Slow Cooked Vegan Chilli

This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Bill Sewell, a vegetarian chef who has long been one of my food idols.  It’s got quite unusual ingredients for a chilli but they come together beautifully and I think it’s really delicious.

I have tweaked it a bit and came up with the idea of slow cooking it when we bought our lovely range cooker that has a ‘slow oven’ in it.  You might be able to replicate this in a normal oven set very low or of course use a stand alone slow cooker – I’ve never used one of those though so I will leave the judging of the timings etc up to you!

  • 500g pack dried kidney beans
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 onions, chopped small
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, chopped small
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 350g carrots, chopped small
  • 1 heaped tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 250ml strong black coffee
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 pack fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper

You need to start by cooking the beans so this will mean soaking them overnight or for at least 8 hours.  You then put them in a large sturdy pan with plenty of water (do not add salt), bring to the boil and boil very fast for 10 minutes.  Now turn the heat down and simmer for about 1.5 hours.  You need to test the beans before you drain them – test a few, I’ve had times where I’ve tested one lovely soft bean but the rest of them were still pretty hard!  If they’re not done, keep cooking them.  If the water dries out, add some more.  Put your cooked beans to one side.  You can cook them in advance and leave them in a tupperware in the fridge for a couple of days if that works for you.

Now in a large heavy based pan with a lid that will go in your slow oven, heat the sunflower oil and then add the onions, garlic, chillies, celery, peppers and carrots.  Stir to coat in the oil and then sweat the veg for 15 minutes.  Add the cumin and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Once your cumin has sizzled away for a bit add all the rest of the ingredients, including the beans, to the pan and stir well to combine.  Bring to the boil, boil for a few minutes, stir again and then put the lid on the pan and put it in the slow oven for at least 10 hours.  You can check on it from time to time and give it a stir – it’s quite fun to watch how it’s changed each time you check it.  The vegetables will release their juices and you will have lots of sauce by the time it’s done.

I like to serve this with brown rice – the flavours go together perfectly.  And it’s also very good with some grated cheddar on top, which isn’t vegan I know but what the hell!  Enjoy.

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