Corned Beef Chilli

Everyone’s got a tin of corned beef lurking in their cupboards somewhere

I’ve always admired Jack Monroe’s passion and determination for campaigning on poverty issues and hunger relief. She’s also a genius at being able to create budget, home-cooked meals out of virtually nothing using staple, canned ingredients. Corned Beef Chilli from her book, Tin Can Cook, is nothing fancy, but it’s an education in demonstrating what you can rustle up using a few tins that may be gathering dust in your cupboard.

Using strong tea as a substitute for red wine was a bridge too far for me, but it goes to show that there’s usually a substitute for something if you use your imagination. This is the second book from Jack I’ve purchased but the first recipe I’ve actually tried. In truth, it was unremarkable in taste but I’m sure they’ll be some hidden gems elsewhere that I’ll eventually stumble across. The recipe states it will serve 6-8, but 6 is more realistic, and even then you’ll need to bulk it out with mash, rice or garlic bread, as I chose to.

I, like many others, take fresh ingredients for granted and, at times, believe they are far superior to cheaper, canned equivalents. But that isn’t necessarily the case, and it’s about time all of us opened our eyes, particularly in times of hardship. If you love corned beef, check out corned beef hash which is a big, comfort food favourite of mine during Winter. Or, if you want a more conventional chilli, have a look at chilli con carne instead.

Recipe: Corned Beef Chilli

Calories:  No calories listed in the book but I estimate approx 377 per serving without rice or mash

Serves: 6-8

Book: Jack Monroe – Tin Can Cook

Prep time: Approx 15 mins

Cooking time: Approx 30 mins


  • 2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (or 100g sliced frozen onions)
  • 6 large garlic cloves, crushed (or equivalent frozen garlic or 3 tbsp garlic paste)
  • 350g tin corned beef (or any other tinned meat), grated
  • 400g tin kidney beans (or any other beans or frozen peas), drained and rinsed
  • 400g tin cannellini beans (or any other beans), drained and rinsed
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes (or 1 tbsp tomato purée and 400ml beef stock)
  • 2 tbsp paprika, sweet or smoked (or chilli powder, to taste)
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin (or chilli powder, to taste)
  • 200ml red wine or strong black tea
  • 20g dark chocolate (optional)
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

To serve:

  • Cooked basmati rice, to serve (or bread, mashed potatoes or cooked pasta)

Cost per portion: Approx £1.17 (based on serving 6, using red wine and chopped tomatoes)


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a low heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until slightly softened and then add the corned beef and both tins of beans.

Pour in the tomatoes and add the paprika and cumin. Season with salt and pepper, stir and increase to a medium heat. Cook, stirring gently, for 7–8 minutes and then reduce the heat.

Add the wine and chocolate, if using, and continue cooking for 16–18 minutes, until glossy, dark and smelling fantastic. Serve hot with the rice.


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