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Jo Pratt's, Black Bean Chilli and DIY Guacamole

Updated: Jan 31, 2020

By Jo Pratt from The Flexible Vegetarian (Frances Lincoln)

Thick, rich, hearty, spicy and smoky – what’s not to like? This recipe makes a large quantity that is perfect for sharing with a group of friends.  Put the big pot in the middle of the table and arrange your own guacamole components around it.

Photography & Styling, Caroline Marson

Time taken 1 hour 



3 tbsp olive oil

2 large onions, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed

2 star anise

1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

250ml/9 fl oz/1 cup red wine

4 x 400g/14 oz tins black beans, drained

2 x 400g/14 oz tins chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato puree

3 whole roasted red (bell) peppers, from a jar, finely chopped

2. tbsp chipotle paste

2 tbsp cocoa powder

pinch dried chilli flakes (optional)

flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the DIY guacamole

250ml/9 fl oz/1 cup sour cream

2 tsp paprika

bunch coriander (cilantro), finely shredded

1 red onion, finely sliced

1 green chilli, finely sliced

3 ripe avocados, peeled, stone removed and sliced

2 limes, cut into wedges


1.   Heat the oil in a large casserole or saucepan. 

2.    Add the onion, garlic, cumin seeds, star anise and cinnamon stick, and gently sauté for around 10 minutes until the onion is softened and becoming nicely golden.

3.    Increase the heat and add the red wine. 

4.    Boil for 1 minute to reduce, then add the black beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, red peppers, chipotle paste and cocoa powder, and season with salt and pepper. 

5.    If you know you want a really spicy chilli, add a pinch of chilli flakes. You can also add this nearer to the end of the cooking time after you’ve had a taste.

6.    Bring to the simmer, cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 35–45 minutes, stirring every so often, until rich and thickened.

7.    While the chilli is cooking, mix together the sour cream and paprika. 

8.    Place in a serving bowl and put the other guacamole components into their own individual serving bowls, popping them all in the middle of the table. 

9.   When you serve the chilli, everyone can knock together their own guacamole and mop up the chilli juices with a wedge of cornbread.


If you’re missing the meat in your chilli, you can easily switch the black beans for 1kg/2 lb 4 oz beef or pork mince (or a mix of the two). Add to the pan after you’ve

sauteed the onion, garlic and spices. Fry over a high heat until the mince has browned. Add the red wine and continue as above. You can also add 1 tin of black or

kidney beans after the red wine if you’d like a mix.

Maple Butter Cornbread

Paired with a spicy chilli dish, the buttery sweetness of this bread takes the edge off the heat. The only problem is you’ll keep going back for more! 

Time taken 25 minutes

Serves 8


200g/7 oz cornmeal or fine polenta

150g/5½ oz plain (all purpose) flour

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

1½ tsp onion salt

1 egg

300ml/10 fl oz/1¼ cups buttermilk

175ml/6 fl oz/cup milk

75g/2½ oz butter, plus an extra knob

75ml/2½ fl oz/1⁄3 cup maple syrup


1.   Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

2.    Place the cornmeal or polenta in a large bowl with the flour, bicarbonate of soda and onion salt.

3.    Break the egg into a jug and mix with the buttermilk and milk.

4.    Pour into the dry ingredients then mix until just combined, making sure you don’t overmix otherwise you will make the cornbread tough.

5.    Place a 23cm–25cm/9–10 inch non-stick ovenproof frying pan/skillet over a high heat and add the knob of butter. 

6.    Swirl around to coat the inside of the pan. 

7.    Pour in the bread batter and level the surface. 

8.    Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes, until golden and just firm.

9.    While the cornbread is cooking, melt together the measured butter and the maple syrup to give you a golden, sweet liquid.

10.As soon as the cornbread is cooked, immediately pour over the maple butter, covering the whole surface. 

11.Return to the oven for 1 minute allowing the maple butter to bubble around the edges of the pan.

12.Remove from the heat and serve hot, cut into wedges or simply spooned straight out of the pan.


Fry 150g/5½oz diced smoked pancetta or smoked streaky bacon until golden, then add the butter & maple syrup as per the method above.  Pour over the cornbread & return to the oven for 1 minute as above.

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