Are you the kind of person who makes up an appropriate name for your dish if it does not quite fit between normal classification lines? Our friend hosted a Grammy-viewing party, and chili was on the menu. Several people brought different types of chili, while others supplied various toppings. One of the chili offerings is the one you’ll find right here in this blog post. All the while, behind the scenes, there was an internal monologue about whether or not this dish truly qualified as a chili. When I told Amir, it was more of a soup, I figured we could call it a ‘shili’ or a ‘choup’. You can let us know what you think. The sure thing is that this recipe is definitely delicious.
Once all of the vegetables had softened in a simmering pot full of broth and seasonings, there was something quite off about the texture. It was definitely too thin to truly be called a chili, and by this late hour, it was time to think of a quick fix. One great technique for changing the thickness of a soup is to blend a portion of it, adding the smooth purée back to the original pot. After spooning a few cups of the mixture into a food processor, the blend was scraped into the pot and stirred about to reveal a nicely thickened dish. The other key element to this chili (choup?) was the homemade vegetable broth. All of the veggies were prepped the night before, so a bowl full of bell pepper tops, garlic skins, sweet potato peels, cilantro stems, serrano pepper tops and lime zest were readily available for use. After an hour in simmering water and an overnight steep, a dark and flavorful broth was on hand.
The toppings are also key components to the final dish. The spicy cilantro pesto is rich from toasted pumpkin seeds and olive oil and zesty from juicy limes. To finish it off, a little crunch comes from a sprinkling of croutons. This was a last minute idea, but it worked perfctly. Alexia Foods Sweet Potato Rolls were a perfect choice to match the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes in the chili. After a double stint in the oven, the croutons are ready to dot over the surface of any bowl. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, we are Alexia Foods Tastemakers, and we invite you to join the Alexia Foods Ambassadors Program. Use points to score rewards and coupons, so you can try new products as well.
Sweet Potato and White Bean Chili – Serves 8 to 10
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 large red onion, diced
2 large green bell peppers, diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, diced
1 large orange bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
6 cups vegetable broth
14.5 ounces diced tomatoes, with juice
30 ounces white beans, drained but not rinsed
12 ounces winter squash purée, thawed
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon pimento sea salt (or 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt), plus more to taste
1. Heat the grapeseed oil in a heavy soup pot over medium high flame. Add the onions, all the bell peppers and garlic. Cook for 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the garlic from burning.
2. Add the sweet potatoes to the pot and stir to mix all of the ingredients. Cook for another 5-7 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to soften.
3. Pour in the vegetable broth, tomatoes, white beans and squash purée. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the bay leaf, cumin, oregano, garlic powder and pimento salt. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
4. Scoop out 3 cups worth of vegetables from the mixture and blend until smooth in a food processor. Scrape back into the chili and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Season to taste and serve.
Cilantro Lime Pesto – Approximately 1 1/2 cups
3 large bunches cilantro, leaves and stems
2 serrano peppers, seeded
Juice and zest of 2 limes
1/3 cup toasted pepitas
1/3 – 1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
1. Place the cilantro, serrano peppers, lime juice and zest and pepitas into a food processor and blend.
2. Continue blending and slowly stream in the first 1/3 cup of olive oil. Add more oil, as desired, until you reach a desirable consistency. Season to taste with salt.
Sweet Potato Roll Croutons – Approximately 3 cups
4 Alexia Foods Sweet Potato Rolls, cooked and cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1. Lay the cubes of bread on a foil-lined baking sheet and spread evenly over the surface.
2. Drizzle olive oil over the cubes and season with salt and pepper. Toss well to be sure all of the bread is seasoned.
3. Slide the baking sheet into an oven preheated to 400 degrees. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
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Disclaimer: We are part of the Alexia Foods Tastemaker Program and received samples and compensation for participation. All opinions given are our own.