It’s surprisingly mild, and wholly vegetarian, and still delicious
In general, Martian girls are as robust in their dietary habits as they are in their general behaviour; rare indeed is the frail flower who cannot endure spice or strong flavour.
Still, there are of course a few. Usually, a term or two at the Crater School will cure them of any such propensity; adolescent hunger can overcome distaste, when they’re not offered a choice or a substitution. (Mrs Bailey is inclined to blame the parents, every time; and sees it as no more than her duty to set the girl on a proper path into adulthood.) Nevertheless, sometimes the untrained appetite must be catered to, at least pro tem. Whenever her renowned beef chilli is on the menu, there’s always a vegetarian bean chilli too: interesting of course, delicious naturally, but mild. Oh, so mild…
250g dried black beans
One onion, sliced
Two carrots, sliced
Two sticks celery, sliced
Much crushed garlic
One 400g tin of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
Spices and toppings
If the beans came from a supermarket or a bulk store, best perhaps to soak them overnight; if from a quality purveyor, you probably won’t need to.
Put them in a heavy pan and cover with several inches of water. Bring to the boil, boil vigorously for five minutes, then simmer until tender. Reserve the water.
In the same pan, add a swig of olive oil, and then the vegetables. Sizzle until they start to soften, then add salt and pepper, a tablespoon of ground chilli of your preference heatwise (for this, Mrs Bailey uses Kashmiri: much flavour, not too much heat), a tablespoon of ground cumin, another of smoked paprika, and another of dried oregano, Mexican for preference. Stir all those in and cook for a minute, then add the beans and the tomatoes. Swill the can out with some of the reserved bean liquor, and add that too.
Simmer for at least half an hour, until the beans are thoroughly soft and the flavours amalgamated. If it gets at all dry, keep adding more of the liquor. In general, the longer you cook it the better it’ll be, but that depends very much on the quality of the beans; you don’t want them to disintegrate.
Finish and serve with rice or tortillas (or both), and whatever you like in the way of sour cream, avocado, raw sliced onion, sliced fresh chillies, cilantro, grated cheese…
For those who prefer to tackle stronger stuff, here’s Mrs Bailey’s regular beef chilli:
And for more recipes from Mrs Bailey’s kitchen, check this page: