The Christmas season has passed and now we all will face the long, cold months of winter. Down jackets, mittens and big hats keep us warm. Sledding, skiing and snowshoeing are all fun activities in the snow but they can make us desire to warm up inside our homes. There’s nothing quite as nice as playing outside in the snow then coming inside to warm up with a savory meal. My favorite food to eat when I’m feeling chilled is chili.
Chili is a dish that originated in northern Mexico and southern Texas. It is a spicy stew normally made with chili peppers, meat, tomatoes, and beans. Seasonings for chili include garlic, onions, and cumin. There are hundreds of varieties of chili in the world and not all of them are spicy. I want to share a chili recipe my family loves. Instead of filling up the chili with meat, however, our recipe substitutes lentils and sweet potatoes. This chili is wholesome, warming, and nutritious.
Makes: 8 servings
Takes: 1 hour and 10 minutes
- 2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tsp. chili powder
- 1 (16 oz.) bag of brown lentils
- 2 (14.5 oz.) cans no-salt diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 (32 oz.) cartons vegetable stock
- 1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- In a large heavy-duty pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and red bell pepper; sauté the vegetables for 8 minutes or until soft stirring occasionally.
- Stir in garlic and chili powder; cook for 1 minute.
- Add lentils, tomatoes, bay leaf, and stock. Season with salt and ground black pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
- Heat a skillet over medium to medium-low heat and add coconut oil.
- When the skillet and oil are hot, add the sweet potato cubes. Stir the potatoes to coat them in coconut oil.
- Cook the potatoes, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on the potatoes as they can burn easily. Depending on the size of the potato cubes, they may not cook evenly. Cook them until they are crispy on the outside.
- After 30 minutes remove the chili pot from the heat and discard the bay leaf.
- Transfer 3 cups of cooked chili into a food processor and process until pureed; add the pureed chili back into the remaining chili and stir to combine. Taste for salt and pepper.
- Stir in cilantro and serve chili adding crispy sweet potato cubes as desired.