Bean chilli with cinnamon and bay

Bean chilli with cinnamon and bay

The Art Of The Larder
Mike Lusmore

Tinned beans made ballsy. I’ve given two additional variations here: baked under a blanket of cornbread, or roasted in peppers with cheese and sour cream. Be bold with the chilli and generous with the chopped salad, all spiky with lime juice and seasoned with salt.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons vegetable, sunflower, or olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 green pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1 large onion, finely diced
2-3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika – hot or sweet, depending on taste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
3 x 400g tins of assorted beans, rinsed and drained
chipotle chilli paste, (optional, or use chilli flakes, to taste)
a small bunch fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped

For the chopped salad

Quantity Ingredient
avocado, diced small
ripe tomatoes, diced small
red onion, finely sliced or diced
salt, to taste
freshly squeezed lime, juiced, to taste

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
sour cream
Homemade chilli sauce


  1. Put the oil into a heavy-bottomed frying pan over a moderate heat and fry the cinnamon, bay leaves, celery, green pepper and onion until the vegetables are soft, about 8–10 minutes. Add the garlic and ground spices and fry for another couple of minutes.
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the drained beans, mixing thoroughly. Add the chilli paste or flakes, if using, and season with salt, then cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes for the beans to heat up and the flavours to meld, checking the seasoning.
  4. Take the pan off the heat and add the coriander, then mix well and set to one side.
  5. Use the cornbread recipe, omitting the honey and oregano. Use the bean recipe, hot or cold, freshly made or from the fridge – either is fine to bake under the cornbread.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  7. Pour the beans into a medium-sized high-sided oven dish.
  8. Prepare the cornbread mix and pour evenly over the surface of the beans, leaving no gaps.
  9. Bake in the hot oven for 20–25 minutes, until the cornbread is firm to touch and golden, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the bread (not the beans!) comes out clean.
  10. Mix together the ingredients for the chopped salad.
  11. Remove from the oven and serve with the chopped salad, sour cream and chilli sauce if you like.


  • Baked under Cornbread
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