Sometimes I find myself dreaming of competing in a chili cook-off.
This hearty, delicious chile with its earthy black beans, sweet potatoes, corn and tender pieces of chicken swimming in a sea of spicy tomatoes would be a top contender.
It has just the right balance of savory and sweet with a touch of smokiness and a pop of heat to wake up your taste buds.
The starchy potatoes help thicken it and are a nice change from the usual kidney bean and beef chili. Beef doesn’t always win.
Can you imagine the smells at such an event? I can’t.
Because just this one chili alone made every room in my entire house smell intoxicating. Not to mention all the taste testing you have to do.
A kind of heaven for hungry chili lovers.
You can use a rotisserie chicken to save time or omit the chicken entirely and double the beans for a vegetarian version.
- coarse salt and fresh black pepper
- 1 pound boneless chicken breasts or 2 heaping cups rotisserie chicken cut in bite-sized pieces
- olive oil, for sauteing
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small bell pepper, cut into small, thin strips
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cubed sweet potatoes
- 2 cans (14 ounces) diced tomatoes with the juices
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- 1 cup corn
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- shredded sharp cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
- sour cream
- tortilla chips
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon oil to a Dutch oven or large soup pot set over medium heat and cook the chicken breasts on each side until cooked through in the center. Remove to a cutting board and cool.
- Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pot over medium heat and cook the onion and pepper (season with salt and pepper) until tender about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
- Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, black beans and corn. Season with the chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, about 1 teaspoon coarse salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook about 35 minutes, stirring every so often and adding more seasoning as needed until sweet potatoes are tender.
- Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and/or tortilla chips.
Originally published in July 2013.