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shredded meat and beans garnished with sour cream and other toppings in a blue bowl
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Cheat’s Chili Con Carne

All the slow cooked goodness of chili with minimal effort! This steam oven chili is simple and packed with flavor.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: cheats chili con carne, chili con carne
Servings: 8
Calories: 378kcal


  • 3.5 lb beef brisket a single piece
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 onion large, peeled and quartered
  • 2 dried chiles I like one each of Ancho and Guajillo, left whole
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 14 oz canned black beans 1 can, drained (if you love beans 2 cans is fine and will boost the beany content)
  • accompaniments hot sauce, fresh avocado, salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, diced peppers, tortilla chips or taco shells


  • Put the meat, fat side up, into a deep casserole dish or stainless steel pan. Tuck the garlic, onions and chillies around the meat.
  • Mix the tomato puree, spices and salt in a small bowl, then pour this around the meat, over the vegetables.
  • Put the dish into the oven and set to 120°C/250°F, combination steam setting. If your oven has variable steam settings, use 80%. If not, don't worry! Just set to combi steam at the correct temperature and the oven will figure out the humidity. There’s no need to preheat for this dish.
  • Cook until the meat is falling apart tender and the vegetables have broken down, about 3 ½ to 4 hours.
  • Let the cooked meat sit for 20 minutes, then shred with a couple of forks, discarding any large pieces of fat. Stir through the drained beans and serve as you like (suggestions above). Any leftovers will keep refrigerated for a couple of days or frozen up to 3 months.


  1. This quantity serves about 6-8 depending on accompaniments.
  2. I call this cheat’s chili because I’ve removed all the time-consuming steps you might usually follow, stripping it back to its barest components while still delivering big taste and texture. There’s no fine dicing of vegetables, no browning of meat, no toasting of dried chiles. Tex-Mex purists (is there such a thing?!) may be horrified, but if you just want to get dinner in the oven, this is the way to go. Feel free to add roughly chopped bell peppers or grated zucchini to the pot if you want to boost the veg component.
  3. My concession to gourmet ingredients is the dried Ancho and Guajillo chillies, which I really recommend not for heat, but a smokiness and depth you won’t get otherwise. They are available to mail order and better supermarkets or gourmet stores often carry them. If you can’t get any, an extra ½ tsp of regular chili powder will bring extra heat if not the complexity.
  4. We serve this in a few ways. Ladled into a bowl and topped with sour cream, cheese, diced peppers and coriander is my favourite, but the boys in my house are fans of a build-your-own taco dinner with this as the meat base. When there are leftovers which need to be stretched, we use it as nachos topping with (too much) cheese and diced pickled jalapenos.


Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 649mg | Potassium: 1001mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 446IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 6mg