Comforting Chilli

 

We all have our go-to comfort food, and for me it’s making this hearty vegetable chilli. There’s nothing more perfect than cooking this during the winter season as it warms you up and is packed full of vitamins and minerals. Just the thing to help you beat any cold.

I have created 2 versions of this recipe: one with beans, and the other substitutes the beans for sweet potatoes. This way if anyone has a allergy to beans they can enjoy this delicious recipe too.

One of the great things about this recipe is that you can make the chilli as hot and smoky as you like. If you’re not really into spices you can use less, or if you love spicy thing you can add more. However, when doing this I would highly recommend using the minimum amount on the recipe and taste testing to make sure you are happy with the quantities, this way you can add more if you want. It’s far easier to add spices if you need to then to correct an imbalance.

Additionally, you don’t have to chopped up the vegetables perfectly. I love to roughly chop them to give it a bit more of a rustic look.

A few tips before we get started: it’s easier to use a stock pot for this recipe, but if you don’t have one a large sauce an will work. There’s a lot of vegetables, so make sure your sauce pan is big enough – or if in doubt use 2 sauce pans and divide the chilli if it is easier. And lastly, during the cooking time make sure to take the pan off the heat before stirring, this way you will avoid the chilli spitting at you.

 

Below is the full recipe and some reheating and freezer tips that have been tried and tested by me. I hope you enjoy!

 Recipe

Cook time: roughly 2 – 2.5 hours

Servings: 6 – 8 (depending how hungry you are!)

 

Ingredients

1 white onion chopped

3-4  peppers roughly cut into 1″ pieces

200g sliced mushrooms (I use chestnut mushrooms)

2 carrots sliced (and halved if pieces are too big)

1 courgette sliced 0.5 – 1cm thick and then quartered

1 tin of unsweetened sweetcorn (drained)

300g quorn mince

3 tbsp corn flour (heaped)

75ml soy sauce (I use Blue Dragon’s reduced salt)

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 tin kidney beans in chilli sauce (I get mine form Sainsbury’s) or 2-3 sweet potatoes, cubed

500ml vegetable stock (or a stock cube with 500ml of water)

1½ – 2 tsp paprika

1½ – 2½ tsp mild chilli powder

 1 tsp hot chilli powder

salt & pepper

vegetable oil

¼ – ½ tsp smoked paprika (optional)

a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

 

Serving options: eat it by itself or have with rice, or tortilla chips, or why not add some more spice by adding your favourite hot sauce.

 

Method

 1. Prep a large saucepan or preferably a stock pot by adding some vegetable oil (usually around 2 tbsp) and putting it on a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and let them saute for a few minutes – keep an eye on them incase they catch. If you haven’t already, remove your quorn mince from the freezer.

2. Add the carrots (and sweet potatoes if you’re using those instead of the kidney beans) and let them cook for a further few minutes. Then add the remaining vegetables (peppers, courgette and mushrooms), leave the sweet corn for the time being, and stir. Put the lid on your pan / stock pot and let them cook for 3 minutes. Stir half way through. Afterwards stir in the sweetcorn.

3. If the quorn mince still feels frozen solid give it a little bash on the kitchen counter so that the most of the mince is separated. Now add the mince to your pan and stir.

4. Add 2 tbsp corn flour and stir so that it covers all the other ingredients. Once all of the flour has disappeared add in the last tbsp and stir well again. The ingredients should look coated and slightly sticky looking.

5. Add in the tins of chopped tomatoes one at a time, stirring well. Additionally add the soy sauce and stir again.

6. Once all of these ingredients have been combined it’s now time to add in your vegetable stock – you can use a stock cube or liquid stock, it doesn’t matter. You want all the ingredients to be almost covered with stock, but not submerged. If your ingredients are not covered enough add some more water.

7. Now it’s time to leave your chilli to work it’s magic for about an hour. You’ll need to keep an eye on it and stir it well every 7-10 minutes. Do not put the lid on as you want the some of the water to evaporate. Additionally you will need to have the extractor fan on – this will help the evaporation process.

8. Go to step 9 if you are using sweet potatoes instead of kidney beans in chilli sauce. If however you are using the kidney beans in chilli sauce: After an hour has gone by add in the beans and stir well.

9. You can also add in the spices, salt and pepper. You can add as much hot chilli powder as you like, but the amount I have in this recipe usually suits most people’s tastes as is not too spicy. However if you like hot and spicy things consider adding some more hot chilli powder and / or cayenne pepper. Add some smoked paprika if you fancy a slightly smoky flavour.

10. Stir everything well and leave for a further hour / hour and a half. You’ll need to keep an eye on your chilli and stir it every 7-10 minutes. If your chilli starts to catch on the bottom of the pan turn down the heat to a low-medium. After the second hour has passed check on your chilli and see whether you think it needs an extra half an hour. It all depends on how thick you want your chilli. For me I cook it for the whole 2.5 hours and 8/10 times it’s the perfect consistency.

 

You can either serve this by itself, which is what I do most of the time, or you can pair it with rice aka the traditional combo, or have tortilla chips as a great accompaniment.

Reheating tips: If you have any leftover that you want to eat the next day or two after cooking, put the chilli in air tight containers and put them in the fridge. To reheat put the chilli in a saucepan with a small splash of water – this will help the chilli not to catch on the bottom of the pan. You will have to stir it on occasions. Make sure the chilli is bubbling and hot all the way through before serving.

Freezing tips: If you plan to freeze any leftovers make sure you allow the chilli to cool down before putting it into freezer safe containers. This chilli can last for a few months in the freezer. When you want to eat it make sure you take it out of the freezer in the morning so that it has time to defrost. This isn’t necessary, but it cuts down on cooking time. Also, when reheating the chilli add a splash or two of water. I find that this way not only helps the chilli not to catch on the bottom of the pan, but it helps to heat the chilli all the way through.

 

I hope you like this recipe! For more recipes check out my food section here.

 

 

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