Mark’s Terrible Chili

in me

This recipe has been an on-and-off staple of my home cooking since 2009. Last presented here in 2013, my chili has evolved with my tastes. These days I mostly eat vegetarian food, and have gotten over my earlier distaste of kidney beans.

Montage of food prep with chili

Speaking only for myself, I’ve desensitized by palette to hot and spicy food. What I find mild will likely be oppressive and hot for someone else, and the recipe below makes a fiercely hot pot of food. Adjust the pepper and chili powder used to make this to fit your own taste. Whether or not you find this to be edible is a subjective matter of taste.


This recipe should be both low-cost and low-effort to make. Prep takes me about 30 minutes, and cooking/simmering another 90. The upfront cost and overall effort of making a pot are higher if you don’t keep a stock of spices. One you do that, the cost drops to as low as €15/week for five portions. All ingredients can be sourced from your local Tesco or Dunnes supermarket, though you’ll get far better value on spices from any Asian superstore.


  • 0.3 cup of chili powder, any heat.
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle paste.
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar.
  • 1.5 tablespoon cumin.
  • 2 teaspoon paprika.
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt to season.

Sauces and Stuff

  • 1 400g can of kidney beans.
  • 1 carton of tomato passata.
  • 1 tube of tomato paste.
  • 1 cube of vegetable stock, to make 500mg.
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Fresh Bits

Feel free to substitute something for something else. I really like mushrooms, for example. You could replace the Quorn mince with chickpeas, or diced carrots and sweet bell peppers instead of mushrooms.

  • 350g pack of Quorn mince.
  • 1 hot chili pepper of respectable heat.
  • 250-300g mushrooms of any variety.
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic.
  • 1 white onion.



  1. Dice onion, garlic and pepper. Slice or dice mushrooms as your prefer.
  2. Measure dry spices into a bowl and mix.
  3. Lay out tomato passata, paste and can of kidney beans.
  4. Boil kettle of water.
  5. Drain and rinse can of kidney beans in sieve.


  1. Add oil to pot on medium heat.
  2. Add diced onion until it begins to caramelize.
  3. Add diced garlic, pepper and chipotle paste.
  4. Add mushrooms and quorn.
  5. Add mixed bowl of spices and vegetable stock.
  6. Add carton of tomato passata and paste to thicken per your tastes.
  7. Increase heat to bring to boil, then reduce to simmer.
  8. Taste chili. Add anything you feel the chili needs: more cumin, stock, water, brown sugar or chili powder as you feel fit.
  9. Reduce heat and leave to cook. Stir regularly, taste and add whatever the chili needs.
  10. Leave the kidney beans until the very last, about 15 minutes before you take it off the heat to serve. Mix those in when you’re ready.
  11. Take off heat and serve.


Serve the chili with whatever you like. This goes great with a cilantro garnish, sourdough baguette and butter, sour cream, tortilla chips, or rice. Use whatever works for you.

Six Months in the Mountain Kingdom

in me

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