Remember last year (okay, about 8 weeks ago) when I promised, in a moment of delusional grandeur, that I would post 3 or 4 chili recipes in a week's time? And remember how that didn't happen at all? And remember how I then thought I could muster up 3 or 4 chili recipes in a month? And remember how that didn't happen at all either? (But remember how I instead filled that gap with a delicious and easy pumpkin ice-cream pie? And a recipe for falafel! And even a little tutorial all about spices and herbs? And lo, even some tips about onions?)
Please think of those few blog posts that I did manage to squeeze in despite the hectic holiday vortex we all get sucked into ... (and lest I be misunderstood, this was an entirely wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas season with lots of family, fun and FOOD, all lovingly prepared by my mother and mother-in-law!) And forgive me this egregious delay in the chili-recipe trifecta that I meant to share with you. Tonight, I was about to make my standard black bean chili with cilantro -- when two things happened. 1. I remembered my failure to deliver what I had promised two months ago. 2. I realized that I did not have any kidney beans in my pantry.
So I did what any good Off The Cuff cook does. I decided to reinvent my chili a little bit.
And here it is.
1 lb ground beef, or turkey
1 small yellow or white onion, diced (see my onion chopping tips above!)
1 small sweet potato (I had the garnet kind), peeled and chopped into 1/2" cubes
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 fifteen-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 fifteen-oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 fifteen-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 six-oz can of tomato paste
6-8 oz of water
1 dried chipotle pepper
1/8 tsp of ground arbol chili pepper (or more if you like really spicy food!)
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers (or more...)
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
Plain greek yogurt and cilantro leaves for garnish
Preheat a skillet to medium high, and brown all your ground beef or ground turkey. Towards the end of the cooking time, toss in chopped onion, and diced sweet potato and cook until onion is translucent, and sweet potato has started to soften and brown slightly. Remove from heat, and set aside.
On the same hot burner, put a large stock pot or Dutch Oven, and sautee the bell peppers on medium high heat for a few minutes until they start to turn soft, and have a few scorch marks, which adds a nice smoky flavor.
At this point, add a little water, and start scooping over the beef, sweet potato and onion mixture.
Next, dump in all other ingredients, and let it simmer until sweet potatoes are softened, and flavors have melded a while.
Serve with corn bread, or tortilla chips if you have 'em. Me, I just ate it with some Greek yogurt and cilantro stirred in since that is what I happened to have and let me just say that the yogurt adds a very good tang to offset the savory, sweet, and smoky flavor of this chili.
PS. Santa Hubby gave me a tripod for Christmas so I think I can finally start taking slightly better photos of my food now. (At least better in terms of angles and compositions-- there's still the unfortunate lack of daylight in my kitchen when I am making dinner... maybe I just need to start doing all breakfast foods so that I can shoot in the morning. Now there's an idea!)