Chili sin carne

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serves about 10, source http://principiagastronomica.com/post/5, via Marijke

Ingredients

  • 5 large onions
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 2.5 red chili peppers (hot)
  • 5 tins of kidney beans (400g each should do it)
  • 5 tins of peeled tomatoes (usually also 400g)
  • 400g mushrooms
  • 5 red peppers (bell pepper, not hot, paprika)
  • 2.5 habañero peppers (a.k.a. madame jeanette, must be HOT)
  • 0.3L sunflower oil, roughly
  • 5 tablespoons cumin
  • 75g very dark chocolate (preferably >70%)
  • creme fraiche, optional if in Portugal
  • beer
  • tortilla chips, optional
  • enough rice for N people

to taste: chili powder (± 2.5 teaspoons)

VERY IMPORTANT: smoked paprika powder, a.k.a. pimenton

Method

Spices

Get a good heavy pot. If you have a casserole pot from la creuset, now is the time to use it. Heat up some vegetable oil in the pot. Don’t be stingy with the oil. I know it’s not healthy, but you can’t skimp on the oil when you’re making a chili. Get it warm on a medium heat.

Add about two tablespoons of cumin to oil. Again, that may seem like a lot but cumin is the key to getting that Southwest taste. If you can find some pimenton, sprinkle some in. Throw in some chili powder, preferably chipotle chili powder, maybe a teaspoon or so depending on how spicy you want your chili to taste or how red you want it to look.

The spices will turn the oil a nice dark colour. Don’t be alarmed if things get smoky at this stage - that’s perfectly normal.

Frying onions

Now add chopped onions - lots of chopped onions. Sauté them for quite a while so that they get nice and soft, maybe ten minutes or so.

This is the point where you can personalise the paste. I like to add some dark chocolate. Break it up a bit before adding it, but it will melt anyway.

You could also try brown sugar or maple syrup. They’re both good for caramelising the onions and adding a nice dark colour.

Throw in some chopped garlic and chopped chili pepper. You might want to deseed the chili pepper if you don’t want to add too much spice.

If you want to add some whiskey or beer, now’s the time. Splash it in and cook it off.

Vegetables

Now that you’ve got a good paste going, it’s time to use it to coat your vegetables. Don’t go crazy with the number of different types of veg you use. I tend to stick to just mushrooms and peppers, chopped into bite-sized pieces. Stir them around, get them all covered in the paste and let them cook like that for a while.

Once the veggies are nice and soft, throw in the chopped tomatoes. Turn up the heat until the mixture starts to bubble, then turn the heat back down again.

Beans

Drain your tinned beans. You don’t have to use kidney beans. Pinto beans or black beans are great too. Try using a mixture. Whatever beans you choose, be sure to wash them first to reduce the ahem gaseous side-effects.

Throw the beans into the pot. Get it all bubbling again and then turn down the heat. Put the habeñero pepper (also called a scotch bonnet) in the middle of the chili. Push it down to partly submerge it but don’t mix it: you’ll need to remove it before serving. In the meantime, it will be releasing its heat into the chili.

Wait

And now you must be patient. The chili should simmer for at least an hour or two, preferably longer. If you can, make it a day ahead of time, it always tastes better after being reheated.


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