I hated chili as a kid, I mean we’re talking so much dislike that I would gladly go without dinner if I could. Whenever chili was on the menu, I would eat about 1/4 cup chili with a big bowlful of toppings, (Yeah for toppings)! It wasn’t the chili so much as the kidney beans, and I’ll admit I still don’t like them despite my best efforts. Lately though, one of my friends has been making chili with sweet potatoes, and that got me thinking I should give it another go, this time without any beans whatsoever!
So… here we are, and I’ve just had this chili 4 DAYS IN A ROW and I’m loving it – definite success on the chili front! I’m head over heels for the way the spicy meat pairs with the sweet potato. Nary a mealy / chalky kidney bean in sight. I’ve added a couple new toppings as an adult; avocado and lime wedges are just the thing to take chili to the next level!
One key to this recipe is to cut the onions into a small dice, otherwise they’ll stay crunchy.
1. Cut both the ends off the onion, cut it in half, and then peel it.
2. With each onion half, make a cut from the top down towards the core lengthwise.
3. Lay each onion half face down and make cuts across the top, not cutting through the core because that’s what holds it all together.
4. Thinly slice and watch the small dice fall miraculously away from you knife. (Maybe I get a little too excited about the little things!)
For the sweet potatoes, cut off both ends and trim any bad spots. My sweet potatoes were only a couple of inches in diameter, so I cut them in quarters and then, cut the quarters crosswise into 1 -1/2 inch chunks.
A couple of final notes:
1. Everyone’s crockpot seems to work at different speeds. Mine took 10 hours to cook my sweet potatoes all the way through. I would recommend trying this or any crockpot recipe the first time on a day when you’re home. That way, you’ll be around when it’s ready and you can add your own notes about cooking time to the recipe.
2. The whole tomatoes, combined with the tomato paste really adds to the chili experience. I added the tomato paste in an effort to make a fuller sauce, not quite so watery. It worked wonders for the texture, adds a natural sweetness that cuts the acidity, and adds depth to the sauce.
3. The recipe calls for ancho chile powder which is really tasty, (try it as a rub on grilled chicken or fish). If you can’t find it, don’t worry, you can use regular chili powder with great results!
- 1 pound ground turkey or chicken, (I like dark meat)
- 1 onion, about 12 ounces, diced very small
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon ancho chili powder, (or 1 additional Tablespoon chili powder)
- 1 Teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ Teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 2 Teaspoons sea salt
- 2½ pounds of sweet potatoes
- 1 - 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
- 1 - 6 ounce can tomato paste
- lime wedges, cilantro, sliced avocado or guacamole, sour cream, grated cheddar
- Place the ground turkey, onions, garlic, spices, and sea salt in a 4-quart crockpot. Use a wooden spoon to break up the turkey and mix everything together.
- Cut the ends off the sweet potatoes and trim off any unsightly bits. Then, cut them into quarters lengthwise. Cut the quarters crosswise into chunks about 1½ inches in size.
- Place the sweet potatoes over the top of the turkey mixture.
- Place the whole tomatoes and tomato paste in a blender and blend until combined but still chunky. Pour the tomato mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes and turn the crockpot to low.
- Cook for 8-10 hours, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Taste the chili and add salt to your taste.
- Serve with any and all toppings you desire.
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