So, it’s Saturday afternoon, it’s bitterly cold outside, the wind is howling and blasting the sleet and snow horizontally at the kitchen window, so what are you going to cook? Why, chilli of course! What could be lovelier than a big steaming bowl of spicy, beany, veggie loveliness when the weather is so downright unfriendly? And could there be a more profitable way to spend a bleak winter afternoon?
So having amassed a bunch of stuff on the chopping board, it was time to get started. I toasted two teaspoons of cumin seeds and two teaspoons of coriander seeds in a dry pan on the hob. When they started smelling beautifully aromatic, I threw them in the pestle and ground them up with a dried chilli. I have some ferociously hot chilli peppers which I brought back from Sorrento so I only used one. You use what you have and to your taste. Then I started chopping up all the veg you see on the board. So
far, so normal, but I’m calling this Gold Standard chilli for a reason and this is it. It doesn’t look like much (photo angle) but there is a good 450g of butternut squash there, left over from another recipe. So chop that in as well until you have a big pan full of lovely veg – a very zen-like thing to do on a winter’s afternoon.
To that, I added a good slug of EVOO and slowly sautéed off the veg for quite a long time to build up the flavour base. When everything was soft, I tossed in the spice mix and cooked it all for another couple of minutes before adding a small tin of sweetcorn kernels, two
tins of red kidney beans, approximately a litre of tomato passata, 4 teaspoons of veggie bouillon powder and about a teaspoon of salt (or to taste). Fresh or frozen corn would probably be better than tinned, but I didn’t have any. Then I put the lid on the pan, brought everything up to the boil, turned down the heat to a simmer and left it for an hour. After an hour or so, taste the chilli, adjust the seasoning to taste and stir in about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar – it kind of cuts through the sweetness of the squash and the sweetcorn. This was absolutely
lovely reheated a couple of hours later and even better the next day. It makes a HUGE quantity, so there is plenty to box up and stash away in the fridge or freezer for later on in the week/month, which is exactly what I’ve done. It’s great by itself, over brown rice, whole wheat cous cous, bulgar wheat or a baked sweet or white potato. Or you could top it with mash – either ordinary potato, sweet potato or a celeriac/cauliflower/potato combo and call it Mexican Shepherd’s Pie. Whatever you do with it, you can be sure that you are treating your body to pure, wholesome, vegan and absolutely delicious nourishment. And winter won’t seem nearly so bad when you are on the outside of a bowl of this!
- 1 large white onion finely chopped
- Two large carrots diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 3 large cloves of garlic minced
- 1 small or half a large butternut squash, peeled and diced
- Around 250g of sweetcorn kernels
- 2 x 400g tins of red kidney beans in water (organic if you can get them – or swap one of the tins for black beans – just as delicious and a change of texture)
- 2 x 500g cartons of tomato passata or a 1 litre jar
- 2 heaped teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 heaped teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 – 2 dried chillis (or to taste – start small and add in)
- 4 teaspoons veggie bouillon powder (I used Marigold Organic)
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar