Lazy Saturday. Boyfriend has a cold. Distinct chill to the air outside. Time for a spicy, savoury, goopy chilli, left to simmer for hours over the smallest of heats. We had ours burrito-style, in wraps baked with cheese on top, but it’d be really good layered with nachos, scooped out the bowl with tortilla chips, served over rice or just eaten with a spoon. (All improved by cheese on top, obviously.)
It can be eaten as soon as it’s hot, but it’s best made mid-afternoon and left to simmer, or cooked the day before and gently reheated. I’m usually sceptical about how much difference longer/slower cooking makes, but this is one where it’s really noticeable how much deeper the flavours get the longer you cook it. As ever, substitute/leave out pretty much any of the ingredients and it’ll still taste good.
6 cloves of garlic (yes, really)
Beans of your choice (I used one tin of kidney beans and one tin of mixed beans in tomato sauce – which are basically baked beans with extra beans)
Tin of tomatoes
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
1/2 tsp chipotle powder (or 1 tsp smoked paprika)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tblsp treacle (optional)
Vegetable Boullion powder/stock cube
Olive oil/vegetable oil
Chop the onion roughly and cook it in a little oil over a very low heat for about 5mins, until it starts to go translucent. Add roughly chopped garlic, and cook gently for another 5mins. I know it looks like a ridiculously amount of garlic, but when you cook it for a long time it disappears – honest! If you’re cooking it for less time you might want to go down to 3 or 4, I suppose… Add all of the spices, and cook gently for another 5mins. If you don’t have chipotle powder then use smoked paprika. Neither is essential, but they add a lovely smoky taste.
Add the tomatoes and a good splash of red wine – again, use more wine than normal because it cooks away. Turn the heat up, and bring to the boil. Scoop about half a tablespoon of treacle out of the tin, and stand the spoon in the pan until all the treacle has melted off and into the chilli. The treacle isn’t essential, but gives it a richer flavour. Add about a tsp of stock powder, or a good pinch of salt.
Add the beans, and turn the heat down to a simmer. Using beaked beans or other beans in tomato sauce helps the chilli to go all syrupy and delicious, but it’s not essential – use whatever beans you like. Cook over a very, very low heat for at least an hour, ideally, but it’ll sit quite happily for three or four hours, stirring very occasionally to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan. If you have a thick-bottomed saucepan, use that. We don’t, so had to stir more often.
Eat with rice, wraps, tortilla chips (and lots of cheese). If you want to make burritos, then cook it right down until it’s super-thick and there’s hardly any liquid left (which will stop the burritos from going soggy). Lay the wraps out on a baking try and put a big spoonful of bean mixture in each. Roll, and tuck the ends underneath. You can put more bean mix on top, if you like, and then sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake for about 10-15mins in a hot oven, until crispy.