I'm not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination, however I do eat a lot of what would be called "vegetarian food" and also quite often have to cater for vegetarians as I have a couple of friends and family members that are non-meat eaters. Every year we have a bonfire party and nothing says Bonfire Night to me than chilli and baked spuds, but obviously that means having to make two pots of chilli.
I've made vegetarian chilli in the past, from various recipes and never been quite happy with them for whatever reason. This time I toyed with making the usual chilli but using Quorn or chunks of soya however a quick straw poll on Twitter told me that whilst this is a common thing to do, not all vegetarians like to use meat-replacement products. What to do! This left me in a quandary as I didn't really want to make a veggie faux-pas, especially as one girl that was coming I didn't know very well and in the end I settled on a recipe from Jamie Oliver, with a few tweaks.
The result was good. It was very tasty (even better the next day), spicy and filling and I think this will be my go-to recipe for the future. The chunks of roasted sweet potato were delicious and I had to stop myself eating them as soon as they came out of the oven. Definitely a keeper!
This recipe serves 4-6 and can be easily doubled. You can use any beans you like, I have just listed what I have used but the world (or bean shelf) is your oyster. Apparently this recipe freezes very well too - I wouldn't know as it didn't get that far!
Veggie Chilli with Roasted Sweet Potato
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into bite-size chunks
1 level tsp cayenne pepper (plus extra for sprinkling)
1 heaped tsp ground cumin (plus extra for sprinkling)
1 level tsp ground cinnamon (plus extra for sprinkling)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 x 400g tin red kidney beans
1 x 400g tin Heinz Five beans
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 200c/gas mark 6.
Put the sweet potato chunks in a large bowl. Sprinkle with a small punch of cayenne, cumin and cinnamon and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss lightly to coat the chunks well and pop them onto a baking tray. Put the tray into the oven and cook for around 40 minutes until soft and golden.
Meanwhile put a large pan on a medium-high heat and add some olive oil. Pop the chopped onion, peppers and garlic into the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chopped chilli and spices and cook for a further 5 - 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain the tins of beans then tip the beans into the pan, along with the tinned tomatoes. Stir everything well and bring to the boil. Reduce to a medium-low heat and leave to simmer gently for around 25-30 minutes. If the chilli starts to get a bit thick, add a splash of water and stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Get the roasted sweet potato out of the oven and stir it through the chill. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper as required.
Voila! You can now serve as you wish. I dished this up on baked potatoes with cheese and soured cream but it would be just as nice with rice and tortillas.
PS Quite clearly, that's a rubbish photo above but you know, when you've got a house full of guests the last thing you want to do is look like a complete look photographing food on your plate...