It’s getting chili!

Mum's chili with jacket potato and salad provided by me. The potato is in there somewhere!
Mum’s chili with jacket potato and salad provided by me. The potato is in there somewhere!

It is one of my ultimate comfort foods and I’m cranking up the frequency of chili consumption as the weather in London gets flipping cold!! I cannot give you exact measurements of ingredients because I always just wing it, but I’ll explain what I usually do…roughly. I usually end up cooking enough for four people, so let’s go with that! Here are the basics you need to know to make a superb chili.

  1. Like any good dish, start by frying chopped onion and garlic in a large frying pan. One white onion and how ever much garlic you like. I’d do around 2 large cloves. Chuck in some salt, pepper and a hefty sprinkling of paprika; at least a tablespoon.
  2. Add chopped chili pepper – your preference of chili. One whole chili should do the job; go for birds eye if you want a hot one, or one of the larger chili’s, which usually don’t pack quite as much heat. Also, including seeds make it hotter, so ditch them if you are a mega chili weed!
  3. If you are including a mince substitute, add this once the onions, garlic and chili are soft. A number of frozen supermarket minces are vegan, but look out for those which contain egg! Dried soya mince, available in health food shops, is also just fine in chili. Alternatively, you can use some cooked red split lentils if you want to avoid soya. This gives the dish a really nice texture.
  4. When the mince has browned add your beans. I can’t imagine a chili without kidney beans, they are a must. Other yummy legume friends that I would include are cannellini, haricot and butter bean which give a particularly nice bite. If all you have is a tin of baked beans, sling those in! Who’s stopping you?! I’d go for two varieties of bean with mince or three if I was leaving out the mince.
  5. Next, add a tin or two of tomatoes. Also add some tomato puree – how much depends on how rich you want it. Leave it to simmer. The longer you simmer, the tastier it will be. At least half an hour should do the job. photo

One of the most awesome things about chili is the variety of sides you can have with it. Displayed in this array of photos are; rice, baked potato, wedges – sweet potato wedges go particularly well – salad, guacamole, nachos, tacos. Sprinkle some vegan cheese on the top and get it on there as soon as it’s plated up so that it melts. WAAAAA!

Its such a great dish to leave in the slow cooker while you’re at work and is lovely to photo 2 (1)share with friends and family. I learnt this recipe from my lovely mum, who, luckily for me, makes a mean vegan version (which she and my dad now regularly eat instead of a meaty one!) So now you know – get cooking and let me know how you get on!

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