a pan containing chocolate chili

spooky chocolate chili sin carne

A staple of our Halloween parties, and (whisper it quietly) also vegan. It’s completely inauthentic but very tasty.

  • 3 red onions, choppeda pan containing chocolate chili
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 pointed peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 3 small red chilis, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1x200g tin sweetcorn
  • 2x400g tins red kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 mushroom stock cubes dissolved in 500ml boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons red lentils
  • 50g dark chocolate

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onions. Sweat the onions gently until they are soft but not coloured.  Add the crushed cloves of garlic and all the chopped vegetables,  add the smoked paprika and stir it all around. Put a lid on the pan and leave the veg to simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes, the stock, the sweetcorn and the red lentils and leave to simmer again for a further 20 minutes. Taste and see if it needs any more chili.  Add the kidney beans and the dark chocolate, broken up into pieces. Simmer again for a further 20 minutes, this time with the lid off.  Season with ground black pepper (you may not need salt depending on how salty the stock cubes are), and a squeeze of lime juice.

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chicken & sweetcorn chowder

Following the triumph of the remote control roast chicken on Wednesday, there was enough meat left over to make another meal for 4.  Since we also had some rather old sweetcorn cobs (bought in anticipation of a barbecue that never happened) and some leftover new potatoes, chicken and sweetcorn chowder it was.

  • 4 fresh corn-on-the-cob 
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 300 g cooked new potatoes, skin on, diced small
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 500 ml skimmed milk
  • 250 g cooked chicken meat, without skin, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon 
  • pepper and salt
  • To garnish: 2 rashers smoked back bacon

Take all the corn off the cobs (hold each one upright, then use a knife to cut down the cob to take off the corn).  Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped onion.  Cook the onion until it is translucent and soft, but not browned.  Add the corn and the diced potatoes and then the stock and the milk, and the dried herb (if you don’t have tarragon, mixed herbs or thyme might do). Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 5 minutes, then add about half the chicken meat and heat that through.  Use a stick blender to blend the chowder so that it is coarse textured rather than smooth.  Then add the rest of the cooked chicken meat and heat through for another 5 minutes. Taste and add a sprinkling of  salt and lots of black pepper.  Meanwhile, fry the rashers of bacon until they are crispy, take out and drain on kitchen paper then chop into little bits.

Serve the chowder with a sprinkling of crispy bacon bits, and some nice crusty bread.

NOTE: You could use frozen sweetcorn for this, and it would also work if you use uncooked old floury potatoes in place of cooked new potatoes – it would make it more authentic at any rate!  In which case, peel and dice the potatoes and add them raw to the pan and cook them for 15 minutes until they are soft before blitzing with the blender.