It’s been a month since I finished exams, a month since I moved out of college for the summer. You’d think that would be plenty of time to get over the I-never-want-to-do-an-ounce-of-writing-or-study-ever-again funk and start blogging again in earnest. Hmmm not so. It’s taken a sunny day (sunshine always helps, does it not?), packing up a backpack and walking two kilometres to a park with a café (and a smashing selection of fresh juices) to finally get the ball rolling again. The will to cook/bake has been there in force, but the mere thought of sitting in front of a laptop to do anything more than look at other people’s recipes hasn’t been particularly welcoming. But not to worry…we got there in the end! And just to highlight how sparse blog posts have been over the last six months, this is a Chilli Con Carne I made back over the winter break (what seems like eons ago now). It may have been a long time coming, but boy it’s a ripper.
Spiced but not spicy (there’s a difference, truly!) with distinct cinnamon undertones and a luscious, rich tomato base, it’s a hearty winter warmer. The texture doesn’t let it down a single bit (sometimes the case with vegetarian versions of inherently ‘meaty’ dishes). It’s not too sloppy, yet has just enough juices to be satisfyingly moist. The kidney beans provide a creaminess that contrasts delightfully with crisp green beans. Whilst I’m not veggie mince’s greatest fan, it works well here as it adds that traditional ‘mincey’ texture. Serve atop of brown rice on a cold winters day, or with corn chips (bean and rice chips are a great alternative) for a lighter meal in summer. Due to stellar freezing properties, you can have the best of both worlds – prep a double batch at the end of winter and freeze some to have in the early summer! Oh, and we can’t be forgetting the humble avocado as a vital ‘topper, along with a generous handful of greens – whether it be crisp cos lettuce, baby spinach or rocket. Healthy, hearty, and light on the budget, it’s a perennial favourite no matter the season.
Vegetarian Chilli Con Carne
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ tsp chilli flakes (more if you like your chilli hot)
2 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp tomato paste
1x 400g can vegetarian mince (I used Sanitarium brand)
100g green beans, topped and tailed and chopped into 2cm pieces
1 small red capsicum, deseeded and chopped into 2cm pieces
2x 400g can chopped tomatoes
400ml vegetable stock
1x 400g can four bean mix
1x 125g can corn kernels, drained
Freshly ground black pepper
Corn chips/bean and rice chips or brown rice
Fresh diced tomato
Set a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and when shimmering, toss in the chopped onion. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring every so often, until soft and golden.
Add the garlic, chilli flakes, cumin, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomato paste and stir constantly for a further thirty seconds.
Toss in the vegetarian mince, green beans, capsicum, chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock. Stir well, cover and bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove the lid and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every so often.
Add the four bean mix and corn kernels and simmer for a further 20 minutes, stirring every so often. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with desired accompaniments.
Will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
Source: A Taste Without Waste original.