My family have board game nights and on these nights there's usually a big pot of chilli sitting in the kitchen ready for people to grab their dinner and graze on during the rest of the evening. It works well in a slow cooker, so I tend to make it in the morning and by the evening the flavours have mixed and intensified.
This is enough to make a big pot to serve six or more and takes about 45 minutes to prepare.
- 500g of portobello mushrooms (mature Agaricus bisporus, known as the chestnut mushroom when immature and brown)
- 3 small red onions
- One bulb of garlic
- 3 red chilli peppers
Of course, you should use whatever quantity of variety of peppers you like. Around here, supermarket-bought red peppers seem to range from nearly inert to hot, so any quantity here is arbitrary really.
- 3tbsp of tomato purée
- 3 red peppers, either fresh or jarred roasted ones.
- Two 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
- A 400g tin of black beans
- A 400g tin of kidney beans
- A vegetable stock cube
- 50g of dark chocolate
- Spices: 1tsp chilli powder (or as much as you like); 1tsp ground cumin; 1tsp paprika; 1tsp ground cinnamon; 1tsp black pepper; 1tsp coriander; two bay leaves.
- 300g of water-packed, extra-firm (or preferably super-firm) tofu
- Preparation: Press the tofu, if you've decided to use it. Roast the peppers if they aren't the sort to come in jars. Set your slow cooker to low to warm it up.
- Finely chop the mushrooms and fry them for five minutes with a bit of black pepper.
- Finely chop the onions, garlic, and chillis and fry them in a bit of olive oil until they're soft.
- If you've decided to use it, crumble the tofu into the onion mixture and lightly brown.
- Chop the roasted red peppers. put them into the onion mixture.
- Mix the spices together and coat the vegetables in the spice mixture well.
- Add the tomato purée and cook for a minute.
- Tip the cans of chopped tomatoes, black beans and kidney beans into the slow cooker.
- Add the mushrooms and onion mixture to the slow cooker.
- Crumble the vegetable stock cube and break up (or grate) all of the dark chocolate into to the slow cooker. Add a bay leaf or two.
- Don't add water unless the mixture looks really dry because the water will come out as it cooks.
- Give the whole thing a good stir and cook on low for eight or nine hours, or until the beans have cooked and the tofu has absorbed the flavour of the chilli.
- Top with grated cheese (or grated solidified coconut derivative), coriander leaves, parsley leaves, lime juice or thinly-sliced spring onions.
- Serve with brown rice, jalapeños, avacado slices or guacamole, tortilla chips, salsa, tortillas, or yogurt or sour cream.
- What other vegetables would work well? Courgettes, butternut squash, kale, aubergines? What about adding pinto beans, red lentils, Puy lentils or green lentils?
- A dusting of cornflour is often used on tofu to make its surface crispy. What if we crumbled the tofu into a bowl and dusted it before browning it?
- What about just using Quorn mince or textured vegetable protein instead of tofu?
- How can we further increase the umami flavour?