Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hot Potato, Hot Potato...

We're a little obsessed with sweet potatoes right now.  And why not? They're sweet, delicious and so full of nutrients; they really do put regular spuds to shame.  That said, this isn't a sweet potato post. It's a chili post.  It just so happens that this chili happens to be topping a sweet potato. (We ran out of tortillas and well, at the end of the day, a sweet potato is a carb too!)

Daddy Vegan and I had been craving Tex-Mex lately, and none of our usual chili recipes were doing the trick.  I think it's because our others ones are more "Mex" and not enough "Tex". That's where the 'chipotle' comes in.  "Chipotle" is a smoke-dried jalapeno pepper made from red jalapenos, meaning the peppers that don't get picked when green and are allowed to ripen.  The smoking process removes a little bit of the heat and replaces it with a dry 'smoked' flavour.  Most commonly, chipotles are found canned in an adobo sauce (a hot marinade of other ground up spices).  Recently on a trip to Target's grocery section, I came across ground chipotle powder - and bought it by the gross.  It's basically a chipotle that's been ground into a fine powder, and it's become a staple in my kitchen.

What I love about this chili recipe is that it's hearty, smoky, spicy enough to tease your tongue, and it takes 20 minutes to make. Yes, that's right; 20 minutes. That means WEEKNIGHT dinner, people!  And it's versatile. So far we've served it on baked sweet potatoes, as part of a vegetarian taco salad, in a burrito and it will be the main feature at an upcoming vegan "taco night" at our casa.

This is a base recipe; you can tweak it any which way you like.  Dial up (or down) the heat with the amount of chipotle powder you use; dice in some veggies (red and green bell peppers for color and crunch), or play with the bean mixture too.  Any way you fix it, it's sure to a be a crowd pleaser!


Chipotle Bean Chili


3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 cup water divided in thirds
2 tsps chili powder
¼ tsp chipotle chili powder (more if you like it really smoky)
1 x 15oz can pinto beans drained and rinsed well
1 x 15oz can kidney beans  drained and rinsed well
1x15oz can black beans drained and rinsed well
3 tablespoons fresh salsa (store bought is fine)


1. Over medium heat, add vegetable broth and onions to pan. Saute until translucent and soft (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and jalapenos and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently to keep garlic from burning.

2. Stir in chili powders and 1/3 cup water; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to form a paste. Add remaining 2/3 cup water and beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 10-12 minutes or until most of the water disappears and the sauce is 'thickened'. Remove from heat. Stir in salsa. Partially mash bean mixture with a fork or potato masher.

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