I’ve never been a huge chili fan. Maybe it’s because that it’s just never prepared the way I like. Zach, however, is a HUGE chili fan, and in our attempt to eat less meat we decided to try to tackle a vegetarian chili. I know. It sounds strange. How can you even begin to make chili taste good without the meat factor? I think the key to this recipe was to get as many different textures as possible, so that you don’t miss the meat. I think we accomplished that in this recipe, and I was insanely pleased at how it came out! We also ended up with a ton of the stuff, so it’s a good thing we liked it because I’m pretty sure we will be eating it for the next 5 days! Now begins the task of finding ways to incorporate it into other dishes. Chili mac anyone?
How about 10 tons of chili mac, because that’s just about how much we have left over. I can not for the life of me figure out how to reduce portion sizes for just the two of us! It’s hard when the standard can of beans is 15.5 ounces! I guess I could transfer over to dried beans…but that just means more work in the end, and who wants that? It is a healthier option however. Maybe I should think about this.
Ok, thought about it…still too much work…
I think the sweet potatoes are the key in this recipe, which is why I named it as such: Sweet Potato Chili. You need something meaty to replace the meat. Sweet potatoes are robust, thick and flavorful. They are certainly the key component in this chili. I also think that to serve this chili over pasta is one of the best ways to go. Just a little bit. Don’t go overboard. We chose to serve this chili over couscous because it is lighter and you can manage your amount more accurately. Besides, they are so freaking cute don’t you think!?
In the end, I think that the garnishes really make or break your chili. You can’t have a homemade chili without garnishes, and the more of them you have, the better. I’m one of those “pile all of the garnishes on top so you don’t even see the chili anymore” type of chili “eater.” The more cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, and sour cream the better. When you are serving this to a group of people, they are also going to find this one of the most important parts, so make sure you have a lot of garnishes prepared for your guests!
Another component that makes or breaks your chili is the bread you serve with it! Cornbread is honestly the only way to go. The other day we made fabulous pumpkin corn muffins, that actually inspired us to make the chili. Try this recipe out. It’s the perfect “soaking up” corn muffin. Try the honey butter too. It’s absolutely marvelous, and it literally means you combining two ingredients that I’m sure you have in your fridge. So no excuses!
We decided to go with a pale ale for this beer pairing. We want some “hoppiness,” but we didn’t want it to be out of control so a pale ale was the way to go. We are kind of obsessed with Big Sky here lately. We bought a 12-pack because it was on sale, and we just can’t stop drinking the stuff. Their Scape Goat Pale Ale is marvelous and the perfect addition to this chili. Try it out!
Well we are looking forward to more snow this weekend. According to Zach (my live-in weather man), 10 years ago this weekend, this area saw a HUGE snow storm. We are hoping that history decides to repeat itself. Even though I am totally looking forward to warmer days, I don’t mind a snowy weekend to kick of the spring. Hopefully we will be trapped indoors with a ton of leftover chili to enjoy! Besides, Cilantro loves the snow. I’m pretty sure he would be happy to see some more =).
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- salt and pepper
- 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed (canned or dried)
- 15 ounces garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (canned or dried)
- 15 ounces pinto beans, drained and rinsed (canned or dried)
- 15 ounces kidney beans, drained and rinsed (canned or dried)
- 15 ounces corn, drained (canned, frozen, or fresh from the cob)
- 8 ounces canned green chilis, juice included
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 15 ounces tomato puree
- 26 ounces diced tomatoes, canned
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 2 cups Israeli couscous (cooked per manufacturer's instructions)
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 cup tortilla chips, crushed
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- In a large dutch oven (at least 5 quarts), heat your olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook until onions are translucent and carrots and sweet potatoes begin to soften, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Reduce the heat to medium low, and add all of your beans, corn, green chilis, tomato paste, tomato puree and diced tomatoes. Mix to combine. At this point you can add water if you find the chili to be too thick for you taste (the choice is yours). Add the chili powder, cayenne, cumin, coriander and a dash more salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
- With the heat setting still set a medium low, cover the pot and let simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until all of the flavors have melded together.
- Meanwhile prepare your couscous per manufacturer's instructions. Serve by layering about a cup of the chili over top of the couscous. Garnish with cheese, avocado, tortilla chip and/or sour cream.
- Serve with our <a href="http://www.cookingandbeer.com/2013/03/pumpkin-corn-muffins-with-honey-butter/">Pumpkin Corn Muffins</a> and enjoy!