Monday, 10 January 2011

Vegetarian Winter Warmer

Apologies for the quiet spell on the blogging front, in the Keston Kitchen we have been rather occupied by the festive season and by selling lots of calendars (thanks to everyone who has bought one so far)!
This is one of my favourite dishes and I thought it would make an ideal January recipe because as well as warming you up, being stuffed full of vegetables, it makes you feel healthy! It is also pretty economical if you make a big vat of it.
The recipe is basically a vegetarian chilli, it comes from the first Leon cook book and is actually called Lee's Hippy Farm Beans. The Leon book is always the first place I look, on a weekend when I fancy making a one-pot wonder, easy to prepare but you need to have the time to allow it to cook nice and slowly.
I made this dish most recently, just before Christmas when Katie (previous guest chef) and Laura (crafty friend who happens to be vegetarian) were staying. There was thick snow on the ground outside but we were snug inside with blankets and bowls of beans.

Lee's Hippy Farm Beans

Serves 4-5 people

Olive oil
1 large aubergine
3 peppers (one yellow, one red, one orange looks pretty)
Ground cumin
1 big onion, roughly chopped
3 big cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
3 assorted fiery chillies (or not so fiery depending on who you are cooking for), roughly chopped
350g cherry tomatoes
1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
2 tins beans (ideally one mixed and the other kidney, black bean or pinto)
Linghams Garlic and Chilli Sauce (available at Tesco, Waitrose and most importantly SMBS in East Dulwich)
300g baby spinach, well washed
Rock salt

And also (to serve):
Lime wedges (very important)
More chopped chillies or chilli sauce (I tend to make my chilli on the milder side and let people add more heat if they want it)
Grated cheese and/or sour cream (to counteract all that health)
1 pack of tortillas (I didn't bother with these as it is quite filling and so served with some tortilla chips instead)
3 avocados (if they are in season)

Start by putting 4 tbsp of olive oil in the pan. When the pan is hot, fry the aubergine and peppers for 15 minutes until golden and crisp. Season with salt and cumin, then take them out and put to one side.
Get the empty pan hot again, fry the onion in a bit more olive oil for a few minutes until it browns, then add the garlic and chillies. After a few more minutes add the cherry tomatoes. Again wait a few minutes before adding the tinned tomatoes, aubergine and peppers.
Bring to the boil and add the drained and rinsed beans. Now add a good glug of the chilli sauce. Turn the hob down to a low heat, a gentle simmer, cover the pan for 1/2 an hour, cook uncovered for a further hour; stir regularly. You want a gloopy, unky, smooth texture. Once it is ready, turn off the heat and stir in the spinach well until it is wilted.
You can then serve with as many or few extras as you wish!
Heat the tortillas if you are using them, mash or slice the avocados, wedge the limes, grate the cheese and dollop on the sour cream - yum!

Rachael x


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