Ultimate Vegan Chilli
You could be forgiven for thinking that Vegans can be a bit militant but for me, 2018 is the year Veganism went mainstream.
This movement has firmly been helped by vegan converts, Ian Theasby and Henry Firth, who started their own youtube channel BOSH! to showcase their recipes creations. The BOSH boys are taking veganism mainstream, and whether you are full on vegan or just want to add some meat free days to your week, you're going to want to check out their style!
Ahead of their appearance at The Cheltenham Food festival on the 16th of June, I had the chance to interview the guys just after their trip stateside and I wanted to find out more about them, their ethos and also try cooking one of their recipes!
Welcome back! I have been watching your trip over in New York on Instagram and it looked amazing! What would you say were your highlights from the trip...food and places, you visited?
Ian: We were in New York to cook on The Today Show, which was so much fun! We definitely made the most of our time there, as we also visited the United Nations which was incredibly cool and one of the highlights of the trip. Of course, we had to check out all the best vegan spots too – Champs Diner in Brooklyn is amazing, they do banging burgers and vegan fried chicken!
When did veganism first arrive on your radar? How did the journey unfold for you both, to go from meat eaters to vegans and evolve into BOSH today?
Henry: We both became vegan three years ago for different reasons. Ian became vegan on the back of a New Year’s resolution where he challenged himself to abstain from alcohol for 3 months. I became vegan a little later, after watching Kip Andersen’s Cowspiracy documentary and realizing the effect that agricultural farming has on the environment.
Although when we became vegan we found that there wasn’t much good food out there, we had to pretty much re-learn how to cook! As foodies, we embraced the challenge and wanted to create delicious plant-based recipes that were hearty and fulfilling! We take a lot of inspiration from food that we enjoyed when we ate meat and dairy, so you’ll never go hungry with our recipes.
What do you notice about the people that are coming to see you and what are the reasons they are interested in cooking more vegan food?
Ian: We love meeting people who have bought our book or follow our channels. Everyone has their different reasons for cooking more vegan food, but it’s really interesting when we meet people who aren’t vegan and are just trying to introduce more plant-based cooking into their diets. It’s really exciting to see more and more people trying out our recipes and learning first hand how delicious vegan food can be!
What would be your top 5 essential store cupboard ingredients for cooking vegan food be?
Henry: Garlic – it’s the best thing ever and adds flavour to any dish.
Nutritional yeast, also known as magic dust! – it provides a great nutty, cheesy taste and a great source of vitamin B12.
Chickpeas – essential for hummus and falafel, plus aquafaba (the liquid ina chick pea can) is an incredibly useful substitute for egg and dairy in cooking.
Tinned tomatoes – a great base for sauces!
Pasta – a cupboard essential for a quick meal.
What do you feel is one of the most versatile vegetables that you work with when you are cooking?
Ian: Mushrooms are incredibly versatile when cooking, especially as a mince substitute. It’s so good that you can hardly tell the difference. Even my sister who hates mushrooms eats our Chilli! The trick is to pulse the mushrooms finely and then fry them off, which creates a meaty texture and taste. We also use the mighty mushroom in our Big BOSH! Roast, which would satisfy any meat eater!
What are your two most delicious fuss free recipes that my followers would be able to cook and the whole family potentially enjoy?
Henry: Definitely our Ultimate Chilli or Spaghetti Bolognese, two classic family favourites that are full of flavour and incredibly filling!
Out of ALL of your recipes, which recipes have you recreated that are essentially vegan versions of your favourite meals you used to eat?!
Henry: Our ‘Fish’ & Chips are a great substitute for the real deal, made with tofu and incredibly tasty. I loved Fish & Chips, so this recipe had a lot of thought put into it!
I'm really looking forward to watching you cook at The Cheltenham Food Festival (15-17th June) Saturday at 12.45. What are you looking forward to most about being at there?
Henry: We can’t wait for the Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival! We’re looking forward to chatting with visitors and eating some really delicious vegan food! It’s going to be a great day.
So the recipe I decided to try was the Bosh Ultimate Chilli! It went down an absolute storm with Mr Fuss Free, who quote "enjoyed it more than a normal chilli!" High praise indeed! After following the recipe to make the chilli I bought some tortillas, made a simple guacamole and tomato salsa (you could buy them if you wanted to keep it more fuss free) and layered up to make a nachos sharing platter!
BOSH Ultimate Chilli
Serves 4 (easily doubled for a freezer stash too)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 red onions, peeled
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped
30g fresh coriander stalks removed and finely chopped, set aside leaves
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 red pepper, small dice
1 tbsp tomato purée
250ml red wine
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g tin black beans
1 x 400g tin kidney beans
1½ tsp maple syrup
10g dark chocolate
FOR THE SPICE MIX
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
- Put the mushrooms in the food processor and pulse until very finely minced (you can chop them if you prefer, but it’s quicker and better with a food processor)
- Pour a little oil into the hot frying pan. Once the oil is hot, tip in the mushrooms with the salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
- Place the onions and garlic in the food processor and mince. Add a little oil to the large saucepan. Once it is hot, add the minced onions and garlic, the finely chopped coriander stalks and the chillies, and cook gently for 5-10 minutes, making sure you stir regularly. Add the chopped celery and red pepper chunks to the pan and stir. Add the mushrooms back to the pan.
- Add all the spice mix ingredients to the pan and stir so that the spices are well mixed and coat all the vegetables. Stir in the tomato purée to give a rich colour and depth of flavour. Pour the red wine, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar into the pan and turn up the heat to high. Stir constantly until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds and the alcoholic aroma has subsided. Tip the chopped tomatoes into the pan, stir into the chilli and simmer for 5 minutes, until the sauce is noticeably thicker.
- Drain the black beans and kidney beans and add them to the pan along with the maple syrup, dark chocolate and the minced mushrooms. Stir everything together really well and then reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer. Leave this bubbling away with the lid off, stirring occasionally until it’s reduced to the right thickness (at least 10 minutes). You can leave it bubbling for longer to deepen the flavours, adding more water if needed to keep the right consistency.
- Remove the bay leaf. Stir the coriander leaves into the chilli and serve.
As I was making this for children too I lightened the amount of fresh chilli and coriander. Also, I made use of a tin of aduki beans and a tin of green lentil I had in my cupboard which worked really well! If you wanted to make this into nachos like I did you can layer up tortilla chips with chilli, salsa and guacamole and (vegan) cheese. Do this twice and then bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 180 deg.
Credit: BOSH! by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby is published by HQ, HarperCollins in hardback BUY here for £8! https://amzn.to/2J1DbdX
The Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival is happening on 15th-17th June 2018 and also features wine expert Oz Clarke, live music and food demonstrations, wine tasting and children's entertainment. To win tickets: