Chili non carne

Chili non carne
chili non carne
Serves 6-8

2 tblsp olive oil
3 medium onions, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 medium bell peppers, chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp turmeric
1/4 - 1/2 tsp chili powder
300g spinach, fresh or frozen
800g chopped tomatoes (fresh, frozen or canned)
2 courgettes, chopped (optional)
3 tblsp tomato puree or ketchup
100ml water, veggie stock or wine
400g pinto beans, cooked or canned

Cook the chopped onion in the oil in a large pan, for about five minutes, stirring once or twice, until well-softened. Add the garlic and peppers, and cook, stirring, for a couple more minutes. Stir in the spices, then add all the other ingredients, apart from the beans. Bring to the boil, cover, then simmer gently for about fifteen minutes or until the liquid is reduced.

Add the beans and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

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Although we prefer to have lentils in chili - whether with or without meat - we were entertaining a vegetarian guest who likes beans but not lentils.  I adapted this recipe from one I found online, which had carrots in it, but no spinach. When I made it recently, I had no carrots, to my surprise, so I added spinach instead, and we felt that it was much better.

I use dried beans  -  either pinto beans, or a mixture of pinto and black-eye, and soak half a panful the night before. I then rinse and boil them for an hour or so in the morning, and weigh out roughly 400g when I need them. I freeze the rest in 200g portions for other meals. Using canned beans is simpler, but more expensive. Any kind of beans would work.

The spices can be adjusted to suit tastes - be careful with the chili powder, which can vary enormously in potency. We prefer just a hint of chili, but if you like it strong, add a bit more. The original recipe used oregano, and did not have any turmeric, but I use the latter wherever possible.

We served this over brown rice, with broccoli as an extra vegetable. You could serve yogurt or grated cheese with it, if you eat dairy products.

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