white chilli

when i saw simon rimmer’s recipe for white chilli in last week’s ofm magazine i was intrigued.

to make this vegetarian chilli you start by boiling together beer, stock, onion, garlic, chilli, peppers and cumin. add fresh coriander, beans and vinegar. boil a bit more then finish with some final herbs and spices.

so, that’s no frying of lovely garlic and onion, instead you boil it. in beer. then add vinegar. there are no tomatoes. what a weird intriguing combination of ingredients and method. and what a delicious result!

the dish is wonderfully light and mexican in flavour with a deep smokey undertone (i was lucky enough to have a stash of smoked chillies which my friends mark and phil bought me when they were last in the yucatan) and a balancing freshness from the vinegar, coriander and lime (that is squeezed over just before serving).

it’s also fabulously healthy as the only fat in it comes from the cheese which you (can choose to) grate over as a final garnish.

i ate a bowl of this as a simple supper but it’d be great with rice and i really fancy boiling most of the liquid off so i can try it with tortillas, guacamole etc.

update: i much prefer this as a soup rather than with rice - the subtleties of the flavours really shine this way. 

simon rimmer’s white chilli (serves 6)

330ml bottle light mexican beer*

2 onions, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 red peppers, deseeded and finely chopped

2 jalapeños, finely chopped**

3 smoked chillies, finely chopped**

1 tablespoon ground cumin

400ml vegetable stock

bunch fresh coriander***

50ml rice vinegar

pinch salt

400g each canned cannellini and butter beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1 teaspoon chilli powder**

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

250g cheddar or asiago cheese, grated

lime wedges and coriander to garnish

put the beer, onion, garlic, peppers, jalapeños, chillies, cumin and stock into a large pan and simmer for 10 minutes.

blend the coriander, vinegar and salt in a food processor to make a smooth paste. add the coriander paste along with the beans to the pan with the spiced onion-chilli mixture, and simmer for 25 minutes. add the oregano, chilli powder and smoked paprika. serve sprinkled with grated cheese and garnished with lime wedges and coriander leaves.

* any light beer will be fine, i used peroni nastro azzurro

** my chillies came from a bag of unidentified smoked chillies which were picked up in a mexican market. i reconstituted a couple using boiling water and tasted a bit of each to gauge if any extra chilli was needed.

*** i've made this using a mix of mint and flat leaf parsley when i was out of coriander - it's not as good but it's okay. i would use mint on its own but probably not parsley - you want something quite aromatic.