Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Chunky Chilli Non Carne with Black Beans and Butternut Squash (or Sweet Potato)

This is a really delicious meat-free alternative to a chilli con carne, absolutely packed with flavour and texture, and really versatile too!


With a fortnightly (wonky) veg box having become a regular occurence in our lives, I'm finding myself coming up with lots of new things to cook to use up the vegetables that we're sent (which are pretty much a surprise on the day we receive them), which is a great way to stop yourself from falling into a culinary rut!


I'd really got into roasting sweet potatoes with cumin seeds for a bit of crunch, and had sweet potato and butternut squash to use up, and thought it would be nice to stick them in the oven to roast while prepping the rest of dinner, and thought they would be really nice to add into a bean chilli, along with some peppers (which I quite like to add into my ordinary chilli con carne from time to time, to give it a bit of a twist).

So this was the end result, cooked with my usual blend of spices for a chilli, and one that's definitely going onto the meat free regulars - it's so tasty and filling!

Served with my spicy cornbread, rice, grated cheese, sour cream and coriander


You can decide whether to use squash or sweet potato or a mixture, depending on what you've got in, and also use your favourite beans - you'll get a tasty result at the end whatever you use!

Served in tortillas with sour cream, fresh tomato, avocado, lightly pickled onions
and some sour cream mixed with lime juice, topped with coriander and chillies


Serves 10-12 portions (recipe easily halved) from 155-187 calories a portion using butternut squash (depending on whether a tenth or a twelfth) to 190-229 calories a portion using sweet potato. Why not have a wedge of homemade spicy cornbread on the side - it's quite easy to make, and also very filling! My recipe is here, from 116 calories for a wedge.


Ingredients
[Calories in square brackets]
  • 750g butternut squash and / or sweet potatoes (squash peeled, potatoes scrubbed - I used a small squash and a really large sweet potato, giving me 300g squash and 450g sweet potato - you can buy pre-mixed, pre-prepared packs from supermarkets if you want the easy option!) - cut into bite-sized chunks (about an inch cubed)* [126+441 = 567 calories for a mix as above; or 315 calories for all squash / 735 calories for all sweet potato]
  • 1 x 15ml tbsp olive oil + 1/2 tbsp [185]
  • 2 medium onions, diced (200g) [82]
  • 2 fresh bay leaves (optional)
  • 3 bell peppers (capsicum), mixed colours of your choice, cut into bite-sized pieces (360g prepared) [94]
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed / grated [24]
  • 2 large red chillies, finely diced (with seeds) [14]
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin [24]
  • 2 tsp dried oregano [4]
  • 4 tsp smoked paprika (sweet / mild) [24]
  • 3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes [300]
  • 100g tomato puree [100]
  • 1 vegetable or beef stock cube (I prefer the flavour of beef if not cooking for vegetarians/vegans) [20]
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional) [16]
  • 3 x 400g-425g tins beans, rinsed and drained (I recommend 2 tins black beans and 1 tin kidney beans) [305+252=557]
  • 4-6 squares quality dark chocolate (optional. check GF / vegan as appropriate, 15-20g) [106]
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To serve
  • Rice, tortillas, cornbread or tacos etc. (if cooking gluten free, check corn tortillas don't contain wheat flour too, especially the soft ones - these Old El Paso gluten free soft tortillas are brilliant if you're on a GF diet - found in some Sainsbury's and Morrison's supermarkets (and probably elsewhere too)
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes, avocadoes, sliced/diced red onion (you can soak onion in a little red wine vinegar if you like), fresh coriander, lime wedges, sliced jalepeno chillies
  • Sour cream (or yoghurt for a tasty lower fat alternative), grated cheese (or vegan alternatives)
Method
1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6 / 200C / 180C Fan Oven and toss the sweet potato and / or butternut squash cubes with the 1 tbsp oil, spread out onto a good non stick baking tray (or line with non-stick baking paper) and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, turning once or twice, until tender and starting to caramelise (if you like a crunch, you can add a scattering of cumin seeds).

2. Fry the onions and bay leaves in the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil in a large non-stick pan, for a few minutes until softened and starting to colour, then add in the peppers for just a couple more minutes.

3. Add in the garlic, chillies and spices and continue to stir in for a minute or two until fragrant. Then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, crumbled stock cube, oregano, and optional sugar. Bring up to a simmer, turn down the heat and leave simmering for about 20 minutes.

4. Add in the drained beans, and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes or so (if you feel like it's on the thick side at this point, feel free to add a little hot water to get your desired consistency), then add in the dark chocolate if using, stir through, taste (very imporatant!) and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

5. Add the roasted squash / sweet potato and carefully stir through to avoid breaking it up, then serve with your preferred accompaniments and enjoy! Delicious with a dollop of sour cream topped with coriander and chopped tomatoes, avocado and sliced red onions - served with either rice, cornbread, or in tortillas or tacos. Grated cheese optional!

Tips
Feeding the rest of the family? To serve three other people, while you have your fast day meal, mix two portions of the chilli with 3/4 of a small tin of sweetcorn, 3/4 tin of chopped tomatoes and a generous handful of mature cheddar, and heat through.



Then top with 200g of soft corn tortillas which have been chopped up and tossed with a few sprays of oil first (or a drizzle), and finally another handful of grated cheese and pop under the grill until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown in places.





Serve with their favourite potato chips and a salad topped with sour cream dressing.



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