A Chilli Night (With Chocolate)
Ok, so - full disclaimer - there is no chocolate. The reference in the title should actually be to cocoa but that sounds less alluring, and I wanted to get your attention for a minute. And if I still have it, I'd like to propose a recipe for a bowl of comforting, filling and nutritious chilli. Like most recipes I put together, this one was a result and reflects the contents of our much-beloved weekly vegetable box from Growing Communities, which makes it seasonal and encourages me to experiment and explore new flavour combinations. It also means that we rarely have exactly the same combination of ingredients in the chilli. With that in mind, I have included suggestions for alternative ingredients in case you do not have the same veg knocking about and, as always, to encourage you to try your own ideas out. We served this with quinoa, but brown rice works just as well. There are countless variations of a chilli, so by all means, add chopped bell pepper, corn and carrots or whatever else 'belongs' in a chilli.
- 3 X cups of cooked beans (or two cans with their liquid, see bellow), I used pinto, but substitute with whichever variety you fancy.
- 1 X cup of the beans cooking liquid or 1 X cup of water (in addition to the below)
- 4 X cups of water
- 1 large piece of crown prince squash. Substitute with a small butternut squash, acorn squash or a medium to large sweet potato
- 1 X large onion
- 2 X cloves garlic
- 1 X handful of purple kale (100g). Substitute with cavolo nero, curly kale or any type of cabbage.
- 1 X stick of celery
- 4 X tbs olive oil
- 2 X tbs apple cider vinegar, or any vinegar you have.
- 1 X cup of tomato passata
- 1 X tbs chipotle, or paprika (use more if you like, we keep it mild so that Baby Green can enjoy it as well)
- 1 X tbs bouillon
- 1 X tbs cumin
- 1 X tbs cocoa
- 2 X tsp salt
Roasting the squash:
- Preheat oven to 200 C.
- Peel and chop the squash into slightly larger than bite-size pieces as the pieces will shrink as they cook. This is good because the flavours of the squash intensify as it cooks, and the pieces begin to char.
- Toss the squash pieces with 2 tbs of the olive oil, 1 tbs of chipotle, and 1 tsp salt on a roasting tray.
- Space the squash so that the pieces do not touch, it is best not to overcrowd the pan in order to prevent them from stewing and becoming mushy.
- Place into a preheated oven for 30 min. I find 30 min to be perfect, but ovens vary, so keep an eye on them after 25 min. (I use a timer). I also just leave them to it, avoiding the need to turn the pieces.
- Chop and dice the celery and onion and gently saute over a medium heat in the remaining two tbs of olive oil. They should soften and the onion should slightly char/caramelize.
- Chop the garlic and add towards the last minute of the saute.
- Once the onion, celery and garlic are softened and caramelized, add the apple cider vinegar to deglaze the pot and use it to scrape the bottom of the pot
- Add the passata, the beans and their liquid, the water, more chipotle/paprika if you like, cumin, cocoa, bouillon and salt.
- Bring to a gentle boil and add the roasted squash and simmer gently for up to two hours in a covered pot (I use a dutch oven).
Cook quinoa or rice according to package instructions. Usually 2 cups water to 1 cup rice/quinoa.
Serve with a squeeze of lime and chopped fresh coriander.