In the spirit of creating foods from scratch this month, I decided a bean soaking was in order. I’m guilty of regularly buying cans of lentils to use as my veg protein for dinner. It really does seem like a wasted opportunity to save money when it’s so easy to prepare dried beans at home. Plus, all of those cans! They can’t be doing any favours for the environment. You know one thing that’s only really just become a thing here? Canned black beans. They’re delicious, but expensive. I’m talking $3 for a can that is manufactured to look the same as all the other bean cans, but when you open it, it’s actually maybe three mouthfuls of black beans and a load of murky bean water. And it’s not like we have a black bean shortage here. They’re one of the cheapest varieties of dried beans you can buy at the bulk grocer.
I’ve decided to give up on the expensive cans of black beans and go the from scratch route herewith. Actually, I recently stocked the pantry with a heap of different dried beans so expect some very legumey recipes in your near future… BEANS! Fuck yeah.
And by the way, this is the best damn vego chili I’ve ever made. It’s thick, saucy, rich, hella spicy, and smoky… oh, so smoky. It’s not: watery, sad, missing meat. Also, I’ve heard that some people are extremely fussy about their chili and what constitutes a proper chili. I’d like to apologise in advance if I shouldn’t call this dish a chili. I’M SORRY.
My secret weapon is the entire 200g can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and then a whole heap more smoked paprika (WARNING WARNING: it’s really hot this way – I would recommend using only 100g chipotle peppers, unless you live for pain like me). These get blended with over a litre of tomato sugo, onion and coriander stalks. It’s a rich, gloopy sauce that is then simmered with some other vegies: capsicum, zucchini and corn, and of course, the black beans. Even without the quinoa, lime and coriander, it’s already ridiculously healthy too and makes approximately eight serves.
- 1½ cups / 300g dried black turtle beans, soaked overnight (12 hours), drained
- 1 brown onion, roughly chopped
- stalks from 1 large bunch coriander, roughly chopped (leaves reserved for garnish)
- juice from 1 lime
- 1 x 200g chipotle peppers in adobo sauce*
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 x 700ml jars tomato passata
- 1 large zucchini, sliced into 2 cm pieces
- 1 large red capsicum, sliced into 2 cm pieces
- 1 cup sweet corn kernels
- lime and coriander leaves + rice or quinoa, to serve
- Place the soaked beans into a large saucepan over high heat and add water until the water reaches about 1 inch above the beans. Bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat to medium and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Taste one - if it is not soft on the inside, continue to simmer until ready.
- Add the onion, coriander stalks, lime juice, chipotle peppers, smoked paprika and passata into a blender, and then blend until smooth (NB: my blender has a 2L capacity, so I can do this is one batch. You may need to do it in two batches if you have a smaller blender).
- Add the blended sauce into a large stovetop casserole dish / pot, and then add the zucchini, capsicum, sweet corn, and the cooked black beans. Add salt to taste.
- Cook over medium heat for 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked and the sauce is slightly reduced. It's quite gloopy so be sure to use a splatter screen or keep the lid on the pot, but cracked slightly open to allow the moisture to evaporate.
- If serving with quinoa or rice, prepare this while the chili is cooking in the pot.
- Serve with lime wedges and lots of fresh coriander leaves.