Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sweet Potato Turkey Chili

After two weeks of traveling and after this hectic week of getting back into the swing of things at home and work, I have been aching to cook myself a good, fresh meal. My tour guides in Israel were really great about ordering me gluten-free meals as we traveled around the country, but the meals were mostly either giant bowls of plain lettuce, tomato, and cucumber, or they were TV dinner-type meals with "certified gluten-free" written in Hebrew and Arabic across the top, which, while filling, were not particularly satisfying or wholesome. While I was very grateful for the attention that was paid to my diet, I have been craving something homemade and delicious ever since eating the first meal on the plane over. It has blisteringly cold all week in St. Louis, and I've had to spend all too much time outside, walking to work and class. I know, I know - we're babies. People who live in Minnesota are probably scoffing at Missourians, complaining about our "cold weather." Does it make it better if we're just not used to this kind of cold in Missouri?? Maybe not. But nonetheless, St. Louisans were collectively very chilly this week. Today I spent the morning inside, sipping my coffee and skyping with a dear friend who is many miles away, and what better way to cap off that kind of morning than with a steaming bowl of chili and a nice big piece of my favorite cornbread for lunch? I made the recipe for this chili up as I went along, and a lot of it was done to taste, which I would advise you to do as well. As I roamed the aisles of Trader Joe's last night, I picked up random cans of beans, an onion, ground turkey, and a little package of baby sweet potatoes with a vague plan to turn it into a huge pot of chili this weekend. Today I decided to get experimental with the spices, and I even added some chocolate and balsamic vinegar to add more depth to the flavor. It turned into a wonderfully thick and delicious chili, exactly what I was hoping for. This makes a huge pot, so be prepared either to share it or live off of it for several days! I will probably freeze several individual portions of it to bring out when I don't have time to cook a meal in the weeks to come.

Sweet Potato Turkey Chili

1 lb. ground turkey (or vegan/vegetarian meat substitute)
1 medium red onion
2 - 4 cloves garlic
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15-oz. can pinto beans
1 20-oz. can red kidney beans
1 15-oz. can white kidney beans
1 15-oz. can Cuban-style Black Beans (Trader Joe's brand)
4 -5 baby sweet potatoes or 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, diced into bite-sized pieces
2 - 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth (Trader Joe's brand)
2 - 3 tbsp. chili powder (to taste)
1/2 - 1 tsp. garlic salt
2 - 3 tsp. cumin (to taste)
1 tsp. oregano flakes
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 - 2 tsp. Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (to taste)
2 - 3 tsp. balsamic vinegar (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

optional: fresh avacado, sour cream, and salsa to garnish

Put the onion and ground turkey into a large pot and cook over medium-high heat until the turkey is cooked (or, if you are making the vegetarian/vegan version, until the meat substitute is heated through).  Drain the excess fat and add the tomatoes, all of the beans, the diced sweet potatoes, chicken broth, and spices, and stir well. Bring back to a soft boil and then reduce heat and cover. After it has cooked for about 20 minutes and the spices have had a chance to mingle, add the chocolate and balsamic vinegar to taste and continue to cook, covered, over medium-low heat for about 30 - 45 more minutes (I was baking sweet potato cornbread at the time, which partially dictated the cooking time for the chili, so just use your own judgment). Serve with fresh avacado, salsa, sour cream, if you like, and/or a nice thick slice of cornbread.


Anonymous said...

Yum, I love sweet potatoes and this chili sounds really flavorful!

Claire Berman said...

Thanks for the comment, Alisa! I hope you enjoy it, should you decide to try it out! :)