Supermarket Vegetarian: Part III
Seems perfectly apt that in the afterglow of Mother’s Day (unless you’ve come here from my Black Friday link by which case – hi!) I’ve made a batch of chili to see me through this week, as this was somewhat of a signature dish of my mothers. Sure, I used to ridicule her with a ‘Chili? Again?!’ attitude but, now that I’ve grown up, there is something oddly comforting about the dishes of my youth that just feels like a big hug.
Admittedly, this chili is a rude departure from the traditional chili of my Mother’s kitchen (what with the quirky millennial twists and, well… the general absence of meat!) but it was done in the same spirit of nurture and care so I feel as though I have fair liberty to bracket it under the same umbrella.
My SUPERMARKET VEGETARIAN series is all about making vegetarian recipes more accessible. They are aimed to showcase homemade meatless dishes as being easily obtainable from any local supermarket, and not requiring an alpaca-led trip to an untouched land to source ingredients.
This recipe goes one further.
We all love Home Bargains, right? For me, it conjures up hoodie clad Friday nights buying £2 wine, M&Ms and fake tan. Now, in my paler and maturer days, it’s my staple for washing detergent, rice crackers and dog treats. But what also struck me, was that they have a really good food section that saves me a lot of hassle (and some pennies, damn it) in the long run.
Famed mostly for packet bits and canned goods, Home Bargains has definitely come on in leaps and bounds with its food variety. So, I decided to write a recipe that featured ingredients mainly bought from Home Bargains to show how easily meatless meals could be put together from a local one-stop.
Admittedly, this recipe does feature some ingredients such as onion, garlic and a red chilli which I got from a food grocery supermarket. It also features a can of black beans which are easily available in ASDA, but if you want to be a Home Bargains purist, you could swap these for some lentils or even some chickpeas if you’re feeling bold.
Finely chop an onion and gently fry it in a deep pan with some salt. Once it’s softened, add two cloves of finely chopped garlic and a red chili and soften them alongside the onion.
Grab a handful of Crystallized Ginger (you can get a big packet of this from Home Bargains) and chop them into little shiny shards. I find it easier to do this with a mezzaluna. The sugary ginger adds a sweet punch that contrast the spiciness, but also retains a little warmth. Like little nuggets of heat with the odd bite, you won’t regret it.
Cook the crystal chunks of ginger with the onion/garlic/chili until everything begins to soften. If you feel the onions catching on the pan a little, add a splash of water (only a tablespoon) to help the onions release more liquid to prevent from browning.
Boil a kettle (you’ll need it later) and to the pan of onions and stuff, add a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of cocoa powder, half a teaspoon of chili powder and a tiny sprinkle of paprika. Stir everything together so that the onions and stuff take on the spices.
Add around 100g of quinoa (uncooked). Don’t roll your eyes, you can buy this dead cheap from Home Bargains and this is what gives the chili a rubbly, meaty mince texture. Add a drained can of kidney beans and a drained can of black beans (or your chickpea alternative) on top of the quinoa. Stir everything together and cook for a few more minutes so that the beans and quinoa get coated.
To the pan, add two cans of chopped tomatoes. Fill both cans up half way with the water from the kettle and pour into the pan. Stir everything together and if you feel it needs a little loosening, just add a splash of water from the kettle. Salt and pepper the contents of the pan, bring it all to a bubble and drop it to a simmer.
You want to let this simmer for roughly 30-35 minutes so that the quinoa can absorb and get all juicy and swollen, but for the last 5 minutes, throw in a few chopped up chunks of dark chocolate, just to give the chili a real sexy depth. This part is so mandatory, you won’t ever make a chili without a chocolate spike ever again, I promise.
After the cooking time, I tend to take it off the heat and allow it to sit for a few hours because it tastes so much better when it has some time to sit and mellow, but feel free to vulture it straight away. Just serve it up with some plain boiled rice and a little decoration of mature cheddar on top to cut through the heat.
However I have been known, however, to do away with any sort of rice and just ladle filthy dollops of this onto warm tortillas and eat it burrito style.
But that’s me. I’m a pig.