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Chili Bean Spread

Another cheap n’ cheerful spread that can be made in minutes from things that are probably lurking in your larder and fridge.

  • 1 400g (approx) tin kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp harissa (or just use another tsp of tomato purée)
  • 1 tbs paprika powder
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp toasted cumin seed, roughly crushed
  • 1/2 tsp toasted coriander seed, roughly crushed
  • 1-2 good pinches of red chili flakes
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • Approx 3-4 stalks of fresh coriander or 6 fresh basil leaves or a mix of the two
  • A good grind of black pepper
  • Salt to taste

If you’re using fresh coriander, strip and use the leaves only (you can chop the leftover stalks and add ’em to soups, stews etc., or just put ’em on your compost heap).

To toast the seeds, put a heavy-based pan or non-stick frying pan on a medium-low heat and allow to get hot. Put the seeds into the pan and shake around for a minute or two until they start to darken and give off a good smell. Then give ’em a quick smash in a pestle and mortar if possible, otherwise;

Put everything into a (mini) food processor or hand blender jug (more work). If you don’t have any sort of electric blender, you can simply mash everything by hand with a fork – it works just fine, but you’ll definitely need to crush the seeds first. You’ll also need to finely chop whatever herbs you’re using.

Blitz until everything’s nice and smooth. You’ll probably need to scrape the sides down a few times while it’s being mashed up to make sure it all gets done.

Goes great on thick, crisp toast with some chunky slices of tomato, another quick grind of black pepper, and a few more leaves of basil or coriander roughly chopped and thrown on.

If you don’t have kidney beans, pretty much any other sort of tinned bean will do. The same goes for the seasonings (although garlic is pretty essential in most things IMHO). As with most things cooking-related, experiment.

Interesting garlic fact (that I’ve just found out) – the beneficial compounds in garlic are maximised if you smash or crush the cloves and leave for 10 minutes before using. Crazy allium chemistry occurs that makes garlic even better for you, and it’s damned good to start with. If possible, you should also only add it ten minutes before the end of cooking to retain these extra-healthy properties – the garlic will taste more ‘raw’, but I like that anyway. And seeing as this recipe uses raw garlic to start with, all you’ve got to do is smash it, make a nice cuppa and enjoy a little sit-down before you do the hard work of opening the tin of beans.

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