I think we each have at least one recipe that we can “rustle up” out of almost anything.
– pasta sauce (I have one “recipe” that involves drowning spaghetti in olive oil & throwing in some garlic & chilli. Delicious, easy to add leftover cooked veg on top, and if I’m out of pasta, garlic & frozen or dried chilli, dinner is the least of my problems because presumably the apocalypse has happened)
– pilaf (almost anything can be thrown in; you just need to pre-cook the “slower cookers” so it’s all ready at once)
– curry (I accept that this overly broad term is a bit like saying “food”, but here in the UK, it’s still definitely a category of food)
– “noodle-y bits” (I have a friend who’s especially proficient at making dinner out of some dried noodles and whatever needs using up in the fridge. I think it’s because her ingredient game is so strong)
– chilli (of course!)
Today, I’m going to talk you through my “chilli logic” (it’s not really a recipe).
To start, get something onion-y, and chop it up pretty small, unless you’re feeling lazy. E.g.
– red onion
– any other “big onion”
– leek (different, actually work very well)
– spring onion (OK, bit of a waste, these are better for shorter cooking time recipes to let them “sing” but they do the job here)
– celery (good to add in if you only a little of any of above ingredients, to bulk out. Will just about pull through by itself but tends to add unwanted level of “celeriac” flavour to final meal)
OPTIONAL: Crush garlic (or get pre-chopped from the freezer), add to pan, stir. You should definitely include this step.
Next, get some “fresh veg”, such as:
– bell pepper (any colour)
– other pepper e.g. Romeo
– fresh tomatoes (small varieties better for texture – higher skin to flesh ratio)
– at a pinch, carrots and/or mushrooms
Chop coarsely, add to pan, stir.
Now, protein. Choose one or more from:
– mince (any animal , preferably lean)
– Quorn mince (I tend to add butter or coconut oil if using this, as it is a bit drying)
– sausages (any EXCEPT Glamorgan style veggie sausages)
– beans e.g. kidney, baked/haricot, pinto…
(I tend to go for only kidney beans as they are cheap, vegetarian & easy to store)
Next, spices. As many as you please, here are some options:
– cayenne pepper
– paprika (smoked is especially good here)
– cinnamon (if not already quite sweet)
– coriander (dried)
– black pepper
Add the protein & spices to the pan. Stir.
Add a can of chopped or peeled tomatoes, or passatta, or whatevz.
Get some herbs, e.g. oregano, sage, anything green tbh. Basil’s too strong here, generally, it overpowers the mix. Add to pan, stir.
Get “secret ingredients”, including but not limited to:
– dark chocolate (a few chunks balance excess heat, sweetness, smokiness, savouriness, basically anything!)
– teaspoon of Marmite/Vegemite/whatever yeast extract
Add to pan, stir.
From here, it’s a stir & wait game. Meanwhile, prepare rice or nachos (brown rice best for fibre). If you want, you can add eggs as follows:
Make wells in the chilli, break eggs into the wells, move pan into a pre-heated oven, leave for at least 10 minutes.
Serve as-is, or with a garnish:
– spring onion
– fresh coriander
– soured cream