There’s something magical about Bean Chilli. Everyone has their own way of making it, everyone has some special ingredient that makes it ever so magical in the first place. Well, I don’t. At least I didn’t while I was making it, not because one doesn’t need his own magical ingredients in Chilli, but because I was in a hurry and with not much on my hands. Mainly time.
So what was to do? I simply threw few cans of beans and tomatoes along with some hot paste and seasonings and baked it for half an hour. Just in time to wash the dishes and finish with the rest of the dinner. So it just might have been named “4 Cans Chilli” but I’m not sure it would be as appealing 😉
The idea came from Macedonian “Gravče na tavče” which means something like beans in the pan and is their delicious national speciality. It’s made of precooked beans, sauteed onions, carrots, garlic, paprika, chilli peppers, bacon or something similar, and then baked. So I wouldn’t go that far and call my dish “Gravče” because it certainly isn’t as rich as Gravče, but you get the idea. I also wouldn’t call this Bean Chilli better or worse than Gravče, because Gravče is “the one”, and because it’s just what it is. A simple, delicious dish thrown together with simple ingredients and made in a snap.
This Bean Chilli is creamy, spicy hot, hot (!), sweet and caramelised, rich and satisfying and will serve 2 hungry Vegans as main and 4 as a side dish. You can certainly adjust the quantities to your needs as much as you can adjust the seasonings. The nice fact about it is that absolutely has NO OIL. You can add few tablespoons if you like, but the taste won’t be different, just add some more creaminess.
You don’t have to use 3 kinds of beans, you can add whatever precooked beans you have. Some chickpea would add in perfectly too! For a kid-friendly version, omit the hot paste.
You also don’t need to oil the pan you’re baking the Chilli in because it’ll all be sticky, speckled and sweetly caramelised anyway.
This dish is perfect when you don’t have much, neither in time or ingredients and still produce a great dish to warm up the cold day!
So what are we waiting for? Let’s cook!
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, sliced finely
- 2 big cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 generous tbsp maple or agave syrup
- 1 tsp hot Curry paste or any hot paste you have. Or 1 tsp hot Chilli flakes
- 3 cans beans, drained (1 can is 400 g)
- 1 can canned tomatoes
- 1 tbsp dried herbs (I used Provansal) like oregano, thyme, etc.
- more salt or other spices to your taste, like pepper, smoked paprika
Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F.
Put sliced ginger, garlic and salt into a mortar and pestle or small blender and mash it into a paste.
Transfer ginger and garlic into a big bowl. Add maple syrup and hot Curry paste (or Chilli flakes, if using), and stir well to combine.
Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well but be careful not to break the beans much. Check the taste.
Pour everything into the baking dish. I used 2 small, ceramic ones.
Bake Bean Chilli at 200°C/400°F for 35 mins or till it's all nice and caramelized but don't overbake because it'll be too dry.
Serve piping hot with some nice pickles, lettuce or other greenies. Leftovers, if any, can be stored for a day or two in the fridge.
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