What's For Dinner: Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

I tend to pull out my slow cooker to make chili, but this is a quicker stove-top chili recipe. Like last Friday's Middle Eastern lamb stew, the recipe for this sweet potato and black been chili also comes from EatingWell One-Pot Meals by Jessie Price & the EatingWell Test Kitchen. Although the original recipe calls for cooking the sweet potatoes in the broth, I chose to roast the sweet potatoes to pull out some more flavor. Doing so adds about 20 minutes to the cooking time, so if you're in a hurry, you can always just follow the original recipe's instructions by simmering the diced sweet potatoes in the broth for about 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.

I like to play around with the spices every time I make chili, and aside from the obvious use of chili powder, some of my favorite go-to additions include oregano and unsweetened cocoa powder (something I say has to do with my Cincinnati upbringing, though I must admit I probably ate more Hormel chili than Skyline or Gold Star chili whilst an Ohioan). Playing around with the spices also helps you to control the heat; if you prefer a bit more spice you could add in more cayenne pepper, add a sprinkle (or more) of red pepper flakes, or shake in a dash of hot pepper sauce.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili (printer-friendly version)
makes 6-8 servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1" pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder, divided
fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 28-ounce can organic diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil
2. Place the diced sweet potato in a small bowl. Add in the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder, and a dash or two of salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Spread the seasoned potato pieces onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping the potatoes after 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
3. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to a Dutch oven or large soup pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and golden, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, garlic, chili powder, salt, oregano, cayenne pepper, and cocoa powder. Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, and lime juice. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the roasted sweet potato, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
4. Before serving, stir in the chopped cilantro. Serve with your favorite chili fixins' such as plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream), shredded cheese, crackers, or chopped scallions.

(recipe adapted from EatingWell One-Pot Meals by Jessie Price & the EatingWell Test Kitchen)