Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Chili

When I was a kid, my mom would make specific foods for specific holidays. I'm not just talking about traditional Christmas dinners or an Easter ham. I'm talking about cheeseburgers in the shape of jack-o'lanterns with faces made out of cut up cheese slices for Halloween and heart-shaped meatloaf for Valentine's Day (or heart shaped pancakes if it fell on a weekend). Birthdays called for pancakes in the shapes of our initials. This must be part of the reason why I make this chili every year around Halloween.

Granted, I also made this a lot in college because it's filling, nutritious, and cheap. In that case I'd often replace the black beans with pinto beans so it looked more seasonally appropriate. But, more often than not I'd make it this way. There's just something about the combination of sweet potato and black beans that I absolutely adore.

The spices are as they're given in the original recipe. I tend to add the chili powder and cumin called for, but add the cayenne sparingly then taste and adjust as I go. The same with the salt. In this case I used homemade vegetable broth and home-cooked black beans, so there was very little salt coming from other sources. However, if you use bouillon, canned broth, or canned beans, you'll have salt coming from those, so add the salt sparingly. Oh...and I forgot the cilantro, but you should really put it in.

This is also my first use of my canned tomatoes. I think I did a pretty good job. Let's start with nothing weird or icky happened when I opened the jar. (Hooray for safe canning). But then there's the aroma that came from the jar. Canned tomatoes you pick up in the store smell good, but these smelled like I had a just-ripened tomato in front of me that I'd just cut into. It was amazing.

Maybe even after all of the tomato canning drama, I'm going to do it again next year.

Halloween Chili
Adapted from The Clueless Vegetarian
1 T oil
1 medium onions, chopped
1 T chili powder
1/2 t cumin
1 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1" chunks
1/2 c vegetable broth, water or dark beer
2 c black beans
1-16 oz can/jar of whole tomatoes, chopped, juice reserved
1/4 t cayenne pepper (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder and cumin. Cook for another minute or so. Add the sweet potatoes and the broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.

Once the sweet potatoes are tender, add the tomatoes, the juices from the jar/can, the beans, the cayenne, and the salt & pepper. Simmer for about ten minutes more and add the cilantro.

Serves 3-4

1 comment:

  1. I love this kind of out-of-the-box food tradition! I could eat chili just about any day of the year, especially with sweet potatoes in it. Yum.


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