Autumn means many things to me; new cosy knitwear, burning log fires and good red wine, and also a change in my usual recipe repertoire to embrace the new season.
Since moving house and inheriting several apple trees, the first sign of autumn is the smell of apple crumble baking in my oven, the second is when the Le Creuset gets bubbling on the hob with a good chilli con carne slowly heating through. Don’t be fooled though, we all know I’m no domestic goddess.

Chilli con carne ingredients
It seems most people have their own chilli recipe or their own secret ingredient they add to their spicy stew to make it a cut above the rest.

Chilli sauce

Lorna favours Nigella’s super quick Chorizo and Sweet Chilli using, you guessed it, a jar of sweet chilli sauce for maximum flavour in minimum time.

Balsamic Vinegar

Lottie uses a glug of balsamic vinegar in her cooking pot. Balsamic vinegar and tomatoes seem to be best mates and the acidity of the vinegar really adds a tangy taste to the humble dish.

Dark Chocolate

Laura uses a sprinkling of dark chocolate in her chilli to add rich colour and depth to the flavour.

For the Veggie

As many of you know I don’t eat red meat so my chilli is usually packed with lentils and beans. I am a big fan of Jamie’s sweet potato chilli though I deviate slightly (I know, I’m such a rebel) and use all the spice mix on the pototoes and just use coriander and chill in the main dish.


My husband swears by a very finely chopped carrot chunks in his meat chillies to balance out the flavours.

Chilli con carne ingredients

So what are you putting in your chilli? Do you like a good slurp of red wine? A dash of Worcestershire sauce maybe? Let us know your secret ingredient (and at what point you add it the dish) and favourite chilli con carne recipe. I bet it’ll make me want to make one for tonight’s dinner.

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