Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sweet Potato and Chocolate Chili

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The cold weather makes me want to slow cook hearty stews. This one is very unique -- rich, sweet and spicy. If you're not into the sweet and spicy combination, this is not the dish for you. But if you are, this one will surprise you.
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 26-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 2 15-ounce cans of black beans or kidney beans (or one can each)
  • 1 tablespoon of chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a large lidded pot, sweat onion, celery and carrot in olive oil with a dash of salt until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, sweet potatoes, beans, chocolate, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon. Turn heat to medium low. Cover and cook until beans and sweet potato chunks start to fall apart, about 45 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Serve on a bed of wild rice, with a dollop of sour cream and/or chives on top.

The dish was inspired by a recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, by Mark Bittman. I added some spices and sweet potatoes to give this dish more complexity. Initially, it will taste sweet and rich. Then the heat from the chili powder will come through. It is probably not something that everyone will love. But it's just the thing for those who want a sweet and spicy kick for Halloween.

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