Best of three: Chilli con carne

Updated on 05 March 2012 | 0 Comments

There's nothing better on a cold evening then coming back to a warming chilli con carne. But what makes a good chilli? Laura Rowe tests three ready-made sauces that make Mexican easy.

Uncle Ben’s Mexican Chilli Con Carne (hot)

Chilli con carnes come in all shapes and sizes – some like it hot, some like it rich, some like it meaty, others even like it boozy (try adding a splash of Jack Daniels the next time you cook yours). This jar by Uncle Ben’s is a pretty good all-rounder for the ever-popular dish. It contains whole chunks of tomatoes and red pepper and has depth of flavour from cumin, chillies and cocoa powder. It’s packed with whole kidney beans and so would be perfect for a traditional beef chilli or vegetarians.

Best for? Those that like it hot. While this won’t blow your brains out it was definitely the spiciest in our taste test and could easily be pepped up with an extra Bird’s Eye chilli, or two. tip: For extra smoky heat fry some dried whole chillies in oil before adding your minced beef. For tips on choosing the right chillies for you, visit the Clifton Chilli Club.

How much? A 500g jar of Uncle Ben’s Mexican Chilli Con Carne (hot) currently costs £1.76 at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, and £1.50 at Asda.

Homepride Chilli

One of the best things about chilli con carne is its versatility. Its rich tomato sauce base makes it a perfect partner for everything from a jacket potato to steamed rice or tortilla chips. This cook-in sauce from Homepride speeds up the process. It’s medium in heat and has a gentle smokiness. The jar promises kidney beans, although in our test jar there wasn’t one to be found.

Best for? Those that like it sweet and smoky. tip: A chilli is a great meal to make for all the family. Cook a big bowlful and plonk it in the middle of the table sprinkled with fresh, sliced red chillies and plenty of chopped coriander. If you’re going all out, why not add a bowl of grated cheddar, creme fraiche, and homemade guacamole alongside your rice or crisps.

How much? A 500g jar of Homepride Chilli costs £1.59 at Sainsbury’s, £1.49 at Tesco and £1.34 at Asda.

WeightWatchers Chilli Con Carne

While this Mexican dish can feel really indulgent, it doesn’t have to interfere with the diet plan. This sauce was dark in colour and had a real beefy flavour. It certainly didn’t pack as big a punch as the rest of our sauces but it did have the least calories, fat, sugar and salt.

Best for? Those watching their weight. Leave out the extras and just enjoy this with a small portion of brown rice and salad. tip: If you really want to keep this dish low in calories, swap the beef mince for Quorn.

How much? A 350g jar of the WeightWatchers Chilli Con Carne costs £1.39 at Sainsbury’s, and £1.48 at Tesco and £1.48 at Asda.


You may also like

Best of three: Korma sauces

Best of three: Tomato and basil pasta sauces 

Best of three: Basil pestos 


Be the first to comment

Do you want to comment on this article? You need to be signed in for this feature

Copyright © All rights reserved.