Recipe Borrowing: Sweet Potato Chili

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This year marked the second annual Thanksgiving weekend chili supper among the Lew Crew, the Andersons, and the Jenkinses — three families who have known each other since before their adult children were born. Last year, I brought my own Crock Pot of vegan chili; this year, I provided Brittany’s sweet potato chili I’ve read so much about. [Praise be to the Blog Gods who make so many delicious, healthy recipes available to the masses.]

I was really excited about this get-together for many reasons. For starters, I hadn’t seen any of my dear old friends since last New Year’s. There’s Kaitlynn, who is a year older than I; Scott, who is my age; Shannon, who is a sophomore in college; and Bethany, who is a junior in high school. As we’ve gotten older, even as we’ve spread out across the state, we’ve become a much more cohesive — if not albeit less mature — group. It’s nice to see everybody after the hubbub of Thanksgiving has passed but the families are still all together.

For another reason, I love trying new recipes and experimenting with new eats with my fam. Perhaps against my better judgment, I cooked and served a brand-new recipe on the same day. Normally, if I’m not the only one trying a new recipe, I like to taste-test it first to make sure it’s fit to serve people. Ya dig? This year, my family was hosting the chili supper, so my chili had to be extra-incredible!

For another reason, this is the first chili “season” I’ve eaten meat since I was in 8th grade, so it’s been quite awhile since I savored various chilis. And finally, it’s really meaningful to see all of these almost-family members, because our family moved five years ago out of the neighborhood block we all shared for so many years. Scott works in Northern Virginia, Kaitlynn works in Richmond, Caroline and Shannon and I are in school in totally different parts of the state, and Bethany is still too young to rage 😉 I kid. But it’s getting harder and harder for the three families to pull off lengthy gatherings and then drive our separate ways. These days, no one seems as gung-ho to either host or attend a late-night fiesta, so it’s a real treat when we can pull off something like this with everyone in attendance.

And now, for your dining pleasure…

Here’s what you’ll need to make (my edited version of) Brittany’s sweet potato chili:
Prep time: 10 minutes, cook time: 90 minutes
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper — cored, seeded, and chopped
1 red pepper — cored, seeded, and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers — seeded and diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
3 2 large cloves garlic, minced
2-3 1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1-2 1 tsp basil
1 bay leaf
14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
28 oz. vegetable broth
30 oz. black beans — washed, rinsed, and drained
juice of one 1/2 lime
garnish: chopped fresh cilantro, chopped scallions

1. Heat oil in large pot on medium-high.
2. Add onion. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes or until tender.3. Add bell pepper and sweet potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.

4. Stir in garlic and cook one minute.
5. Add chili powder and next 6 ingredients. Stir and cook one minute.
6. Add tomatoes and broth. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
7. Stir in beans and continue to cook for 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
8. Remove bay leaf and stir in lime juice.
9. Add garnish.I’m not super-hype on spiciness, so I toned down some of Brittany’s spice factors. I also try not to add sodium to anything, so I eliminated the sea salt element.

I got rave reviews about this recipe, so my thanks go out to Brittany, as well as all those brave souls who were willing to be guinea pigs to test this incredible vegan chili! I told everyone that it was a new recipe, and that I am no longer a strict vegetarian, but I did not tell everyone that the recipe was vegan. As disappointing as it is, I’ve found that telling people something is vegan automatically turns some people off, when what they don’t know won’t hurt them. A few of our guests simply were not interested in meatless chili, or were more interested in my mom’s seafood chowder. Some of our guests were a bit wary of my chili, but they tried it anyway out of politeness. And most of our guests dove right in without hesitation! Hey, at least our old family friends were willing to try it 😉Question: Do you have a chili recipe you’re willing to share? I’m trying to expand my repertoire, though I always give credit to the original chef!

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