Ryoma and I have been eating vegetarian chilli for years. In fact, it was the first thing we ever managed to cook together without almost setting fire to my mother's kitchen. However, we always used the ready made chilli mix, so it was just a case of tossing in vegetables and a tin of tomatoes. This evening, we decided to make our own from scratch. The following recipe is the fruit of our labours - it's a medium hot chilli, so it won't blow your socks off. As an indication of how delicious it is, Ryoma had no appetite at all before we began cooking and had been feeling ill all day... he ended up having three portions of this stuff! It's a good job that this recipe makes enough chilli for six people.
6 oz (175 g) green lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chilli powder
2 red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 red and 1 green pepper, de-seeded and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 x 14 oz (400 g) tins chopped tomatoes
1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
½ pint (300 ml) vegetable stock
6 oz (175 g) mushrooms, wiped and chopped
1 courgette, diced
freshly ground black pepper
14 oz (400 g) tin red kidney beans
Begin by placing the lentils into a large bowl. Pour boiling water over them, leave them to soak for 30 minutes, then drain them.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Throw in the onion and garlic and sauté for about five minutes. Add the chilli powder, cumin, smoked paprika and chillies and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.
Next, add the peppers, carrots and lentils and cook for five minutes, stirring continuously (see photo above). Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
Throw in the mushrooms (we used the big portobello ones), courgettes, red kidney beans and a seasoning of freshly milled black pepper, then simmer for a further 10 minutes. Serve it any old way you like - we served it with cooked rice. Yum!
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