Another Invention: Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili

To be fair, this is more a bastardization of several recipes I found online than an actual original recipe, but I think I kind of made it mine.  It was borne of the necessity to use up a lot of vegetables and the desire to eat chili this fall.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 large shallots, small diced -or- 1 large onion and 2-3 cloves garlic, small diced

1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, or 3-4 mini peppers

1 lb. ground sirloin

3-4 lbs. tomatoes, large-chopped and roasted for 35-40 minutes in a 375-degree oven with olive oil (or 2 large cans crushed tomatoes)

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 lb. sweet potato (1 large or 2 small), peeled and large diced

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons cumin

1/2 t cayenne, or more if you like heat

For serving:  shredded colby-jack cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, diced avocado, diced onion

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a very large skillet or dutch oven/heavy-bottomed pot.  Add shallots (or onions/garlic) and cook until soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Add peppers and stir for 4-5 minutes.  Add the beef, crumbling it as you add it, and cook until it is all fully cooked and browned.  While the onions, peppers, and beef are cooking, puree the tomatoes (if using fresh roasted tomatoes instead of the cans), pulsing in batches in a food processor or blender.  Add the tomatoes and beans after the beef is cooked.  Add the sweet potato and spices, and cook until the sweet potato is somewhat soft – about 20 minutes.

*Note:  if you use grass-fed beef, venison, or ground turkey, you may not need to drain the meat.  If, however, there is a significant amount of fat at the bottom of the pan after browning the meat, you should drain it before adding the tomatoes.

If you like more heat, throw in some hot peppers with the sweet peppers, or add Tabasco at the end.

If you hate your guests and/or you want to make Jesus weep, add cinnamon liberally.

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