The “chilli sans carne” con

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The first thing I like about this recipe is the title. The point is that it’s a meal without the two ingredients that define it. The twist in the tail is that it turns out not to be a con at all – it’s con carne, but only just. And everyone will ask for seconds.

What always puts me off a chilli is the meat. Tradition dictates mince, but cooked in a stew it tends to the rubbery; change to chunks of stewing beef and somehow chilli doesn’t seem the right spice, it’s sharpness grates with the softness of a tender steak.

So what to do? Do without meat?

Sort of, yes, but do not fear, Berkeley Squares isn’t going veggie. We are still the red meat of cutting-edge journalism, just more in touch with our sensitive side.

The knuckle duster is being wrapped in ermine fur; or perhaps just a duster.

Spoon of chilli pepper
Spoon of paprika
Glass of wine

Button Mushrooms
Red pepper
Kidney beans – tinned
Butter beans- tinned
4 onions
6 garlic cloves
1/2 lime
Small packet of chorizo


Fry the chorizo along with onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and carrots.
Add the paprika.
Transfer to a casserole dish and add the other ingredients, except for the chilli.
Casserole on a low heat in the oven for three hours.
Add the chilli powder for a final seven minutes of cooking then serve on a bed of rice.