Camping Chilli Con Carne

Camper Staff — 21 November 2019
Make camp cooking as easy as you can for yourself by embracing the simplicity of packet mixes.

Your camper trailer may be decked out with a brilliant shelving system in the pantry near the kitchen, the sort of easy-to-organise arrangement you’d adore at home. But the second you hit corrugations, it’s like an earthquake hitting.

Glass cracks. Bottles find a way to turn themselves upside down and undo their lids. Plastic splits and releases disturbing unidentified liquids into your crockery and tea towels. We all have a horror story or two about this happening.

So why not embrace unassuming packet mix? Packet mixes are so easy to open (much easier than unscrewing a jar of sauce), you’d assume they’d burst into flames the second you went offroad. But these sturdy suckers have a way of staying intact. Besides, they free up your storage space. No more lugging around the 500g dispenser of oregano you use a pinch of every blue moon. Without further ado, let’s run through the making of Chilli Con Carne using a packet mix.

Picture Credit: Robyn Mackenzie/Getty Images.

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4


  • Packet mix of Chilli Con Carne flavour (for example, Continental)
  • 500g mince beef
  • Cooking oil
  • 1 x Onion
  • 1 x 440g tin of kidney beans
  • 1 x 440g tin of crushed/chopped tomatoes
  • Small tin of corn
  • 1 x celery stick
  • White or jasmine rice (approx 2 cups uncooked)
  • Sour cream to serve
  • Avocado to serve


Add oil to a pan and start frying your mince on a low flame. Dice up your onion and celery while this cooks. Once the meat is nearly browned, add in the celery and onion. Monitor the lot and when the meat is brown and the veggies have softened, add in the tin of tomatoes, along with the Chilli Con Carne pre-mix.

Directions will vary depending on the mix but some will ask you to add some water at this point to soften up the sauce. The Contintenal pack mix I tend to use asks for a quarter of a cup, but you’ll sometimes need a bit more. Stir the sauce until the sauce thickens right up. This’ll usually take about another 15 minutes. Keep the flame on low the whole time.

Drain and wash the kidney beans and drain the corn. Then add these in when five minutes of cooking remain (as in, 10 minutes after adding the sauce). 

Rice is the trickiest part of the meal, believe it or not. If your camper has a 240V inverter you should be able to run a rice cooker, even if the inverter is small, say 600W. Of course, you might not want to be lugging a rice cooker around. Talk about things smashing!

Very few campers have microwaves because of their massive energy demands, but cooking via microwave is another option. Alternatively, the option most will take is cooking rice on the cooktop. In this case I’d advise boiling the water before adding rice. You can always use a few thick-sliced pieces of tiger loaf with butter if you prefer.

Finally, serve the cooked meal with a dollop of sour cream and some sliced avocado. 


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