Estimate about 650g mince.
  • Fry in small batches adding more mince after each addition is brown
  • Keep adding mince until it's all used up. You are looking at 10-12 min. Listen for the crackle snapple sound the mince makes shortly before it sticks to the bottom of the pan. All the moisture has now evaporated and there should be oil from the meat and the olive oil visible. Not a lot
  • Add 2 tsps of dried oregano
  • Add a tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, paprika. Surprise ingredient – 1 Tbls of powdered chicken stock. I like the Ina Paarman one.
  • Add 2 Tbls tomato paste
  • Stir through and cook making sure you move the mince around the entire pan. It will start to stick and it will look like it's starting to burn. This stage is very important for the building of the flavour. Remember this for ALL your mince dishes in future. That's the big pot in the background. I of course should have started in that pot. This is how this chilli got its name. To remind me to start with A BIG POT
  • I can't face wasting all that delicious flavour stuck to the pan so I used the tomatoes to "deglaze" the pan. Fancy word for scraping and softening the hard crusty bits stuck to the pan
  • These are beautiful whole peeled tomatoes found at Food Lovers Market. About R16 a can. I look out for tomatoes from Italy because theirs always taste so intense and full of flavour. I also love Divela tomatoes but the Spar price has shot up to R21 per can. I also look out for the tomatoes from Woolies when they are on special buy 4 get the cheapest one free.
  • What you are looking for when you open a can is lots of tomatoes and sauce. The cheaper versions are very watery. Some even add oil and sugar and that's a NO-NO from me
  • So back to deglazing – scrape all the residue off the bottom of the pan. Should take about 3 minutes. The crusty bits soften and get incorporated into the tomatoes
  • Mince waiting patiently
  • Add tomatoes to mince in THE BIG POT
  • Add 2 tins of water to the pot
  • Add 1 can drained black beans – simmer for 30 min
  • Prepare the peppers as you can see I used about 2/3rds of the peppers because they were large. In hind sight you could probably use the entire peppers. Stretches the meal further.
  • Cubed peppers, 3-4 chopped chilli, and 2 spring onion sliced waiting to go into THE BIG POT after 30 min
  • Interesting tip I read whilst looking through about 50 different recipes Jaime Oliver adds coffee to his chilli. I was sceptical and hesitant and couldn't remember how much so I tentatively added 2 tsps. It worked.
  • I also decided to add another can of black beans. 1 can looked lost in the BIG POT cook for a further
  • BY now 30 min have past and you can add the vegetables cook for a further 30-40min. I forgot to take photo of avo salsa.Basically chopped 2 tomatoes, half small red onion, 1 avo, handful of chopped coriander, 1 chopped spring onion, squeeze of lime salt and pepper
  • Brian chose the wine. He's our guest poster so over to him – " So, I thought this aptly named " The Smugglers Boot" wine by Richard Kershaw would suit THE BIG POT MEXICAN CHILLI. An unusual blend of Grenache/Mourvedre/Shiraz from Elgin with a very berry aspect and a slightly rough edge to compliment the chilli. The name comes from smugging vine cuttings into SA  in Wellington boots during the trade embargo Pre 1990. R218, but found it at R140 on line.
  • After cooking for 40min add 2 Tbls sour cream, handful of fresh oregano and handful of coriander. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper to your liking. I don't do it before because when a sauce is reducing the flavours intensify the longer it takes to reduce. When you add the water with the tomatoes it's quite soupy. You may like to reduce your mince so that it is very dry. This will make it very salty if you add the salt to your taste before reducing.
  • Serve in big bowls with nachos, rice or crusty bread. I had leftover pizza bread that we used to scoop up the mince. Chop a separate bowl of chillies for those who liKE it HOT I Also had a jar of mixed peppers from Old El Paso that we added on top along with the avo salsa and extra dollups of sour cream. When next I make this I'll definitely double the recipe.
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Keyword: Beef

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