Monday, October 31, 2011

Notes From Nikki-Sweet Potato Chili and more

Sweet Potato Chili
To me, nothing says fall more than soups, stews, and chili. Chili has to be my favorite meal this time of the year. Nothing warms my bones more than a hearty bowl of beans, vegetables, meat, and spices. This version uses sweet potatoes, ground turkey, and a secret ingredient... Victory's Storm King Stout. It's absolutely delicious, if I do say so myself. It's hard to go wrong with Chili though. Feel free to omit the ground turkey if you like. It will still be delicious. Enjoy!

1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tsp cumin
1 T ground chile pepper powder (I used chipotle. Feel free to substitute with New Mexican for a milder version, or just use less than a T. You can also substitute a fresh, minced hot pepper.)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 T cocoa powder
Sea salt
2 lbs. ground turkey
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, juice included
2 C stock (I used homemade chicken. Vegetable would also work. Water is also a possibility in a pinch, but you will lack some of the flavor, especially if you omit the turkey.)
1 bottle of Storm King Stout (other stout or porters will also work, but Storm King offers something pretty special)
2 15 oz. cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
About 2 C seeded, chopped sweet peppers (I used a variety of the bell and long Italian peppers from our Inverbrook share)
Fresh grated cheddar for topping (I used a sharp, raw variety)
Sour cream for topping

1. Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot until fragrant.
2. Add in the cumin, chile powder, paprika, coriander, oregano, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and a generous dose of sea salt. Stir to combine.
3. Add in the turkey and saute until cooked through.
4. Add in the sweet potatoes and tomatoes and stir to combine.
5. Add the stock and beer. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender.
6. Add in the beans and the peppers and turn off the heat.
7. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
8. Allow the chili to rest for a bit so that the flavors meld and the peppers have a chance to soften a bit.
9. Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Garlic Roasted Haricot Verts

By now, you have probably realized my affinity for roasting. To me, roasting is the best way to bring out the deeper, sweeter complexities of food. I rarely boil or steam vegetables. I much prefer roasting, either in the pan with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, or in the oven on a baking sheet. Haricot verts are perfect for oven roasting. Tossed with some olive oil, and a bit of minced garlic and sea salt, they turn out delectably crisp and tasty. A nice alternative to shoestring fries. My kids love them. I hope you enjoy them too.
1-2 lbs. haricot verts, stemmed (I used a medley of Inverbrook green, yellow, and purple)
3-4 T extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Toss the haricot verts with the olive oil, garlic, and sea salt.
3. Spread out onto a baking sheet (or two) in a single layer (it's okay if there is some overlap).
4. Roast in the oven until crisp tender and golden brown in spots (about 10-15 minutes), shaking the pan to toss the beans around at least a couple of times during the process.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit before serving.
Serves 6

Bacon Cheddar Potato Mash
I served the Garlic Roasted Haricot Verts with grilled chicken and the following Bacon Cheddar Potato Mash (see photo below). My family was wild about the entire menu! I hope you enjoy both dishes as much as we did.
6-8 oz fried bacon, drained and crumpled
3-4 lbs. potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered if significantly large (I used the russets from our Inverbrook share, but any potato will do)
1 C + milk
4 T butter
4-6 oz. grated cheddar (I used a raw, sharp variety)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Handful of chopped parsley leaves

1. Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add in a generous amount of sea salt.
2. Bring to a boil, and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender.
3. Drain the potatoes in a colander and return to the pot.
4. Add in the butter, I C of milk, and another generous dose of sea salt.
5. Mash the lot together using a potato masher.
6. Stir in the bacon, cheese, pepper, and more milk if needed.
7. Stir in the parsley, and taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serves 6-8

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