Everyone has their
favorite chili, but some people can be downright fanatical about it. The purists (beef only! only chili powder! get off
my lawn!) scoff at the adventurers (ground turkey! chopped peppers! add
some cumin!). Because I did not grow up with a family chili recipe, I fall into
the “sure, I’ll try anything” camp. Different strokes, different folks, etc.
All this to say: please do not throw things at me for what I am about to say, chili purists. Because my two new favorite things to put into chili are:
cocoa powder and sweet potatoes.
I know! Blasphemy!
But the former adds this lovely rich undertone and the latter adds a mild
sweetness that helps soak up the richness a little and it is
SO GOOD (particularly in vegetarian chili, which can get a little boring
and gastrointestinally intense, what with all the acidic tomatoes and fibrous
beans and that’s it.)
Plus: slow cooker. Bonus.
Slow cooker chili with sweet potatoes and cocoa powder
1 pound ground turkey or beef (optional)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 14-oz can tomato sauce
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 Tbsp of your favorite chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1. Brown meat, if using. It truly is optional- I’ve made this vegetarian a bunch of times and it’s got plenty of flavor and heft without the meat. (You do not, strictly speaking, have to brown the meat, either. I’ve skipped it, but I get a little nervous about foodborne bacteria and ground meats and slow cookers so I usually do it to be safe. I will often throw the onion in the skillet, too, because why not?)
2. Add all the ingredients to your slow cooker, stir it up, and cook on low 8-10 hours. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream, if that's your thing.
Is there anything else I should be adding to my chili? I'm all ears!