The Aubergine...

Finally the Aubergine finds a worthy home in an unlikely place (readers, please refrain from any smutty comments): in a Black Bean and Aubergine Chilli (although I used Black Eyed Beans)! I had never heard of a chilli featuring the purple beauty amongst it’s myriad ingredients but there it was on the bbc website as I did a search for Aubergine recipes. In fact, I had two options. The other was a more traditional curry so I offered my husband the choice, via text message: aubergine curry or aubergine chilli? The answer came back, predictably, as chilli. I think he would eat chilli everyday if he could.
And, because this has been an impecunious week (week? Try year), I am using everything up in the cupboard and spending as little money as possible on groceries. When I do grocery shop, I buy several items that I refer to as wildcards. What this could be is goats cheese or a bag of spinach or a cut of meat I don’t usually use. These items lay down for me a gauntlet that entails me using them up before they go bad and my husband gets mad at me for buying stuff that we don’t use for he hates waste.
Anyway, this is a perfect dish for meat-missing vegetarians or, if you’re like me, you don’t like minced beef because of some childhood trauma because the small shiny beans are very meaty in texture and absorb all the flavour of the spices.
And another thing. A good chilli often takes several hours slow cooking to allow the meat to meld with the other ingredients otherwise it can taste a little wishy-washy and lacking depth of flavour. This chilli is as flavourful as any three day old chilli after just 30 minutes simmering, giving it a place in my Quickest Suppers of All Time Hall of Fame.
AUBERGINE AND BLACK BEAN CHILLI serves 2 (but if your stomach, like mine, has an raging, ongoing war with beans, don’t serve on a first date).
1 Large Aubergine, cut into 1” Cubes
1 400g Tin Black Beans (or Black Eyed Beans or other small bean), drained
1 Large Red Onion, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 400g Tin Tomatoes
3-6 (depending on your heat tolerance/bravery!) Small Red Chillies, finely chopped
100ml Vegetable Oil
½ Teaspoon Ground Coriander
½ Teaspoon Ground Cumin
Pinch Cinnamon
Square of Dark Chocolate
1 Bay Leaf
1 teaspoon Chilli Powder (more if you like it really hot)
Heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan over medium high heat. Cook the cubes of Aubergine in the oil until lightly browned and begin to soften. They will absorb most of the oil. Remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper and leave to drain.
In the same pan add a little extra oil if needed and turn the heat down to medium low. Sauté the onion and garlic gently until softened and fragrant.
Add the chillies and cook with the onions and garlic for another minute or two, to remove the harsh raw chilli taste.
Add the tomatoes, squashing them down into the onion/garlic/chilli mixture. Then add the Ground Coriander, Ground Cumin, Cinnamon, Bay Leaf and Chilli Powder. Stir to combine.
Gently stir in the Aubergine. Simmer for about five minutes.
Add the beans and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, melt in the square of chocolate and season with salt and pepper. Taste. You may need to add a pinch of caster sugar.
You can leave this to simmer for a further 15 minutes over a very low heat but bear in mind that the aubergine will disintegrate the longer it is on the heat.
Serve with plain boiled rice or hash brown potatoes and plenty of sour cream, chopped spring onions and grated cheddar cheese.


Kathryn said...

Freya - I made this exact same recipe (from the BBC site - it is the same as this, honest) when some veggie friends came for dinner recently. It is really, really good; I agree!

Anonymous said...

Forgot to say - I served it with tortillas, guacamole and sour cream, and we rolled them up at the table. Yum.

Definitely a surprise keeper!

Kathryn (at work so not logged in as me!)

Randi said...

Sigh, I wish I liked Eggplant ( Aubergine to you) but I can't stand the stuff. One of the few vegetables I dont like

Phil Treble said...

I made this from your recipe last night! Stunning. Delicious. and there's some left over for today.