It is officially cold. Really, really cold. Over the past few weeks I have noticed that I have an unconscious, almost automatic response to plummeting temperatures and snow flakes: cook a pot of chili. Chili is the ultimate cold weather meal. It is hot, flavorful, easy to whip up and simple to clean up (yay for one pot meals). Sounds like perfection to me. A pot of chili on the stove feels like a blanket of spices warming your home. A pot of chili can also provide a ton of nutritious ingredients. From veggies to beans, chicken and bison… I love the versatility of chili. Once you master the basic spice blends you can get creative with the other ingredients and prepare a new version each week! Bonus…this is good football food. Here is my personal favorite.
Chipotle & Chocolate Chicken and Root Vegetable Chili
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1/2 large sweet potato, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 cup peeled, seeded butternut squash cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 26-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 canned, diced chipotle peppers in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
- 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1, 15 oz can mixed beans, rinsed and drained (or your bean of choice)
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium sized dutch oven or stock pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic and peppers and cook over medium-high heat, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add teh chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes until browned and crumbled.
Add the sweet potato and squash and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, chocolate and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute to toast the spices.
Add to tomatoes, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce and stock. Cover partially and simmer the chili over moderate heat until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the beans and stir to combine. Cook another ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with fat free, plain Greek Yogurt and avocado slices.
*feel free to ditch the chicken and add an extra 4 cups of root vegetables like parsnips, turnips and rutabaga. yum!
Katie Cavuto MS RD