Smoky Veggie Chili


2 onions
olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
2 heaped teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons quality cocoa powder
1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter
1–2 fresh red chillies
3 large mixed-colour peppers
2 sweet potatoes (10oz each)
1 bunch of fresh coriander (1/3oz)
2 small cans of butter beans
3 small cans of plum tomatoes
8 small jacket potatoes
5oz Cheddar cheese
4 little gem lettuces
8 tablespoons natural yoghurt


  • Put a large casserole pan on a medium-low heat and a griddle pan beside it on a high heat. The idea here is to work in batches, starting by charring the veg on the griddle to add a smoky flavour dimension. Peel the onions and cut into ¼ inch dice, char on the griddle for 3 minutes, then place in the casserole pan with 2 tablespoons of oil, the cumin seeds, paprika, cocoa and peanut butter, stirring occasionally. Slice the chilli(es) ¼ inch thick and griddle while you deseed and roughly chop the peppers and chop the sweet potatoes into rough ½ inch chunks (leave the skin on for extra nutritional benefit, just give them a wash). Griddle it all, adding to the casserole pan as you go. Finely chop and add the coriander stalks.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Drain the beans in a sieve over the casserole pan so the juices go in, then tip the beans into the griddle pan in an even layer. Have faith and leave them without stirring until they start to char and burst, then add to the veg. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Stir well, then pop the lid on ajar and leave for 1 hour, or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, wash the potatoes, prick, then bake for 1 hour, or until crispy on the outside, fluffy in the middle.
  • Just before serving, finely chop the coriander leaves and stir through the chilli, taste and season to perfection. Cut a cross into each spud, pinching the bottoms so they open, then grate the cheese and divide it between them, stuffing it in well. Pick apart the gem lettuces, and serve each cheesy spud with a good portion of chilli, some gem leaves and a dollop of yoghurt.


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