If serving with jacket potatoes, preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3, lightly rub the potatoes in olive oil and salt, then bake for around an hour while you prepare the chilli.
Chop the onion, carrot and celery as finely as you can.
Put a large saucepan on a low-medium heat and, once it’s warmed, add a generous glug of olive oil (around 4-5 tablespoons) and add the onion.
Add a pinch of salt and give the onion 5 minutes or so on a low heat to start to soften before adding the celery and carrot. Continue to cook these three down together, and add another pinch of salt to draw out the water in the veg and gently caramelise the ‘sofrito’. You will want this base to be super soft and melty before you add anything else, so be patient here – this really is the flavour base and worth the time!
Next add the veggie mince (it’s OK to do this straight from frozen). Break it up with a spoon and let it defrost through.
Next add the dried spices – cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne if you want extra spice, and the fennel seeds and mixed dried Italian herbs. Let the spices sizzle in the fat in the bottom of the pan for a few minutes until they’re smelling toasted and fragrant.
Next up, add the two tins of tomatoes. Fill one of the tins back up with water and pour 400 ml of water into the pan. Bring the pan back up to a simmer and crumble in the vegetable stock cube (or bouillon powder) and add the kidney beans.
Next up, add the flavour bombs! Some of these may seem a little unconventional but they help add umami, depth and savouriness to the chilli so give them a go. Finely chop the coriander stems and add these also, saving the coriander leaves for garnish.
Once all the flavour bombs have been added, thoroughly stir the chilli mixture, check the seasoning (adding salt and pepper as required) and then pop the lid on the saucepan. Let the chilli bubble away for 30-45 minutes or so, the longer and lower the better. Ideally, once the time has elapsed, take the pan off the heat and allow it to sit and develop the flavour even more – e.g. for another hour or so – patience is rewarded! This chilli gets better with time so it’s a wonderful one to make in advance for a group.
Once the chilli has cooked down and the flavour is intense and to your liking, serve it up alongside the jacket potatoes or some rice. Top with the coriander leaves you set aside, chilli flakes and even some vegan parmesan.