I bought sweet potatoes to make homemade sweet potato fries the other night and was looking for something to make with the leftover sweet potatoes when I remembered a recipe for Black bean and Sweet Potato Chili. It's a hearty vegetarian chili with a good balance of sweet and spicy. I overdid it a little this time on the spice so add the red pepper flakes and chiles to suit your palate.
You could serve the chili over steamed rice for a little heartier meal. My friend Will (happy birthday!) brought us some homemade dark pumpkin beer (stout?) which was really good. I substituted his beer for some of the broth in the chili and it was a nice flavor - you could do that with any dark beer.
We ate the chile with homemade cornbread. I've been on a quest to make good cornbread without using a mix. My previous try resulted in bad reviews from my husband and daughter (and I'll admit, I wasn't crazy about it) because I made it with no white flour or sugar.
This time around I really got what I was looking for. It's Mark Bittman's recipe and I have had great luck trying his stuff. I think the technique of melting the butter first helped a lot - the crispy edges were fantastic. I added half a can of green chiles and about 3/4 cup of finely shredded cheddar cheese to it. You can bake it plain like the recipe below or add stuff to jazz it up.
Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili (about 2 quarts)
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 large sweet potato, diced
2 T - 1/4 c. diced green chiles (or fresh diced jalapeno)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T chili powder
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1-2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1 bay leaf
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
3-4 cups vegetable broth
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed & drained
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 T)
Chopped cilantro (for garnish)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium, and cook about 10 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the bell peppers, green chile, and sweet potato. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the chili powder and the rest of the spices and cook another minute.
Add the tomatoes and broth. Simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender but not total mush. Stir in the beans and cook another 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and add the lime juice. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
Here's the recipe for Mark Bittman's Cornbread