Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bean Chili (or Spicy Bean Stew)

I'm probably going to lose my credibility as a Texan by even mentioning chili with beans (no beans in Texas chili, ever!) but you know, sometimes I want veggie chili, not meat chili. Maybe I should rename this Spicy Bean Stew so I don't piss off too many people.
Anyway, I tried out this 90-minute no-soak bean cooking method, and it works wonderfully. I love the concept of dried beans but was always put off by the whole overnight soak process since I could never remember to do it the night before I wanted some beans. Now there's no need for that anymore, I'm going to stock up on dried legumes.

Spicy Bean Stew (adapted from Dinner Diary)
Serves four (if served with rice or baked potatoes)

4 tbsp olive oil
3 large red chillies
4 garlic cloves
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tbsp dried chili flakes (optional)
1 glass red wine
3 small onions, finely chopped
500ml vegetable stock
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
2 tbsp tomato purée
Salt and pepper
500g mixed, dried beans (I used a mix of kidney and azuki beans)
Lightly coat chillies and garlic in olive oil. Roast the chillies and garlic in the oven for about 15 minutes, on 190 degrees, before removing from the oven leaving to cool down. Remove the seeds from the chilli and puree together with the garlic.

Cook the beans using the 90-minute no-soak method above and then drain well.

Grind the coriander seed and fennel seed together in a mortar and pestle and transfer to a bowl, mix with the cumin, chilli powder, cinnamon and paprika.

Soften the onions in a frying pan with some olive oil and salt, add the garlic and chilli pulp to the softened onions with the tomato puree and let it cook together for a couple of minutes. Into this mixture, add the powdered spices and cook for a further couple of minutes. Deglaze with the wine and allow the alcohol to cook out.

Next, add the stock and tinned tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. I tasted this mix and realized my chillies were a bit mild, so I added the 1/2 tbsp of dried chili flakes. Allow to cook for about half an hour before adding the beans, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally. Original recipe added 1 tsp of cocoa powder here, which is probably delicious, but I didn't have any.

Remove from heat for a few minutes to let it thicken a bit.

Serve over rice, topped with chopped coriander (cilantro). Yum.

90-Minute No Soak Beans

500g dried beans

1/2 tbsp salt

Preheat oven to 120C/250F. Pour beans and salt into an ovenproof, lidded dish (I use my Dutch oven). Top with enough water to cover the beans by an inch and a half. Bring to a boil on the stove. Cover pot with lid and put it in the oven for 75 minutes. 

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