Sweet Potato Chili
The star of this hearty winter dish are the sweet potatoes. The tender sweetness of the potatoes add a balance with the richness of the spices. The potatoes also add quality protein and substantial quantities of vitamins A, B, and C, while the pungent spices stimulate the immune system and increases circulation.
Sweet potatoes, Ipomoea batatas, are a trailing herbaceous perennial in the morning glory family, that spreads along the ground by rooting at the nodes. The leaves are beautifully heart-shaped with lobes at the base and the eldest of the leaves will give birth to pink, purple, or white flowers that resemble its cousin, morning glory.
Sweet potatoes are indigenous to northern parts of South America and later traveled to Africa and Asia. In the West Indies and Africa, the starchy aja type is preferred, while the sweet batata type is popular in most other parts of the world. It is the seventh largest food crop grown in the world.
This year our sweet potato harvest did not disappoint. Our sweet potatoes are harvested in the fall and store well in the pantry for use in our winter meals such as this chili. We enjoyed the greens in several dishes such as my Coconut Stewed Callaloo. I've baked them, added them to our chili and even made purple sweet potato pies (I will post that recipe soon!). They are so tasty and good for you too.
Boiling sweet potatoes retains more beta-carotene and makes the nutrient more absorbable than other cooking methods such as baking or frying. Up to 92% of the nutrient can be retained by limiting the cook time, such as boiling in a pot with a tightly covered lid for 20 minutes. Cooking with the skin on further helps to minimize leaching of nutrients including beta-carotene and vitamin C.
The healing spices of garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder are the perfect combination for the cooler months. The warmth of these spices fill our home and bodies as we get cozy with our big blankets, warm fires, and soft sweaters.
Double the recipe if feeding a crowd, or save and meal prep for leftovers during the week. Leftover chili is delicious on tortilla chips garnished with fresh onion, olives, lettuce and guacamole. Leftovers can also be made into Shepherd's Pie or enchiladas.
Sweet Potato Chili Recipe
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1-2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, finely chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano (or 3 tablespoons of fresh)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of chili powder
- 2 tablespoons of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 medium sweet potato, unpeeled, cut into cubes
- 2 cups diced tomatoes
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (not for everyone, but i love it!)
- 3 cans (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup vegetable broth, or water ( or enough for your desired thickness)
- 2 cups chopped spinach, kale (or other winter greens in my garden)
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp honey, or maple syrup if vegan (optional)
- Heat coconut oil over medium heat until warm. Add the onion and saute for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the jalapeno, garlic, oregano, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and turmeric about 1 minute stirring often.
- Add the tomatoes, cacao powder, broth, beans and sweet potatoes. Bring to a simmer and simmer about 10 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender.
- Add the winter greens and simmer until greens are tender. Add salt to taste (I usually land about 1 1/2 tsp salt) and honey.
- Serve in bowls with garnish.
garnishes can include: Cilantro, fresh onion, sliced avocado, cheese, sour cream, hot sauce. We like ours served with a big batch of cornbread fresh baked in my cast iron skillet!