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Ryan's Chilli Con Carne

Full of hearty vegetables and filling beans, a camping trip just wouldn’t be complete without a big bowl of chilli by the fire! It’s a super easy meal

to make out of pretty much standard cupboard ingredients and can feed a large group. We normally use beef mince but pork mince is also nice...


This is one of Ryan's special recipes, and so generally reserved for the occasions I'm too busy and can convince him to cook for us instead! Ryan has also become something of a chilli connoisseur of late and it's great to try using different varieties to compare the flavours! A Chipotle chilli adds a subtle smoky element so brings the taste of the fire whether or not you're actually cooking with wood, we also really enjoyed using the 'Chocolate' variety of Habenero - though they are quite hot so perhaps not for everyone! Ryan cooking up some chilli for us at the Isle of Man, have you ever seen such a loving gaze..?Ryan cooking up some chilli for us at the Isle of Man, have you ever seen such a loving gaze..?

I never used to be a fan of chilli, in fact I was a complete chicken when it came to anything hot or with an even remotely spicy flavour, but Ryan started me off easy with a light version of this recipe. It being very similar to a bolognaise, I realised that there was nothing much to fear, and then he gradually turned up the heat over the years until I experienced my first chilli 'high' - and loved it! Who'd have known? I'm still not a fan of hot sauce as it is, but now I'll happily find a way to incorporate chilli into most recipes.


Cheeky cheat! Pre-mix the spices in a zip-lock bag or a small tub before you travel if you don’t wish to bring the entire spice rack with you...



1/2 cup/tin of kidney beans, or 1/4 cup of dried kidney beans (soaked overnight)

approx. 200g baked beans

400g tinned tomatoes

1 tbsp. tomato puree (optional)

1 onion

400g beef mince

1 beef stock cube

1/2 romano / bell pepper

1 or 2 chilli's (depending on heat & flavour preference) / 1 tbsp. of chilli powder or flakes

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp paprika (smoked if you like)

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cumin


olive/coconut oil for frying

salt and pepper to taste

+ choice of rice / potato to serve

optional: cooling yogurt or cream cheese



1. If using dried kidney beans (soaked overnight), boil for 1 hour to cook thoroughly. If you're opting to serve with a baked potato get those cooking now...

2. Finely chop the veg and brown the mince in a hot pan with some oil and the stock cube crumbled over.

3. Turn the heat down slightly and add the onion, pepper, and chilli, continue to fry whilst stirring for a couple of minutes until slightly softened.

4. Stir in the garlic and spices and season well. Pour over the tomatoes, puree, and beans and top up with water to barely cover the ingredients.

5. Simmer gently for 20 mins, stirring regularly, until veg is completely soft.  

6. Mash sections of the chilli with the back of your spoon or fork to help create a slightly thicker sauce and ladle over your choice of rice or potato. Finish with a dollop of cooling yogurt or soft cheese if you like...

Enjoy the warmth like a camp fire for your belly!

 Buy a Dutch Oven set on Amazon now!Buy a Dutch Oven set on Amazon now!

This recipe is perfect for cooking in a cast iron pot suspended over the embers, you can buy a lovely Dutch Oven camping box set on Amazon here >

Sarah is an artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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