I am a serious chili fanatic. Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall - the time is always right for chili. I am not a purist, however, because I do like to change-up my ingredients and play with seasonal flavors. This chili uses one of my favorite fall ingredients - sweet potatoes. I know that sweet potatoes are available year-round, but they are harvested and cured in the fall, and their sweet taste and orange color are just right for a hearty bowl of chili on an autumn evening.
Sweet potatoes are also an affordable ingredient that can be used to give bulk to soups or stews while cutting back on the meat. Here I used sweet potatoes and black beans as the main ingredients, and made it a little more satisfying by adding just one boneless, skinless chicken breast. (You could easily make this vegetarian by leaving out the chicken, and adding some corn, diced squash and/or mushrooms.)
Since I am speaking of affordability, I should mention that I did use smoked paprika in this recipe. It may not be an ingredient that everyone has in their pantry, and it is a little pricey (I think I paid about $6 for a small can of it). I like to keep some on hand, though, because it is so very delicious, and because I find that a little of it goes a long way. If you don't have smoked paprika, and don't want to spend the money on it, just use regular paprika, or leave the paprika out altogether. It's all good!
- 1 boneless skinless chicken breast (about 6-8 ounces), chopped into bite-size pieces (thighs would work, too)
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil oil, divided
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, any color, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 (6-ounce) can of tomato paste
- 3 cups of diced sweet potato (about 1 large potato)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
- 2 (15-ounce) cans of black beans, drained but not rinsed
- 2 cups of water
- ground black pepper
- Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or other large pan, saute the chicken in 1 tablespoon of the oil. When it is lightly browned, remove with a slotted spoon to a plate, and set aside.
- Add 1 more tablespoon of oil, and saute the onions and bell pepper for 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Stir the spices and tomato paste into the vegetables, and continue to saute for another minute, to wake up the flavor of the spices, and sweeten the flavor of the tomato paste.
- Add the sweet potatoes, beans, diced tomatoes and water to the pot and then stir everything until combined. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, then add the chicken back into the chili.
- Cover with a lid (slightly ajar) and allow the chili to simmer on medium-low heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Before serving, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with any toppings you like.
See this and other tempting recipes at: The Weekend Potluck