RECIPE: Black bean sweet potato (veggie) chili.
You know what makes an exhausting week better? I mean, besides the alcohol? Good chili, of course. Welcome to Chili Week! Cocoa, cayenne, sweet potato and lime. What’s not to love?
For years, I’ve been on the lookout for a good vegetarian chili. Not just a chili that happens to be vegetarian. But one that makes the meat eaters salivate.
This is that recipe. What wooed me about it? Sweet potatoes.
Ok, fine. The recipe called for ONE sweet potato. So what do I do? Buy three. They’re so pretty. Seducing me with their complementary hues. A sweet potato, yam and Asian sweet potato.
There are several things I find hard to resist. Books. Bodies of water. Shiny jewelry. Lemonade stands. Dancing to pop music. And — apparently — colorful veggies. (So I used all three potatoes.)
The beans. It called for canned pinto and black beans, but I’m trying to avoid the cans these days. These beans, dried, were cheap and full of flavor.
But the kicker? SPICE, yo.
Cumin. Cayenne. Cocoa powder. Chili pepper. And cinnamon. Amen. Plus salt and pepper. I love the cinnamon and cocoa with the hot spice. It feels like the BFF of a good mole sauce.
Admit it. You want some of this chili right now.
After a long weekend in the office, it was fab.
As it simmered, I added more spice. Then more salt and a pinch of sugar. I poured in some red wine for kicks. And topped my bowl generously with lime juice, sour cream, cilantro and avocado before I curled up on the couch with the cat.
Hands down, it’s the best chili I’ve ever had. And I’m not just saying that because I nearly drank half the bottle of that red wine and was hence overly generous with my rating. This will absolutely be a standard rotation in my winter menu. Thanks Cookie and Kate for the idea!
RECIPE RATING: 5 of 5 bottles of red wine. Full of rich flavor you’ll adore.
|Sweet potato black bean vegetarian chili||
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces. I used a sweet potato, yam and Asian sweet potato.
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped, or 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on how spicy you like your chili. I added way more.)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (the recipe called for significantly less, but I love my cinnamon!)
- ground sea salt and black pepper to taste (I add a good amount)
- pinch of sugar
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, including the liquid (The can I used was tomatoes + basil)
- 1 cup dried black beans; soak and prep accordingly. (Or 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained.)
- 1 cup dried pinto beans; soak and prep accordingly. (Or 1 15oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained.) I think you cold also do kidney beans if you didn’t want/have pinto.
- 15 oz vegetable broth
- Splash of red wine
- Juice of 2 small limes
- GARNISH: Sour cream, cilantro and sliced avocado.
- If you’re using dried beans, they need to early attention. Soak them in clean, cold water the night before, or start early the day of. I also cooked them in a separate pot (drained from soaking, cooked in new water without salt or spices) for an hour, as I prepped the rest of the chili, before adding it to my big chili pot. I know cooking beans in salt and spices can makes it harder for them to keep their shape … which is why I added them to the pot later.
- In a 4 quart Dutch oven or stockpot (I used my lovely yellow pot), saute the garlic and chopped onion and peppers in one to two tablespoon of 1-2 tablespoons of organic olive oil.
- When the onions begin to turn translucent, add all of the spices, potatoes, tomatoes, beans if canned, stock and stir. Reduce heat to medium/low.
- Let it simmer on low. Cover for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (If using dried beans, you’d add them in for the last hour after they’ve been cooking separately.)
- When the chili is done, the sweet potatoes should be tender and soft.
- Add any more spices to taste.
- Add lime juice and stir.
- Serve with garnish of sour cream, cilantro and sliced avocado.