Spicy bean chilli

Spicy bean chilli

This super easy spicy bean chilli is the ultimate food to share with friends.  Make it in advance to give the flavours time to develop then just heat it up when hunger strikes. Perfect for those days when you’d rather be chatting and drinking than slaving away in the kitchen.

A quick note on cinnamon. I tend to buy the cheap variety, known as cassia bark or Chinese cinnamon. Cassia bark is thick and rough and has a slightly more aniseedy flavour than traditional quill like cinnamon sticks. Either variety is fine for this recipe but if you use cassia, the sticks can be rather substantial so you only need to use half a stick.

The spicy bean chilli can be as hot as mild as you wish. If you or your guests are a bit timid with heat then you can always start with half amounts of the fresh and dried chilli and then add more nearer the end.

Serve alongside a cooling guacamole and whatever else you fancy – salsa, rice, tortilla chips, or just a simple salad.Spicy-bean-chilli-5

Spicy bean chilli
Serves: 6
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 400g cans green lentils
  • 1 400g can kidney beans
  • 1 400g can cannellini
  • 1 (or more) red chilli
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 cinnamon stick or ½ stick of cassia bark
  • 200ml red wine
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 10g dark chocolate (about 2 squares), at least 80% cocoa solids
  • 2 tbsp sundried tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a large, lidded pan. Add the onions and sweat on a very low heat with the lid on for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and translucent.
  2. Keeping separate, drain and rinse the lentils and the beans.
  3. De-seed and finely chop the red chilli.
  4. When the onions are cooked, turn the hob up to a medium heat. Add to the pan the chopped garlic, bay leaf, ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli flakes, chopped chilli, and the cinnamon stick and let the spices fry for a minute or two stirring to prevent them from sticking.
  5. Add to the pan the wine and the vegetable stock along with the drained lentils and 2 cans of tomatoes. Simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  6. Break the chocolate into small pieces and add to the pan. Stir for a minute or two before adding the sundried tomato paste and drained cannellini and kidney beans. Leave to simmer gently for around 10 minutes. Check seasoning and turn off the heat. Replace the lid and leave for as long as you can so that the flavours get a chance to mingle.
  7. To serve, remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick and re-heat thoroughly.


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