Sunday, 20 January 2013

How to confuse meat-eaters: Chili con beanie

Come on, he's cute. Even
George grudgingly admits it...
Last Sunday was an exciting occasion for the Hill family, as my very cute (but I'm biased) six-month old nephew Elijah was dedicated at church. For those not quite used to the way us happy-clappies operate, it's a bit like a Baptism or Christening, but sans water and a fair amount of liturgy. Anyway, we all trundled off to the church hall afterwards, where my brother had 120 potatoes baking in the oven and three tonnes of chili con carne on the hobs to feed the masses.

Not wanting the veggies to be left out (or in the case of my Mum, people who pretend to be veggies when what's on offer looks nicer than the meaty version), I made a bean chili, or chili con beanie, to give it its official culinary title. 

Interestingly enough, I personally thought it tasted more like a traditional chili con carne than my brother's massive spicy American chili, even though that too was indeed delicious. It's definitely the cumin and paprika that does it, especially if you fry all the spices with the onions before adding anything else - and that goes for the 'normal' version, too. Many recipes call for dry-frying the spices before you add them to the dish, but as this just makes me sneeze like an express train I figured I'd leave it out for the sake of Elijah's guests.

Chili con beanie (or four-bean chili)

See, it almost looks like there's mince in there! Almost...
I used four types of beans for this dish, rather than three or five. Why is it that when I googled it, I could only find recipes for three- or five- bean chili? No idea, but the fact that Sainsburys had a '4 tins for £2' offer may have influenced my choices slightly!

The quantities I've provided below make enough for around 6 people with rice or 8 people with baked potatoes, although I made triple... It's moderately spicy but not raging hot.

1. Fry up 2 large chopped onions, 5 cloves of chopped garlic and 2 fresh sliced chilis in a solid-bottomed pan for a couple of minutes. I leave the seeds in my chilis, but it depends how hot yours are to start with - I'll leave that decision with you!

2. Fry until the onions are nice and soft, before adding 2 tablespoons - yes, tablespoons - of cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon of mixed spice. Mix together and fry off for a couple of minutes. 

3. Chop 6 tomatoes into fairly chunky pieces and add to the mixture. Cook for 2 minutes before adding 4 tins of beans. I used kidney beans, butter beans, flagolet beans and borlotti beans, but you could probably use just about anything you wanted, as long as you include the kidney beans. 

4. Throw in a good glug of Worcestershire sauce, lots of black pepper, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar before leaving to simmer for 45 minutes, or until 2/3 of the liquid has disappeared. 

5. Right at the end, stir in a big bunch of finely chopped coriander (oh, how I love my food processor for these bits!) and serve with rice and salad. Or 120 baked potatoes.

6. Sit back and watch the carnivores try to find the meat. Mwah ha ha ha ha...