spicy beans and chicken recipe (separate or together)

this is a take on almost Indian style beans and some chicken sauce. the proportions are approximate – adjust them according to how you feel, depending on how cold and dark it is outside, what you have at home and so on.

Feeds 5 on the first day and 2 more the next day for breakfast (so… approximately 7); can be made as two separate dishes (the chicken sauce and beans as the side in case you are having a vegetarian friend over, or amalgamated and eaten as thick chicken soup with spicy beans if everyone eats meat. Prep time about 40 min, cooking time, 1hour time total, 1.4 hours.

you will need

1 whole chicken (1.3kg or so) or 1.3-5 kg of chicken parts whole legs or thighs work best)
3 tins (350g) of various beans (different colours for the fun, of course)
1 large (12cm diameter at least) onion, halved and then sliced in 0.3cm slices perpendicular to the radial axis
2 large garlic cloves (or 6 small), minced rather finely, divided into 2 portions
2.5 cm of ginger root, peeled and minced very finely
1 tin of peeled tomatoes or 2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped and 2 tbsp tomato paste, or 2 tbsp tomato paste and some 6 dried tomatoes, chopped up rather fine
2 tbsp of garam masala
1 tbsp whole mustard seeds
1 teaspoon dried hot paprika or half tsp chilli peppers, or half a chilli pepper, seeded and minced
1 red bell pepper or 2 Spanish peppers, cut into 2.5 cm squares
some vegetable oil for frying

First, prepare the chicken, as it needs to cook the longest.
Joint the chicken (a good guide here), cut into manageable bits (ca 7cm square), using a little of the oil, fry it off till brown on the outside. Add to a pot with some water (depends on how much sauce you want, and you can always reduce that later by simmering), fry the bell pepper with half of the onion and a portion of the garlic, add to the pot, add the mustard seeds and chilli peppers, put the lid on, and stew till tender. Add salt as necessary. If you would like any other spices, add those too.

About 30 minutes before serving, prepare the beans:
add a dollop of oil to the hot pan, throw in the onions, ginger and garlic, fry till transparent, add garam masala, fry a little more, add tomatoes and tomato paste, simmer some, drain the bean cans and add the beans and some chilli powder, salt if necessary, fry till heated through.

If you have no vegetarian friends, add the beans to the chicken stew. If you have vegetarian friends or are unsure, serve separately.

It is possible to add boiled rice or quinoa to the beans, then the bean dish is a main dish in its own right.

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