Batch cooking – Mexican style!

There is nothing quite like a bowl of chilli be it con carne or sin carne. A bowl of comfort right there. And who doesn’t like a shepherd’s style pie with plenty of mashed potato with a crispy crust. So why not have both in the week. Make a big pot of chilli – double quantities. One night, serve it with rice or tortillas. Then turn that left over chilli into a shepherds pie with a Mexican twist. Here are my recipes:

Batch Veggie Chilli

You can adapt this depending on the vegetables you have and make it as spicy as you like. Even after making the Shepherd’s pie – the recipe is below – you may still have enough for a topping for a jacket potato, to put in a thermal pot for lunch at work or to fill a burrito.


  • 2 medium red onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 medium red pepper
  • 1 medium green pepper
  • 2 cans red kidney beans
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1 large carrot
  • 120g mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2-3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika or dried chilli (optional)
  • 2 – 3 squares of dark chocolate or 2tsp of cocoa powder
  • Small bunch of fresh or frozen coriander leaves


  1. Heat some oil in the pot and add the onion.  Cook until it has softened. Add the chopped garlic.
  2. Add the other vegetables and saute for a few minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes rinsing the cans with water and adding the water to the pot. Then add the tomato puree, kidney beans, pepper, cumin and oregano.  If you would like some spicy heat then add some chilli or some smoked paprika.
  4. Simmer until the sauce has thickened. If you have some dark chocolate, add a couple of squares or add a heaped teaspoon of cocoa powder to the sauce and mix into the sauce. 
  5. Add some of the coriander leaf to the sauce and use the rest as a garnish. Frozen coriander works very well. Leftover fresh coriander can be frozen for the next time you need some.
  6. This can be served with rice, tortillas, chunky bread, jacket potato or baked sweet potato.
  7. Garnishes like sour cream or creme fraiche, guacamole, salsa and grated cheese complete the dish but you can go without.

Mexican Style Shepherd’s Pie

You could mix the potato with other root vegetables or sweet potato. You could prepare this to put in the freezer for another week. You could use leftover mash from another dinner or even make instant mash if you are pressed for time.


  • Half quantity of the Batch Veggie Chilli recipe
  • 700-800g floury potatoes
  • 15g butter/spread/oil
  • 50mls milk or milk alternative
  • 50g grated cheddar (optional)


  1. Peel and boil 700g of floury potatoes until they are soft.  Mash them with a bit of butter and some milk until they are smooth.  You could also add other root veg or sweet potato to the pan if you would like a slightly different topping.   
  1. Take an oven proof dish and half fill it with your batch cooked veggie chilli.  If you feel you have not got enough for everyone eating you could mix in a can of baked beans or chop up some tomatoes to add with a can of sweetcorn or some frozen peas.
  1. Top your chilli with your mash.  Sprinkle some grated cheese (or vegan alternative) over the top to give a nice cheesy crust and put it in the oven (190C) for about 30-40 minutes until your pie is piping hot throughout and the topping is golden and crispy.  Having the baking dish on a tray is a good idea as the sauce can bubble over – messy, hard to clean ovens are to avoided at all costs!
  1. If you are pressed for time, you can heat your pie in a microwave – again until piping hot throughout – you will just lack the crispy topping but a few minutes under a hot grill can put this right.
  1. Serve with salad or steamed veg.  A little guacamole, salsa or sour cream will be a good accompaniment if you have them.

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