I have a theory that the only people who don’t like sweet potatoes haven’t tried them. Or maybe they have tried them but they’ve tried them plain, cooked half-heartedly in a microwave and topped with something lackluster, like fat-free sour cream or worse: fake butter.
Sweet potatoes also take a lot of flack when it comes to French fries. Dedicated eaters have strong opinions about how they like their French fries: thick steak fries to drag through ketchup or barbecue sauce, thin crispy pommes frites to eat sprinkled with sea salt or truffle oil.
Now I’m giving myself a craving for French fries.
My point here is that sweet potatoes are easily an unsung hero in the tuber family and without having tried them in a wide variety of recipes that have different flavors and textures it’s hard to give them the credit they deserve.
Sweet potatoes offer a myriad of health benefits so when you’re making a hot, stick-to-your-ribs, spicy chili recipe they are a perfect way to inject a little nutrition into your dinner.
Chipotle-Spiced Sweet Potato Chili
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, medium dice
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into ½ inch dice
2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 tablespoon chili pepper
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cup dark beer
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed with their juice
2 whole chipotle peppers In adobo sauce, chopped
½ cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon red hot sauce (or more, if desired)
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 ears corn, kernels removed or 1½ cups frozen corn
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups tortilla chips, crushed
How To Prepare At Home
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan and toss with one tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper as desired and bake for approximately 8-10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are just tender.
Heat a deep heavy pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Sauté the onions until lightly caramelized. Add the garlic, chili powder, chipotle powder and cumin and cook for an additional minute or until spices are fragrant. Stir them frequently so they don’t burn at the bottom of the pan.
Deglaze the pan with the beer and scrape up any browned bits (these are called fond and they’re full of flavor) from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, chipotle peppers, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.
Simmer the chili for about 15-20 minutes or until it begins to thicken slightly. Add the corn, beans, sweet potatoes, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in a bowl topped with crushed tortilla chips, if desired.
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