Concession Card Cooking: Chili Con Carne

Welcome to Concession Card Cooking!
Each month, I’ll present you with a recipe that’s cheap and easy to cook—a perfect student feed.

Words and Photo by Nathaniel Seddon-Smith

Student life is tough. You move out of home (or at least the cool ones do), then suddenly POW! Bills! BAM! Responsibility! WHACK! Studies! Then of course, the toughest challenge of all: living without mum’s cooking. Your once rich diet reduced to Mi Goreng seasoned with whatever was stuck to the bottom of the bowl. Breakfast becomes optional, then non-existent, and the closest thing to salad you have is the mould that thrives in the jar of god-knows-what at the back of the fridge.

But now, the time has come for you to break out of the vicious cycle of subsistence and malnutrition. This is an intervention to cure you, my readers, of your culinary heresy. But you can’t go straight from microwave to Masterchef. You need some training wheels and a helpful father figure to give you the metaphorical push in the right direction.

To find them, we take a trip to the faraway land of Mexico. We can all learn something from Mexico: it is a simple country, filled with simple people, and the currency is Marijuana. Mexican culture is often horribly misunderstood: contrary to popular opinion, they do not spend their days wearing ponchos and sombreros, eating tacos and drinking Corona. In fact, for the average Méxicano, Chili is a major part of their diet, both con carne or sin carne (they also have much better taste in beer). This Aztec delicacy is so easy it can be cooked by any gringo, whether you’re the type that swears a lot in the kitchen because you’re Gordon Ramsay or because you’ve set the pan on fire. Best of all, it’s cheaper per serving than anything you’ll find at Maccas.

 Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)

  • 500g Beef Mince (Replace with lentils or beans for a vegetarian option)
  • 2 Onions
  • 2 Cans Chopped Tinned Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Baked Beans or Four Bean Mix
  • Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder
  • Rice (Long Grain best)
  • Cooking Oil


  1. Dice the onions and fry them in a spoonful of oil until they’re pale and soft
  2. Add the mince to the same pan. Break the slab up a bit as it cooks to help it cook more evenly.
  3. When the meat is all brown, empty the frying pan into a large cooking pot. Add the tomatoes, beans and seasoning. Add as much chili powder as you want, but don’t ditch it altogether – it adds to the flavour (you sook).
  4. Mix it all up and put it on a high heat until it’s bubbling a little. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. While the chili cooks, wash and cook the rice (about half a cup of raw rice per person).
  6. By the time the rice is done, the chili should be cooked. Stick them both on a plate and chow down amigo.

If you’re feeling a bit fancy, fry some garlic with the onions, then add some chicken stock and mixed herbs with the other ingredients.

¡Buen Provecho!