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~ Fall Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Ground Beef Chili ~

IMG_6124Generally speaking, I'm not a Crockpot kinda gal, unless the end absolutely justifies the means with no compromise.  In the case of this recipe, and almost any chili recipe, because chili is best when cooked low and slow over a long period of time, the end definitely justifies the means -- because that's what slow cookers are designed to do.  There's more.  This chili recipe, which is chocked full of sweet potatoes slow-cooked in a scrumptious blend of tomatoes mixed with aromatic spices is perfect for Fall.  Which is why my family refers to this chili as my "Fall chili".

Sweet potato, black bean & ground beef chili -- perfect for Fall!

IMG_60801  28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1  14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1  14-ounce can black beans, well-drained and rinsed

1  40-ounce can red-skinned kidney beans, undrained

4  tablespoons dark brown sugar

2  tablespoons chile powder

1/2  teaspoon ground cloves

2  tablespoons ground cumin

2  teaspoons smoked paprika

1  teaspoon sea salt

1  teaspoon red pepper flakes

10  pounces large-diced  yellow or sweet onion (about 3 cups)

5  ounces each large-diced green and red bell pepper (medium-sized 1 green and 1 red bell pepper)

16  ounces peeled and 3/4"-1" chopped sweet potato (about 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes)

2 1/2-3  pounds lean ground beef (90/10)

IMG_6082 IMG_6082 IMG_6082 IMG_6089~Step 1.  Place the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, black beans and kidney beans in the Crockpot followed by the brown sugar and all the spices (the chile powder, cloves, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and red pepper flakes).  Prep the onion, bell peppers and sweet potato* as directed, adding them to the Crockpot as you work.  Do not add the ground beef at this time.  Using a large spoon, stir all the ingredient together.  Wipe any drips from the rim of the Crockpot and place the lid on.  Cover the Crockpot and set it to cook on high for 4 hours.  In the meantime:

*Note:  Error on the side of the vegetables being chopped too large as they shrink while cooking.

IMG_6093 IMG_6093 IMG_6093~ Step 2.  In a 10" skillet, place the ground beef. Lightly season beef with a very light sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Adjust heat to sauté, stirring constantly, while breaking up the meat into small chunks and pieces with the side of a large spoon or spatula. Cook until meat is just cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.  Do not brown the meat.  Remove from heat.  Drain and discard all excess liquid from the skillet.

IMG_6099 IMG_6099 IMG_6106 IMG_6110~Step 3.  Stir the cooked and drained meat into the vegetable mixture in the Crockpot.  Cover the pot and continue to to cook for the remainder of the 4 hours. After 4 hours of cooking, give the chili a thorough stir and take a taste or two.  If the sweet potatoes are soft and tender, the chili is done and ready to serve.  If they are not cooked to your liking, reduce heat on Crockpot to low and cook for 30-60 additional minutes.  Can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen.

Full of sweet potatoes slow-cooked in a scrumptious blend of tomatoes, beans, aromatic spices & sautéed ground beef:

IMG_6119Fall Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Ground Beef Chili:  Recipe yields 5 quarts/10, 2-cup servings.

Special Equipment List: 6 1/2-quart crockpot; cutting board; chef's knife; large spoon; 10"-12" skillet; spatula; ladle; 5, 1-quart-size freezer-safe food storage containers w/tight-fitting lids 

6a0120a8551282970b027880409b88200dCook's Note: Sweet potatoes were first introduced to North America when Columbus brought them over from the island of St. Thomas, where this large edible root, which belongs to the morning-glory family, is native to the tropical regions of the Americas.  There are many varieties of sweet potato, but the two most widely grown commercially are a pale sweet potato and a dark-skinned variety Americans erroneously call "yam" -- the yam is not even related to the sweet potato. Read: ~ An Inconvenient Truth - A Sweet Potato is Not a Yam ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)


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