First off, soak the dried kidney beans overnight.
The next day, prep the veggies. I find the easiest way to dice the onions is to cut each onion in half, from root to toe. Peel and place the flat part on the chopping board.
With a slicing action, make little matchsticks from the onion lengthways, but not quite cutting all the way to the root end so that they are still held together. Now slice across the matchsticks.
Roughly chop the peppers and carrot into bitesized chunks, discarding the pepper seeds and stalks.
Slice your garlic and line up all your dried spices and herbs.
Now you’re ready to cook. Heat a little oil in your largest sauté pan or frying pan (I have 2 going at the same time to speed things up).
Sweat the onions first, stirring regularly for 10 minutes, until they become glassy. Put them aside, then sauté the peppers and carrot until soft but not browned.
Add the garlic towards the end, along with the tomato purée, spices and coconut sugar (if using).
Cook for a good 5 minutes and let your nostrils samba.
Remove from the heat and pile on top of the resting onions.
Now whack up the heat and brown the mince all over. Mince needs to be browned or the end result will be disappointingly insipid. You may need to do this in two batches.
Tip in the soaked kidney beans (tinned is okay in an emergency), tinned tomatoes and stock. Don’t worry if it looks a little icky. The pot will transform in a few hours. Stir in the veg, pop a lid on and let it paddle on a low heat for 2–3 hours. It’s done as soon as the beans are soft, but not mushy.
Taste, tickle with salt and pepper and add the cumin and dark chocolate to liven it up.
If you feel it needs more pungency, add some yeast extract, blackstrap molasses or chopped anchovies. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t.
To serve, cut the red onion in half and finely slice into semi-circles. Squeeze the lime over the onions, and allow them to party with the nam pla. Top each bowl of chilli con carne with a little macerated red onion, fresh coriander (if using) and a great big dollop of cultured coconut yoghurt in place of sour cream. It’s the holy
trinity to a good con carne.