Haricot and Lentil Chilli
Whether you're a vegetarian or not, some meals without meat will eventually become a necessity - but that does not mean they can't be just as good, as this proves.
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First of all put the haricot beans in a small saucepan with plenty of cold water to cover, then bring them to the boil and boil gently for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove them from the heat, cover and leave on one side to soak for about one hour. After that bring them to the boil again, cover and simmer for 30 minutes; then strain the beans, reserving all their liquor. While all this is happening, you can very carefully pick over the lentils then put them in a sieve with the pearl barley and rinse thoroughly under the cold water tap. Transfer them to a bowl, pour some boiling water over them to cover and leave them to soak for half an hour; then drain them, this time discarding the water. Now heat the butter until frothy in a casserole and gently soften the onion, garlic, carrot and celery (but don't brown them). Then add the tomatoes and puree, and stir in the drained lentils and barley, and the drained beans and their reserved cooking liquor (made up to 1/2 pint/275ml with fresh water). Now sprinkle in the chilli powder, add the bayleaf, bring to simmering point, cover and continue to simmer for half an hour. Then add the chopped pepper and continue to simmer for a further 30 minutes, or until everything is just tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add a little more water if you feel it's needed. Reheat and serve with some nutty brown rice cooked with onion.
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