Chili is just one of those foods which is, you know, well it's just one of those foods. It's always there, in the back of my mind, waiting for the weather to change or for leftovers to need using. It's a meal I don't exactly crave, yet it needs to be had on a somewhat regular basis during the cooler months. Everyone has their own recipe and no one (save my mother in law) is opposed to a steaming bowl of chili. It's delicious fresh and only gets better over time.
So it's my turn to share my own version, my own secret ingredients to make the perfect chili to soothe you on those cold winter nights.
It helps that it's also ridiculously easy to make.
Regarding my use of espresso and chocolate, note that the measurements are vague. You could add up to a tablespoon of espresso and up to the same of cocoa, though I would advise not getting too liberal. Also know that when I say espresso I mean a finely ground dark roast coffee, so anything from a Turkish to espresso grind will be appropriate.
If you're using fresh tomatoes, something I rarely use in chili because tomatoes aren't in season during the months in which I enjoy this dish, you could might get away with omitting the sugar.
Chili is a dish which, no matter who's cooking it, how many times they've made it, and how confident a cook they are, should be tasted constantly throughout the cooking process. This opinion stems from more than an excuse to snack before dinner hits the table; a good chili holds a bold and robust flavour and a pinch of chili or a dash more salt can make or break a good turn out. That's what I think anyway. Experiment until you find your own perfect spice blend!
Kippy's Not-So-Secret Vegan Chili
- First cook your beans, which you'll have soaked overnight. My preference is a pressure cooker because it's quick and easy, so I combine both varieties of bean and cook under pressure for 25 minutes. You will need a lot longer if boiling.
- In a small bowl make the spice mix by combining the espresso, cocoa, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and coriander.
- Heat the oil to a medium heat in a heavy bottom saucepan or skillet with high sides. Add both the onion and the diced peppers to the oil and fry for around 10 minutes (until soft and slightly browned) before adding the garlic and spice mix.
- Cook for one or two minutes minutes and then add the red wine vinegar. Scrape the bottom and around the edges of the pan to get any bits which have stuck or burnt on (the bits which add flavour) and then throw in the tinned tomato, stock, and tomato paste. Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
- Turn the heat down to low and toss in the vegan mince, beans, sugar, and salt (the amount will depend on the salt content of your stock and also personal preference). Cover and leave to simmer for at least an hour.
- About 15 minutes before serving, remove the lid and stir in a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar.
- Serve either on its own, with rice, and/or with a dollop of vegan yoghurt or sour cream on top.