Prepare yourself: this dish might blow your mind a tiny bit.
About eight years ago, one drunken New Year’s Eve, we stumbled back to a chum’s house at the end of the night for a snack or two. Little did I know that my life was about to change forever. The lovely mum in residence had very kindly left a feast in the kitchen equal to a horde of drunken teenagers, which included a big pot of bean chilli and a well-stocked cheeseboard. As I filled up my plate with chilli and rice, the aforementioned chum said, ‘Oh, you should put some Brie on top of that. It’s amazing.’
Dear readers, it was. The Brie melted and became the perfect foil to the spicy heat. In fact it was so amazing that I’ve never forgotten it, although it’s taken me this long to get around to recreating it.
I should mention that this sauce contains Marmite, even though I hate Marmite with the fire of a thousand suns. Somehow it works here, so even if you’re a fellow Marmite-hater, I urge you to try it. A final note – like many tomato sauces, this chilli will be even better if you make it in advance and allow it to sit for a while (off the heat), so you could make it before you go out and then leave it on the side ready for later.
Midnight ChilliPrint Recipe
- 1 large onion
- 2 fat garlic cloves
- Fresh chilli
- Olive oil
- 200g each of tinned aduki beans, kidney beans and black-eyed beans
- A glass of red wine
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 200ml passata
- 1 tsp Marmite
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- Black pepper
- A big handful of fresh coriander
- 400g rice, to serve
- Mild, creamy Brie, to serve
Start by peeling and finely chopping the onion, garlic cloves and chilli (according to taste - I buy jars of chopped chilli in oil, which is a great cheat) and get them frying gently in a splash of oil and some melted butter. In the meantime, drain and rinse all the beans – I bought a can of each and used half, freezing the other half (all mixed together) for another chilli in the future.
Once the onions have softened nicely, add the beans and about half of the fresh coriander, finely chopped. Fry for a few minutes, then turn up the heat and pour in the red wine, allowing most of it to bubble away. Stir through the tomato puree, the passata, and about 200ml water.
Next, add the Marmite, curry powder (you can add more of this if you like – for me, the chillies are about the heat and the curry powder is more about the flavour), and a generous pinch each of salt, sugar and freshly ground black pepper.
Turn the sauce down to a simmer and let it bubble gently for about half an hour, before taking it off the heat and leaving (covered) on the side for at least half an hour.
When you’re ready to eat, reheat the sauce on the hob (you may need to add another splash of water if it’s looking a bit dry), and stir through the remaining fresh coriander. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet, then serve up with thin slices of Brie on top – thin slices are better as they melt quickly, so you just have to have lots. Cheers!