A few days ago I had a request, A friend of my sister wanted me to come up with a vegetarian chilli recipe, and of course being the obliging cook I set to work with creating said dish. The problem I find with a number of vegetarian chilli recipes is the lack of umami, which is basically a savoury boosting property found in a number of meats, fish and of course vegetables. I devised this recipe with that in mind, using mushrooms, celery and tomato gives the dish the body and depth that is needed. Sun dried tomatoes are not a traditional ingredient in chilli, but I found they gave a sweetness and richness that just seemed to work. Mess around with which beans you use too, you could use pinto, flageolet and haricot as an alternative.
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 large carrot finely diced
- 1 celery stick finely diced
- 2 fresh chilli’s de seeded and finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves finely diced
- 2 peppers, red and yellow in this case, de seeded and cut into strips
- 100g baby button mushrooms halved (don’t wash them, just brush off any dirt with kitchen paper)
- 3 x 400g tins of drained beans, I used black beans, chick peas and red kidney beans
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- Fresh coriander, remove the stalks and dice finely, save the leaves for later
- 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- Handful of chopped sun dried tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vegetable stock or water
- Fresh coriander leaves
- Sour cream
1. It is best to get all the prep done first, get all the vegetables, garlic and chilli chopped and ready as this will make assembling the dish much easier. Drizzle a pan with some olive oil and gently fry the carrot, onion and celery on a medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, don’t brown them, you just want the onions to soften slightly. Now add the coriander stalks and spices along with the garlic and chilli. Mix in and cook the spices out for a further 5 minutes. Lastly add the sliced peppers and mushrooms.
2. You may at this point need to transfer the mixture to a larger pot depending on the size of your pan, so now is the time to do so. Now add the chopped tomatoes, the tomato puree and the beans. Now cover with just enough stock or water so you can just see the mix, don’t flood it with too much otherwise the chilli will be too watery. Add the chopped sun dried tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes until the carrots are cooked through and the sauce has reduced to a nice thick consistency.
3. To serve, pile into nice deep warm bowls, top with a big dollop of sour cream and as much fresh coriander leaves as you desire.
I have said on quite a number of occasions that vegetarian food should be a great dish that just happens to not have meat in it, It was delicious and I hope Mark enjoys it as much as I did.