Pic of Bonfire chilli bowl

Bonfire chilli bowl

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Vegetarian mains

Bonfire chilli bowl

Serves 6 1h 20 min
This is a standard bean chilli enriched with plenty of smoky BBQ veg. Ideal for those nippy evenings when summer is waning and autumn is creeping in – when a BBQ becomes a bonfire. Ideally you should arrange your fire into three rough zones. At one end, you want a deep pile of hot, glowing embers for high-heat, direct cooking. In the middle, rake a thinner layer of ebbing embers for a medium, indirect cook. At the other end, keep a space below the grill that's relatively fire free as a 'safe space' for gentle cooking and to shift things that look like they may be suffering or misbehaving. It's also a great area to hold food that's ready. You'll end up with a spectrum of heat across the fire. You can feed new wood or coals into the hot end and shuffle everything along.


  • 2 sweetcorn cobs
  • olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 tins cooked black beans, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • red chilli flakes, or chipotle paste, to taste
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 butternut squash, cut lengthways into 8 wedges
  • 3 portobello mushrooms
  • 200g padron peppers
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 30g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 300ml soured cream
  • 2 limes
Image of Bonfire chilli bowl


Prep time: 20 min
Cooking time: 1h
  • Step 1

    Place your sweetcorn into a bucket of water to soak for 30 minutes or so, while you tend to your fire and create 3 distinct zones (see above).
  • Step 2

    Warm 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes until starting to soften. Throw in the beans, garlic and spices. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring to make sure the spices don't stick, before tipping in the tomatoes. Fill an empty tomato tin with water and tip that in too. Bring to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, and leave to cook over a gentle heat for about an hour, until you have a thick, rich sauce.
  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, lightly score the flesh sides of the butternut wedges to help the heat penetrate. Oil and season well. Cook the sides of exposed flesh for 3-4 minutes each, over a medium heat, and then turn the skin side onto the bars. Cook for a further 8-10 minutes, until tender to a knife tip. It doesn't matter if the skin burns. Remove and keep to one side.
  • Step 4

    Throw your corn onto the grill to cook at the same time as the squash. Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently, until the husk has started to colour and burn. Remove and keep to one side.
  • Step 5

    Oil and season the mushrooms well and then cook over a high heat for 10 minutes, turning frequently, until dark and tender. Keep to one side.
  • Step 6

    Carve the squash flesh away from the skin and cut it into chunks. Strip the husks away from the sweetcorn and use a sharp knife to slice the kernels away from the cob. Cut the mushrooms into generous slices. Stir everything into the chilli. Taste and tweak the seasoning with more salt, pepper and chilli to your liking.
  • Step 7

    Stoke your fire back up to a high heat and throw the padron peppers onto the grill to cook until blistered and soft. They'll only take a 3-4 minutes.
  • Step 8

    Divide the chilli between deep bowls and top with the peppers, avocado, coriander and a blob of soured cream. Serve with fat wedges of lime for squeezing.

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