Veggie Chilli

Every year in Adelaide we all sit around, look at one another and exclaim in surprise to how cold it is. To be fair .. we get the extremes here .. its hard to go from 45 degrees to 1 degrees (and below !) … especially when central heating simply doesn’t exist here. A true ‘Adelaidian” will complain through the worst of winter and the very hottest of summer. Secretly we could not live without our seasons, I am thinking of our beloved wine grapes here …

Personally, apart from those terribly cold mornings I don’t mind it. I see it as touch of the UK and enjoy pilling on my collection of woolly hats and scarfs. Of course the excuse to cook up some bold and spicy dinners isn’t half bad either. This amazing veggie chiili is definitely one of them. With a great kick of spices, fennel and herbs it is great for digestive health. A decent dose of veggies and a great protein kick from the beans leaves you feeling both nourished and warmed … not to mention it is both budget friendly and easy to take along to any pot luck dinner. It freezes like a dream too !

Veggie Chilli Recipe

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1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion
1 Small Fennel
3 garlic cloves
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 red chilli
1 tsp cayenne pepper/chilli powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 dried chipotle chilli ( optional )
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 bunch of coriander
1 tbsp of fresh oregano (heaped)
1 tbsp ACV
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 lcarrot
1 small sweet potato
2 zucchini
800 gms beans ( Black/Kidney – mixed is good )
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can whole tomatoes
1 lime

Natural Yoghurt, Avocado and Cos Lettuce leaves to serve

Method:

  1. Peel and roughly chop the onion, along with the fennel.
  2. Peel and slice garlic.
  3. Halve, deseed and roughly chop the peppers and finely chop deseeded chilli.
  4. Chop Coriander root (reserve leaves) and oregano.
  5. Heat coconut oil in large pot. Add onion, garlic, fennel and peppers. Cook for 8 minutes or until onion is translucent.
  6. Add the mixed spices, herbs, chilli and chipotle chilli. Cook for 10 minutes. Add a little water if needed.
  7. Add chopped vegetables ( bite size cubes ) and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Add tinned tomatoes, beans (drained and rinsed) and apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, give a good stir and bring to the boil.
  9. Allow to simmer for 40 mins, add filtered water if needed. Stir every 10 mins.
  10. Once cooked and cooled slightly add cocoa, Half the lime juice and half the coriander. Give a good stir

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Serve in a big bowl with sides and lime wedges and nourish  !

Ps. Don’t be alarmed by the cocoa ( you can make it cocao if you wish ) it creates a richness in the dish.

A Russian Rendezvous

So Friday was not the best day for myself nor Sam. We both had to call in the office sick – him because he has caught a particularly bad ‘man flu’ on his Mexican adventures ( despite me feeding us some seriously spicy immune fighting stews of late ); myself because somewhere along the line last week I have eaten something that very much does not agree with my delicate colon. Truth be told, I highly suspect the beautiful box of  handmade chocolates that my clients gifted me with – and I suddenly pretended ( too myself ) I could eat without consequence . I am still very much learning a moment of pleasure is not worth hours/days of subsequent pain.

Often when things become so painful and uncomfortable, food feels like the enemy and I don’t want to put much effort in to creating kitchen masterpieces …

Last Friday evening however I decided that I was not  going to fall back on my “lets have some homemade soup from the freezer” mode and created what I think ( and hope you do too !) is a delicious and nutritious version of a creamy Russian stroganoff. Given the baltic weather we are experiencing in Adelaide it seemed more than appropriate ! The recipe I used is an adaption of several recipes I have eaten over the years but Teresa Cutter’s Lean Beef Stroganoff provided much inspiration – that women is a genius!

Subsequently I felt much happier accomplishing something. Sometimes doing the opposite of how you feel is the key to feeling at least mentally better ! And when one feels mentally better those physical hurdles seem far less impossible to overcome.

So without further adieu I give you the blog’s first recipe …

HEALTHY CHICKEN STROGANOFF

I promise you if you give the heroes ( mushrooms, garlic, thyme and onions)  time to really ‘meld’ ( for lack of a better term ! )  in this dish you will think it is incredibly decadent – and most importantly – SERIOUS comfort food !! I do not claim it is authentically Russian (at all  ) .. but I do claim that body, mind and soul will adore this on a blustery day … as will the masculine counter part ! I served it with steamed brown rice – but think it would be lovely with a sweet potato or cauliflower mash – YUM.

INGREDIENTS – Serves 2-3

1 large halved and thinly sliced brown onion
3 cloves crushed garlic + 1/2 glove finely chopped
1 large handful of fresh thyme – chopped
Pinch each  dried oregano/rosemary
280 gms of earthy mushrooms (Portobello, Swiss or you  favourite )
1 Large Zucchini thinly sliced
370gms ( approx ) Organic chicken breast cut in thin strips and seasoned with pepper and squeeze of lemon juice.
1 cup of chicken stock ( homemade or best you can afford )
3 tbsp of non fat natural yogurt ( I love Tamar Valley )
1/2 – 1 tsp of arrowroot
1/2 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
Two large handfuls of baby spinach
Zest of 1 Lemon plus tbsp of juice
1/2 cup tightly packed parsley – chopped

TO MAKE

Combine chopped parley, lemon rind, chopped garlic and lemon juice. Season and lay ‘gremolata’ aside for serving.

Heat 1bsp of olive oil in a large covered pan/shallow pot.

Add onion, crushed garlic and thyme, allow to sizzle, reduce heat and cook until softened and caramel colour.

Add zucchini, mushroom and a pinch ( each )  of dried oregano and rosemary ( you may need to add a little more olive oil ).

Once all vegetables are beautifully cooked remove and cover .

Deglaze pan with 1sp of aged balsamic (or red wine).

Brown seasoned chicken and add stock.

Allow to simmer for a minute or two, then add back onion and vegetable mixture.

Add arrowroot to thicken sauce 1/2 tsp at a time.

Once all well combined and chicken cooked  add spinach ( allow to wilt ), then yoghurt – turn heat down to low to avoid curdling

Season with lots of pepper – and salt if necessary ( some stocks are salty enough! )

Serve with gremolata and steamed brown rice…  Приятного аппетита  !!

Incidentally I have dreamed of travelling the Trans-Mongolian to Russia for years ( I blame Kate Furnivall’s stunning novels )….