Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili — with Cinnamon Sour Cream

11 Oct

The Savvy Single Kitchen puts vegetarian on the menu practically every week. This week’s dish is another recipe from Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen: 100 of My Favourite Recipes (Penguin Canada, 2011, page 93). I was intrigued by the use of the sweet potato and had never imagined adding cinnamon to sour cream for a topping on chili. And I thought I had left-over canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce in my refrigerator.

I didn’t. So I had to scramble to find a substitute while the pot was beginning to boil. I believe I mentioned the ‘trial and (t)error’ of cooking? So before you start, do yourself a favour and go out to a large supermarket with a good selection of ‘ethnic’ foods and buy a can of chiptole chilies in adobo sauce!
This recipe earns high marks in the Savvy Single Supper mind. It’s a one-pot meal — reducing clean-up and offering a multitude of nutritional content (just look at all the colours you’ll be eating). It comes together in about half an hour making it a good choice for a work-night supper. And it produces four plus servings, letting you eat two servings this week and freeze the rest in single serving sizes for future use.

Start by getting your small Dutch oven or big soup pot out. Peel and chop one large onion. Seed and chop 1 sweet green pepper.

Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the pot and set it over medium-high heat to warm. Add the chopped onion and pepper and sauté for 6 – 8 minutes, stirring frequently. You want them to begin to brown.

    Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice 8 cloves of garlic. Peel and finely dice 1 sweet potato. Drain and rinse 1 – 19 oz/398 mL can of black beans and 1 – 19 oz/398 mL can of red kidney beans. Allow them to drain. Open 1 – 28 oz/796 mL can of tomatoes.

After stir-frying the onion and pepper, add the garlic slices, 1 tablespoon/15 mL cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon/15 mL chili powder and 1 tablespoon/15 mL dried oregano. Reduce the burner heat to medium and stir, cooking for about 2 minutes until the spices smell fragrant.

Add 2 cups/500 mL of fresh or frozen corn kernels, the drained black and red kidney beans and the juice from the can of tomatoes. Chop tomatoes and add to the pot. [I used a canned of chopped tomatoes, and felt the need to add about 6 ounces of water to the pot.]

To this mixture, add the diced sweet potato and 1 tablespoon/ 15 mL of chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. Stir ingredients until well combined. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil.

Turn the temperature on the burner down until the chili just barely bubbles at a simmer. Allow the chili to cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until it starts to thicken and the diced sweet potatoes are knife-tender.

While the pot simmers, measure ½ cup/125 mL of sour cream into a small bowl and add 1 teaspoon/5 mL of ground cinnamon. Stir well to combine, keeping the sour cream cold until ready to serve.

Chef Smith recommends dressing the bowls of cooked chili with the cinnamon sour cream and 2 green onions, thinly sliced, and 1 cup/250 mL fresh cilantro leaves. I had neither in my fridge when I cooked tonight. To replace the fresh cilantro, I used a squirt of the tubed cilantro paste. But next time, I’ll try it with the proper garnishes.

When I realised I did not have the imagined chipotle peppers, I did an internet search looking for a substitution. I ended up using a tablespoon of finely chopped red jalapeño pepper (about 1), a squirt of smoky barbeque sauce, a squirt of tomato paste (again from a tube) and a dash of Worcestershire Sauce.

The meal was extremely hearty even with the lack of meat and it was bursting flavour. The sour cream offered a counterpoint to the heat of the dish and the loads of garlic, with the cinnamon offering a sweet contrast to the spiciness. I enjoyed my meal with a cold Mill Street Brewing Company Original Organic Lager, 6 spears of asparagus and a wedge of Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread (tomorrow’s post). Just perfect for a rainy October evening with the ever earlier descent of night.

NB: I don’t know what happened to my camera today, but I suspect I had it on the wrong settings. Hope we can produce better photos for you in the near future.


One Response to “Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili — with Cinnamon Sour Cream”


  1. Homemade Cornbread — A Sassy, Satisfying and Savvy Side « Savvy Single Suppers - October 11, 2012

    […] they went on sale. I’ve been told cornbread is best baked in one. So when I elected to make the vegetarian chili, I went looking for a cornbread recipe to eat with […]

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