Chilli’s a great, versatile dish that always tastes great whatever (probably inauthentic) ingredients you choose to chuck in. My recipe uses a pile of veg including sweet potato, courgette and celery as well as red kidney beans and chickpeas. Smoky chipotle chillies sit happily alongside dark chocolate to create a rich and warming flavour. The guac and yoghurt bring a cooling freshness for when things get a bit too hot.
I often make a similar chilli recipe on a Sunday to take to work for weekday lunches. It heats up nicely in the office microwave and you can add a little grated cheese or eat with a hard-boiled egg (although your colleagues may not thank you) for more protein.
I’d love to hear your tips for the perfect chilli!
Notes on my recipe
As I mentioned above, you can throw just about any veg in a chilli and it will taste fantastic. I used courgette and red pepper in this one as I had them both in but you could also include chopped carrot, fresh tomatoes or aubergine.
I love the almost meaty texture that grated veg brings so used grated sweet potato in this recipe. I didn’t want to lose the sweetness of chunks of sweet potato so popped some of that in too!
You could easily make the chilli recipe vegan by removing the chopped chocolate and substituting it with raw cacao powder – yum.
For the chilli (serves 4):
- 2 red onions – chopped
- 4 cloves garlic – pressed
- 2 celery stalks – chopped
- 1 large courgette – diced
- 1 red pepper – sliced
- 1 sweet potato – half chopped, half coarsely grated
- 1 tin of red kidney beans – drained and rinsed
- 1 tin of chickpeas – drained and rinsed
- A couple of handfuls of frozen peas and sweetcorn
- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
- 1 or 2 dried chipotle chillies – rehydrated and blended
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 30g good quality dark chocolate – finely chopped
- A handful of fresh coriander stalks – finely chopped
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A little oil for sweating
For the guac (serves 4):
- 2 ripe avocados
- 3 tbsp fresh coriander leaves – finely chopped
- A few rings of jalapeño peppers if you fancy – finely chopped
- 2 tsp or so of olive oil
- Lime juice to taste
- Salt to taste
For the coriander yoghurt (serves 4):
- 250g Greek (style) yoghurt
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves – finely chopped
For the corn (serves 4):
- 4 corn on the cobs
- Butter to serve
For the chilli:
- Rehydrate the chipotles by cutting them up (I used scissors) and soaking them in the cider vinegar and a teaspoon of water for about half an hour. You can let them rest whilst you busy yourself with vegetable chopping, grating and sweating.
- Sweat the onions in oil over a medium heat for a few minutes until beginning to soften. Add the pressed garlic and continue to sweat. I heard a tip that you should avoid stirring the onions too often at this point. Apparently, leaving them alone encourages them to caramelise. I’ve adopted this technique in a few recipes now and it does seem to work.
- Add the chopped celery, courgette, pepper and grated and chopped sweet potato and continue to sweat.
- It’s spice time! Pop in the cinnamon, paprika, cayenne pepper and cumin and let the flavours develop for a couple of minutes. Blitz the chipotles with the cider vinegar, water and a quarter of one of the tins of chopped tomatoes. Add the puree to the chilli pot.
- Add the remaining chopped tomatoes, beans, chickpeas, frozen veg, coriander stalks and chopped chocolate.
- Gently simmer for 20 minutes or so – the main aspect to watch out for is whether the sweet potato is cooked.
For the guac:
- Smash the avocadoes with a little olive oil.
- Add the coriander and jalapeño peppers if you’re using them and mix.
- Add salt and lime juice to taste.
For the coriander yoghurt:
- Mix the finely chopped coriander into the yoghurt – easy!
For the corn on the cob:
- Boil in water on the hob for approximately 8 minutes. This may take a little longer if you’re cooking more than 2 corns at once. Just give them a prick with a fork every so often. When the fork goes in easily, you’re good to go.
- Serve hot with a knob of melting butter.