To be honest it was too hot to cook during the recent heatwave in June but we both needed feeding. I couldn’t be bothered to get dressed and go shopping although sitting in the air conditioned car was great. So, I had a ferret in my cupboard and came up with this “chilli.”
Purists will argue that it’s not a chilli however my beloved said that this deep and smoky, dark and dirty vegan chilli recipe was best and the richest he’d ever tasted – praise indeed. The depth of flavour comes from the mushroom powder, but is boosted by untraditional ingredients such as balsamic vinegar, star anise and coffee. You should absolutely leave it gently bubbling away if you have the time. It’s so, so good – you’ll be bowled over by the end result. Feel free to substitute!
Ingredients (serves 6, will stretch to 8 if you serve it with rice)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 4 fat garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium carrot chopped
- ½ tsp red chilli paste
- bunch fresh coriander or parsley (finely chopped including stalks)
- 1 large red pepper skinned and sliced into strips
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp dried mushroom powder (reduce dried mushrooms to powder in grinder)
- 2 medium tins chopped tomatoes or large jar passata
- 1 medium jar chick peas (garbanzo beans)
- 1 medium jar black beans or two husks of fresh corn
- 2 tbsp strong black coffee
- 1 tsp chipotle chilli powder
- 1 tsp acho chilli powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp smoked hot paprika
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 star anise
- 1 bay leaf
1. Put the dried mushrooms in the grinder and pulse until reduced to a fine powder.
2. Peel and chop the onions and chop the carrot. Peel and mince the garlic. Remove the leaves from the coriander and set aside. Finely chop the stalks. Cut the pepper in half and cut out the stem and seeds and cut into thin slices.
3. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a large saucepan. Once it is hot, add the chopped onions and garlic and cook gently for 5-10 minutes. Add the chopped carrot, finely chopped coriander (or parsley) stalks and the spice mix, and cook gently for 5-10 minutes, making sure you stir constantly so that the spices are well mixed and coat all the vegetables.
4. Add the red pepper slices and tomato purée to give a rich colour and depth of flavour. Pour in the coffee and balsamic vinegar and turn up the heat to high. Stir constantly until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds and the pan is deglazed. Now add the chopped tomatoes (or passata) and the mushroom powder and simmer for 5 minutes, until the sauce is noticeably thicker.
5. Drain the chick peas/beans – don’t forget to save the aquafaba – and take the corn off the husk and add them to the pan. Stir everything together really well and then reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer. Leave this bubbling away with the lid off, stirring occasionally until it’s reduced to the right thickness (at least 45 minutes). You can leave it bubbling for longer to deepen the flavours, adding more water if needed to keep the right consistency.
6. Taste to check the seasoning adding more salt and pepper or a squeeze or lemon or lime juice as needed. When it’s ready, remove the bay leaf and star anise. Stir the coriander leaves into the chilli and serve with guacamole, sour cream, rice, coleslaw, corn chips, whatever……………………………….you fancy!
7. If there’s any left. Refrigerate once cool, it’ll keep for a couple of days in the fridge or in the freezer for a month.