Chilli con Carne

chilli recipe

Chilli is one of those meals that is really useful to have pre-made in the freezer when you need a quick meal or you can’t think what to cook. Kids love it, adults love it, even my old Dad does and he is 84!

This recipe makes a batch for you to freeze – it is as easy to make four times as much as you need and you save 80% of the energy costs as opposed to making a single meal – big win! Then, thanks to the versatility of Pac ‘n Vac you can freeze it in a Pac ‘n Vac vacuum food container and, when ready to use, put the container straight in the microwave to defrost it (don’t forget to pop the valve open but leave the lid on). Once it has defrosted then reheat in microwave. Put the chocolate in before reheating and put the lid back on but still with valve open – don’t forget) and enjoy – this really is a sumptuous and incredibly flavoursome chilli.


2 tbsp rapeseed oil (it is the best cooking oil you can get with smoke point above 238C

4 large onions, diced

3 heaped teaspoons dried chillis or 4 large green chilis if you prefer fresh (which we do!)

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

2kg lean minced beef (from your local butcher if you can)

1 beef stock cube or enough granules to make 500 ml of stock

4 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

4 x 410g cans of red kidney beans (get the ones in chilli sauce if you can)

8 tbsp tomato purée

20g of dark chocolate – Green and Blacks Dark 70% Organic is ideal

Salt to taste – sorry, and I know it is bad for you but it does bring out the flavour!

A big pan to take it all


  1. Put oil in pan and fry off the onions on a medium to high heat for five minutes. Keep stirring or they will burn. They need to be opaque when they are done
  2. Put the mince in and fry it until it is browned. Keep stirring.
  3. Next the spices: chilis, paprika and cumin. With the chilis, don’t overpower it. At first, less is more. Better to start low and then build up, so put the basic amounts in (4 fresh chilis or 3 teaspoons of dried) and you can add dried to change the heat later on.
  4. Give it all a good stir and let it meld for 5 minutes. Keep stirring
  5. Now put the tomatoes, tomato purée and beef stock in. Reduce the heat so that it simmers. Now leave it with lid on for an hour. Make sure it doesn’t dry out … if it looks like the liquid is reducing too much then put a small amount of boiling water in.
  6. Finally put the chocolate in and make sure that is melts.
  7. Switch the heat off and let it continue to cook slowly and cool down so that it is warm – at Pac ‘n Vac we are big on using all the energy that we have paid for so leaving it on the stove is a good way of doing this.

Once it has cooled down so that it is just warm, portion it up into Pac ‘n Vac boxes. They are designed to be correct weights/amount as follows:

Small 850 ml – single serving
Medium 1500ml – two servings
Large 3600ml – four good servings – in fact this would probably do five, or leftovers for one person for next day

Now, create the vacuum as per our website. Note that as the product is warm the bit of air that is left in after the vacuum is created contracts, ie warm air is denser than cold, and helps create even more vacuum.

Write on the lid with a non-permanent marker – these are great and they are water based so they come off with washing up liquid – Edding 30 Brilliant Paper Marker Pen Bullet works well.

Put in the freezer and get ready to enjoy! As well as the meal itself, you have a nice warm feeling from having saved yourself time and energy. And, as with all our recipes, the fact that Pac ‘n Vac vacuum food boxes go straight from microwave to fridge and freezer and then the dishwasher afterwards means you don’t need separate sets of containers.