Tuesday, 6 November 2007

It's A Bit Chilli

Even in these British days of seasonal uncertainty, it is fair to say that winter is setting in. The heating has been on for the last few days and the walk up to nursery each day has seen us clad in hats and mittens. I love it when it gets a bit chilly. Not too cold, just cold enough for me to bring out my vast collection of coats from the cupboard. Did I tell you that coat collecting was a passion of mine? I'll leave that for another time.

I've gone overkill on the pumpkin to the extent of eating it every day for the last 2 weeks. Time for a change of vegetable. Root vegetables are in such abundance, I thought it was time to make a delicious spicy vegetarian dish to warm us through. A nice chilli con carne, that classic Mexican dish of meat and kidney beans. But with all of this veg, I thought it would be a good idea to play on the basic theme of a chilli but leave out the meat and pack it with vegetables.

This is one of those dishes that can be experimented with. It is so good for you, and the spices lend themselves to most vegetables, as long as you don't overcook certain ones. So if you still have a courgette, ensure it goes in right near the end to maintain a crunch. A good handful of strong cheddar scattered over the top makes this a chilli that even the most determined of meat eaters would love. A flavour packed healthy chilli for chilly people, just what the doctor ordered.

Veggie Chilli
Feeds 4

2 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Carrots, peeled and cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 Courgette, cubed
1 tin of Kidney Beans
A few handfuls of frozen peas
1 tin of tomatoes
4 handfuls of green lentils, soaked for 1 hour
500ml of vegetable stock,
1 tbps tomato purée
2 tsps cumin seeds
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp groundnut oil
Salt and pepper

1 - Heat up the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes until soft, then add the garlic, oregano and spices and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant.
2 - Add the vegetables except for the courgette, pureé and lentils and cook stirring for another 5 minutes.
3 - Add the tomatoes and cocoa powder and enough stock to make a reasonably loose stew. Bring to the boil and cook for 30 minutes.
4 - Add the courgette and cook for a further 5 minutes, then finally the peas and cook for 5 minutes. Test to see that the lentils are cooked.
5 - Taste for seasoning. Serve scattered with cheddar cheese and a dollop of creme fraiche or yoghurt.

12 comments:

Antonia said...

What a co-incidence. I also made chilli last night. Mine was a more traditional version though with beef. This vegetarian suggestion looks great though, so maybe I'll give it a try next time I fancy something a bit more healthy!

Wendy said...

Like Antonia, I've been in a chilli place recently too. Made an enormous pot for my friends at the weekend (a meaty one) and also tried out a vegetable recipe from Elise's blog - Simply Recipes. It was spectacular!
Look forward to trying your version.

theboydonefood said...

we were just talking about chilli earlier. Guess it's that time of year - nice touch with the cocoa powder by the way - will be adding that next time round.

Magic Cochin said...

I was just thinking "what shall we have for supper tonight?" and you've come up with the perfect answer - chilli non carne! Thank you David! I can use one of the little red chillis growing in a pot on the kitchen window sill. I wonder if Cliff will detect the cocoa powder?

Celia :)

Magic Cochin said...

Delicious!!!!

Celia :) & Cliff :)

Magic Cochin said...

Delicious!!!!

Celia :) & Cliff :)

David Hall said...

Glad you enjoyed it Celia! Was the cocoa detected? It shouldn't. It is subtle but essential.

Cheers
David

Hannah said...

Chilli looks lovely
A completely unrelated question, have you ever put chocolate chips in a traditional fruit cake? Trying to decide whether this would be nice or not and wondered what you thought!

Magic Cochin said...

I knew cocoa is used in chilli dishes but hadn't tried it before. No, Cliff didn't guess! I told him after he'd eaten his first helping. The cocoa made the sauce darker richer and smoother, this is a really satisfying veggie dish!

I slightly varied things and used what I had available - home grown Winter Festival Squash, carrot, parsnip, chopped tomatoes, red lentils (no need to soak), home grown runner beans from the freezer and a can of red kidney beans. And of course the red chilli straight off the plant! Should've used 2 but I was being cautious!

Thanks again
Celia

David Hall said...

Hi Celia - yes, people do think it is weird that chocolate is on a savoury dish but the Mexicans have been doing it since day 1 so it has to be good! I think it does enrichen the sauce. But of course we have some great savoury recipes over here that include chocolate, it goes so well with game.

Hannah, any topic that is about chocolate is worth chatting about! I have added chocolate to a normal fruit cake recipe nand it works. A few bits of chopped up 70% would have been amazing in that apple cake recipe you have up there now. Go for it!

Cheers
David

Sarah G said...

Hi David - I've made a few veggie chillis in my time and this is definitately one of the best. I have trouble getting sweet potatoes here in France but I have a huge glut of squash and a 17kg pumpkin my neighbour gave me so I used some of those instead. France is generally great for ingredients but there are things that are impossible to find, cocoa being one of them. I scraped the dregs of an old tin for this recipe, but that's it now. I don't want to miss this out as it seems to help enrich the sauce and give it a slightly bitter sweetness which goes well with those winter veg and the other spices. Do you think I could use grated 70% chocolate next time? If so, how much do you reckon - a dessertspoon or so?

Thanks, and congrats on the great blog - I think I was the first to delicious it (how appropriate!)

Sarah

Sarah G said...

Hi David - I've made a few veggie chillis in my time and this is definitately one of the best. I have trouble getting sweet potatoes here in France but I have a huge glut of squash and a 17kg pumpkin my neighbour gave me so I used some of those instead. France is generally great for ingredients but there are things that are impossible to find, cocoa being one of them. I scraped the dregs of an old tin for this recipe, but that's it now. I don't want to miss this out as it seems to help enrich the sauce and give it a slightly bitter sweetness which goes well with those winter veg and the other spices. Do you think I could use grated 70% chocolate next time? If so, how much do you reckon - a dessertspoon or so?

Thanks, and congrats on the great blog - I think I was the first to delicious it (how appropriate!)

Sarah