I make chilli all the time, it’s a standard go-to for me when I have no idea what to cook. Perfect for portion-ing up, it gets even better after freezing. It’s also great for having loads of different ways – over rice, on toast, with a salad, shoved in the oven over some nachos, scooped out of a bowl with pitta… I definitely don’t aim for an ‘authentic’ Mexican dish, but it’s recognisably chilli (often sin carne) and absolutely delicious, as well as being really healthy if you pack it with veg.
A few necessities (I ALWAYS put these in, think of them as the ‘base’):
Tomatoes (tinned or fresh)
Beans (kidney, butter, pinto, black… who cares. I usually use tinned as I am not forward thinking enough to soak beans)
Chilli (fresh, powder, paste..)
A few exciting extras (I vary these ones up and have a play with the flavour combinations):
More beans! Or chickpeas, lentils, pulses of any kind
Any veg you want (peppers and sweetcorn are good for colour, try to avoid courgettes or anything else that goes soggy easily)
How to make it:
1. Heat a bit of oil in a large saucepan.
2. Chop up the onion and all of your veg, chunky or small depending on how you like it.
3. Add the onion to the hot oil and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the carrots (and any other really ‘solid’ veg). Fry for a couple more minutes. If you’re adding mince, this is the point to chuck it in and stir lots.
4. Add the rest of the veg, except for anything that only needs a couple minutes cooking – like spinach or peas. You should add these right at the end so they don’t go all soggy in the chilli.
5. Add the tinned (or freshly chopped) tomatoes – the chilli should become a bit more liquid, but you don’t want to drown everything.
6. Add the beans and give everything a good stir. The aim is for enough liquid to cover about ¾ of the veg and beans, but not too much. If it’s too dry, add a bit more tomato or even some water.
7. Crumble a stock cube over the chilli. Add a spoon full of cocoa, and a heaped spoon of Marmite to the mix. Follow these with as much chilli as you can handle.
8. Keep stirring and tasting. If it doesn’t have enough flavour, add some more seasoning. If it’s too watery, boil for longer so the liquid all boils off. Keep stirring all the way to the bottom so the flavours mix, and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
9. Serve up and enjoy with bread, rice, nachos, salad….