Thursday, 23 September 2010

Vegetarian Chilli

I'm sorry I've been so bad with my posts lately, but I'm drowning a bit on the work-front - so bear with me, I'm telling myself it will get better soon :)
Recently everyone and their grandma seems to have been writing about chillis. I have been quite taken by Jenna's creamy chicken chilli on Eat, Live, Run which just looks gorgeous, but I've been shying away from making it because it would involve me having to cook actual chicken (so we'll save that until I feel slightly more adventurous) but with everyone talking about their mum's chilli I started thinking about my dad's chilli (he's the god of the chilli in our family) which is based on Jamie Oliver's chilli recipe from one of the first books.
So on Saturday I decided to improvise and make my own chilli con fake-carne.
I was in the flat hiding from all the freshers that have descended upon town with their parents in tow. It was nice and sunny outside but I was snuggled up in my favourite armchair with a cup of tea, this month's issue of Monocle and I had a simulation running for my current study. Good times!

Vegetarian Chilli
1cup Cannellini beans
1cup Black eyed beans
500g Vegetarian mince (I like Quorn but just use whatever you like/can find, just keep in mind that you'll want to use less if you're using dry stuff)
Olive oil
2 Onions
5 Garlic cloves (I would have used more but I ran out)
1 tbsp Chilli flakes
1 tbsp Cumin (ground, not the whole stuff)
1 tsp Oregano
3 tbsp Brown sugar
50g Dark chocolate
200g Tomato puree (the concentrated stuff)
4 cans Peeled plum tomatoes (or chopped if you're feeling particularly lazy)
250ml Red wine

Some pasta and cheese

All right, in the morning soak the beans in two separate bowls (if you're planning to make the chilli for dinner, not sure why they always tell you to soak stuff overnight, it's not like you'll be making it first thing in the least I hope you won't).
The cannellini beans will take a bit over an hour to cook, the black eyed beans will only take half an hour. I normally cook the first ones for 35-40 minutes before adding the later ones (ok, sometimes that goes a bit wrong, but hey, it's a chilli, nobody will notice some overcooked beans).
While the beans are boiling away, chop the onions and garlic, fry the onions until they're glassy, then add the garlic and wait until you can smell the amazingess of the garlic in your kitchen.
Add the mince and give it a couple of minutes.
Add the chilli flakes, cumin, oregano and brown sugar and stir.
After a minute or something add the tomato puree, stir and give it another minute.
Add the red wine and then after yet another minute add the tomatoes.
Now it's time to relax (don't forget the beans though if they're still boiling away). Give the chilli an hour or so, stirring occasionally. You'll want to add the chocolate about halfway through (i.e. whenever you remember).
After an hour or so add the drained beans and give the whole thing another 10 or 15 minutes. This is just enough time to make some pasta and to grate some cheese (normally I would have chilli with some bread but I thought I should mix it up for a change).
Season the chilli with some salt and pepper or potentially even with some marmite or vegetable stock if you feel it needs it.
Serve some pasta with a big helping of chilli and lots of unhealthy cheese.
Enjoy in the company of lovely people with a good bottle of wine :)

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