Cindy and I must have watched at least one episode of Nigella's slightly creepy cooking show, because we chased down her chili con carne recipe for future reference. The visit of my brother on a quick detour from his life in Japan was a good enough excuse to have a crack at it ourselves.
Obviously we had to make some changes: the recipe seemed designed to feed about thirty people, so we cut things right down; out went the ground beef and in came some TVP; and we decided to change the plan from the cornbread topping, to our trusty cornbread muffins. I think the main reasons we got a bit excited by Nigella's chili were the preponderance of spices and the addition of cocoa to the mix. We were expecting something a bit more exciting than our previous efforts, with a more complex set of flavours. Unfortunately, the cocoa was barely discernible and the combo of spices really didn't add much to our simpler Moosewood recipe. It wasn't bad by any means, but it didn't really improve on our previous efforts and was thus a little on the disappointing side. Having said that, when Matt finally arrived at 10ish he wasted no time in wolfing down a spicy bowl of tomato-y mush. And he looked pretty happy with it.
Our recipe really did end up quite different from Nigella's, so I'll reproduce it here.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 finely chopped onions
5 dried chillies, crushed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
10 cardamom pods, bruised
2 red capsicums, finely chopped
2 cups tvp, rehydrated with 2 cups of hot water
800 grams canned, crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon cocoa
400g canned kidney beans
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic for about five minutes, until it softens.
Add all the spices and stir everything together thoroughly.
Add the capsicum and the TVP and fry for a few minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, the tomato paste and stir everything together. If the mix doesn't look saucy enough, thin it out with a little water.
Bring the pot to the boil, and sprinkle in the cocoa. Add the beans, stir everything together and then simmer for as long you need to make the cornbread.