There is nothing better than a bowl of hot soup or chili to make you feel cozy on a cold day. And cold days are rare here in Phoenix.
We Phoenicians might indeed feel cold in the winter here. But it’s probably because we’re still wearing our flip flops.
The season of Fall is when I miss living in Chicago the most. The changing of the leaves to gorgeous shades of red, yellow, and orange would take my breath away. I loved looking out our 9th floor apartment window to see the wind gently blowing the leaves to the ground. I could hardly wait to crunch through them on my way to class or work. You just can’t get that in Phoenix.
But when the cool weather rolls in… you know… that “cold” 40 and 50 degree Phoenix winter weather… I like to take full advantage of it. I dress in my favorite sweaters. I drape on scarves. I might even be decked in a peacoat if I’m feeling especially wintery. Or wintry. Whichever you prefer. I also don a pair of boots any chance I get. I love boots. They make me happy.
While I was writing this sweet potato recipe I wanted it to be something you could curl up with on a cold day… be it Phoenix ‘cold’ or the real kind. I also wanted it to be something you could add leftover turkey to, being as Thanksgiving is upon us. You could make it anytime of year though. Just roast some chicken or turkey breast in the oven. Or you could leave it a vegetarian chili.
This chili is so simple to make. It’s so versatile. And it’s so good. Chop some onion, garlic, and sweet potatoes… add spices and chicken stock… simmer… add the beans and greens… finish with some turkey or chicken if you like. You can follow my recipe or make it your own. I hope it makes you feel as cozy as it made my family.
I started by sauteing some chopped onion in a large dutch oven.
They will get nice and soft.
Then I added garlic and stirred just a bit more before adding the beautiful diced sweet potatoes….
Now for the spices.
All this wonderful flavor gets cooked into the sweet potato mixture.
Now at this point I meant to add flour to help thicken the chili.
But I forgot.
I got overly excited to deglaze the pot and hear that wonderful sizzle as the liquid hits the hot pan. I love to scrape the flavor from the bottom of the pan. Sigh. Is it sad that things like this excite me? Well, they do.
In went the stock before the flour…
So I just whisked it in afterwards. No problem. No worries. No stress. There are enough things in my life I could stress about right now. I don’t need to add forgetting the flour to the list.
If you happen to forget the flour before the chicken stock, you are okay. Do not fret. You have not ruined the chili.
And you are in good company.
At this point I turned down the heat, covered the pot, and forgot about cooking for a bit. I advise that you go outside for a couple of minutes for some fresh, cold air. When you come back in you’ll be amazed at how good your house smells.
After some good simmering, in goes the Swiss chard. I found a beautiful red-stemmed version at the supermarket. You can use any Swiss chard you can get your hands on.
Just be sure to remove the leaves from the stems before adding them!
In with the greens go the beans!
Rinse ’em. Drain ’em. Add ’em in baby.
On went the lid again for some more simmering.
This was my chance to get my toppings ready.
Parmesan. The good stuff. And fresh, flat-leaf parsley. I like just a rough chop… not too fine.
The final touches are poultry and a punch.
Turkey or chicken. Shredded or cubed. You can roast it ahead of time and store it in the fridge. Or use those leftovers from Turkey dinner.
Now for the punch. You can make it a little ‘pop’ or go for the K.O.
(aka Knock Out)
Yes, I have played some ‘fighting’ video games. I grew up with three brothers for heaven’s sake.
I often win at these games. And I like to get the K.O. at the end of a round. There’s something extremely satisfying about it. My secret? Push buttons as quickly and as randomly as possible. People will think you’re an expert. Or at least it seems to work for me. My husband knows my secret and it bothers him that it always seems to work for me. It defies logic but it usually gets the job done.
Now just a few minutes to let that spicy punch infuse into the chili and for the meat to heat through.
Time to eat!
Don’t forget those glorious toppings. They really are a necessity.
Those are some lucky leftovers.
Here’s your printer friendly chili recipe!
Time to curl up and get cozy!!