Today at work we had a team chili cook off, (great idea in theory, not so great for the meeting you almost fall asleep in immediately after). We had six people cook chili, and then the rest brought sides, drinks, desserts, and of course, fixin’s! As one of the chili cookers, I volunteered to make the mandatory vegetarian chili out of the bunch. And guess what- mine won! Who would have thought a vegetarian chili could win a southern, meat-lover’s chili cook off? Bottom line: this shit is GOOD.
I knew from the start I wanted to make a sweet potato and black bean chili for this. As I was making the chili, sautéing the onions and spices, I casually added a whole jalapeño, seeds ‘n all without really considering my audience. That’s how we roll in my house. But my first taste test was like CRAP this is too SPICY for the general public. It’s 10 PM, there’s no way in heck I’m going to the store, so I’m frantically looking around my house for something sweet to balance out the spice.
I find an apple in my fridge…some honey in the pantry….hmmm this might just be weird enough to work.
Another weird-ish technique I used was with my new favorite toy the immersion blender. (You can get your own here: Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-75BC 200 Watt 2 Speed Hand Blender (Brushed Chrome))
By blending up half the soup, (you could do this in a blender too) it makes the chili base thick and creamy rather than liquidy. I loved the way this turned out.
And then for good measure I stirred in a little sour cream and cheese at the end to ease the spice even more. And it’s just plain delicious and creamy that way.
Thankfully there was just enough left over for a small bowl all for myself. Which I promptly ate standing over my counter right out of the crockpot when I got home. All in all, not a bad day at the office 😉
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- ½ tbsp salt
- Cracked black pepper
- 1 jalapeno, diced (seeds and all!)
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2- 14 oz cans black beans, not drained
- 28 oz diced tomatoes
- Quart of vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 chipotle from canned chipotles in adobo
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1" pieces, (you can buy these pre-peeled and cut at Trader Joe's!)
- 1 red apple, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup sour cream, plus more for serving
- ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for serving
- tortilla chips for serving
- In a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil and let it get hot.
- Add the diced onion and diced jalapeño, season with salt and pepper, and let sauté for 2 minutes.
- Season the onions with chili powder, cumin, and paprika, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the garlic, and cook 30 more seconds.
- Dump in the black beans, diced tomatoes, chipotle pepper, honey and chicken broth. Increase the heat and bring to a boil.
- Once it is boiling, add in the sweet potatoes and apple. Cover the pot, lower the heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
- Using an immersion blender, blend up about half the soup to leave some chunks of potato. If you're using a blender or food processor, just transfer half the soup and puree, (be careful, it's hot!) returning the puree to the pot.
- Turn off the heat on the stove, and stir in the sour cream and cheese. Let the soup sit 20 minutes, and taste to adjust for extra salt if needed.
- Top with your favorite "fixin's" and dig in!