Friday 20 April 2007

Vegetable Bean Chili in Mole Sauce with Cornbread

This is a Mexican themed meal that I made for my family over Easter. It involved two recipes I had never tried before, but I was very pleased with the results.

In the last year I have suddenly developed a taste for hot, spicy yet flavoursome food. I still don’t like food that blows your head off, but I now like food with a good kick to it. A few months ago I went out for my first Mexican meal which was where I had my first taste of vegetables in a chili chocolate sauce. I have since learnt that this is the basis of what is called a Mole sauce and often served over meats in Mexico. An authentic Mole sauce should also include cinnamon, sugar and ground nuts but I decided to just experiment with the chili-chocolate aspect of it for my first attempt. However, being vegetarian I decided to take this concept and incorporate it into a bean chili.

I really enjoyed both creating and eating this dish, it was really delicious and the smells while it was cooking were amazing. The paprika added a smokiness and the ground chilies added a gentle heat that built up the more you ate. The addition of the cocoa powder added a deep richness to the sauce and gave a great aftertaste, not overly chocolaty but the same kind of rich bitterness that lingers on your tongue after eating a square of dark chocolate. I chose to serve this dish with some home made cornbread that was great crumbled over the top to absorb some of the sauce before eating.

Vegetable Bean Chili in Mole Sauce
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 green chilies
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ orange pepper
¼ red pepper
3 tbsp tinned sweetcorn
½ courgette
1 carrot
2 tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp ground chilies
2 tsp sweet paprika
420g tin black eyed beans
420g tin red kidney beans
270g tin mixed beans
300ml vegetable stock
400g tin chopped tomatoes
3 tsp cocoa powder

Peel and very roughly chop the onion and garlic before adding them to a food processor. Split the chilies in half and remove the seeds and add to onion.
Blitz until a smoothish paste has formed (watch your eyes, it packs a punch when you remove the lid).
Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan and add the onion/garlic/chili mixture along with the oregano. Cook until softened, but not brown.
Meanwhile finely dice the peppers, carrot and courgette and drain the sweetcorn. Drain the beans into a large sieve and wash under the cold tap to remove any brine.
Add the cumin, paprika and ground chilies to the pan along with the vegetables and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock, beans and tinned tomatoes to the pan and bring to the boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 30minutes, stirring every 10minutes to prevent sticking.
Put the cocoa powder into a small bowl and add 1tbsp water and combine to make a smooth runny mixture. Drizzle this into the chili and stir well, the sauce should turn a darker colour and begin to smell chocolaty. Allow to cook for a further 10 minutes, which should allow the sauce to thicken.
Taste and add more ground chili or seasoning to preference.
Serve in big bowls with sour cream, nachos or cornbread.
Serves 5 – 6

(Recipe by Nigella Lawson)
This recipe is really really quick to make and very easy. It is very versatile and tastes great hot from the oven spread with butter or eaten cold with jam or even… nutella. In this case I served it in wedges that people could then crumble over the top of their chili mole beans. Using polenta will give you a grainer texture than cornmeal, but they both work well.

175g cornmeal or polenta
125g plain flour
40g caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 egg
45g melted butter
250ml milk

Grease and line an 8inch/20cm tin and preheat the oven to 200C.
Place the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl.
Melt the butter and pour over the flour mix.
Beat the egg into the milk and add to the bowl.
Beat everything together with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Pour into the tin and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and coming away from the slides of the tin.
Serve immediately or allow to cool before gently reheating wedges in the oven, wrapped in foil, when required.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Looking forward to trying this recipe out..I think I am going to try and use some bitter chocolate and maybe some ancho and chipotle chili's. Anyone else have any ideas?