I had several requests on Facebook for my chili recipe when I mentioned I was making Lentil Chili with Sweet Potatoes. I didn’t actually follow a recipe – I just made it as I went along, so here’s how I did it, with some notes on ways you might embellish or modify the recipe. Do use the sweet potatoes if you have some – they are amazing in chili.
OK, y’all. I have about 3 minutes before I need to pull a batch of whole wheat sourdough everything bagels out of the oven, so here’s the recipe as I made it:
1. Take inventory of your bean cabinet. I’m sure you have one. Move the several varieties of lentils from the plastic containers they’re in to glass jars. Whatever won’t fit – sort and wash and set aside for the soup pot. (I probably used a total of about 1 cup of several types – green and black and split red and yellow and some mung beans. Any small bean that doesn’t need soaking will be fine, including black-eyed peas).
2. Cut up an onion and several cloves of garlic and saute them in olive oil.
3. Add the lentils and enough water to cover plus another 3-4 inches. Simmer them while you…
4. Dice up a couple of sweet potatoes. Throw them into the pot along with
5. A 28-ounce can of Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes (diced or crushed). Or whatever kind of canned tomatoes you like.
6. Season to taste with Punjabi Chole Masala powder (or chili powder) and smoked Spanish paprika. We like the hot kind. And some salt. Some additional cumin would be nice.
7. You might also want to throw in a veggie boullion cube and some additional water as necessary to keep the lentils from sticking. If you want something more like soup, add more water. For something thicker, add less water, but you’ll have to watch the pot a bit closer to avoid scorching.
8. Add any other veggies you like. Corn kernels are especially nice, but I didn’t have any today. Carrots are a nice addition if you don’t have sweet potatoes. Some frozen green beans would be pretty.
This recipe is just a sort of template. I use all kinds of beans in chili – the more the merrier. Today I used lentils ’cause they don’t have to be cooked ahead, like garbanzos or butter beans or pintos or kidneys do, and I was literally cleaning out my bean cabinet. Use whatever is handy.
When I’m making a more Southwestern style chili, I often throw in a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips or a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder to give them sauce a more smoky, deep flavor. Smoked chipotle chilies are also good.