What’s the best thing about the frigid temperatures that we have been experiencing in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area the last few days?
Lost power? Freezing pipes? Icy bridges? Definitely not! The best thing about this weather is chili.
Texans love chili and the first cold snap likely finds a big “pot of red” simmering on your kitchen stove.
Most of us have our favorite recipe and usually think ours is the best. However, last week on “The Chew,” I saw this healthy version of chili prepared by co-host Michael Symon that I thought sounded interesting enough to try. I did, and not only was the dish spicy and filling, as chili should be, it achieved the goal of getting your family to eat one of the world’s healthiest foods—sweet potatoes.
Another benefit of this dish is that it is baked in the oven rather than cooked stove-top allowing you to sit the oven timer and return to the warmth of the sofa and a good book while the casserole is cooking on this cold winter day.
Sweet Potato Chili Casserole
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
2 cups yellow onion (peeled, finely diced)
1 jalapeno (stem removed, sliced)*
3 cloves garlic (peeled, sliced)
1 cup red bell pepper (stemmed, seeded, finely diced)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes**
1 cup low sodium beef broth
2 cups sweet potatoes (peeled, medium dice)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
* Remove seeds and ribs if you do not want the dish to be too spicy
**Michael used San Marzano tomatoes because of their sweetness
Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
Place saute pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add the ground beef in an even layer and cook until deeply browned, about 8 minutes.
Michael says browing the meat gives it extra flavor and suggests breaking it up with a potato masher. I used that technique, spraying the tool first with non-stick spray. Drain some excess fat off, leaving about one tablespoon in the pot. Add the onions, jalapeño, garlic, bell pepper, and sweet potato, and season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and beef broth and bring to a strong simmer.
Cover with foil and place saute pan in the center rack of the oven, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, and serve.
Tip: Assemble casserole the night before, cover, refrigerate and bake the next night for a stress-free weeknight meal!
Plate this colorful casserole with a scoop of guacamole and tostados or green salad and corn bread.
Tips: Assemble casserole the night before, cover, refrigerate and bake the next night for a stress-free weeknight meal! If you have extra sweet potatoes peeled and diced after you have measured for the recipe, store in a plastic container or storage bag and you will have a few days of healthy dog treats for free. They like some extra spoiling during the cold weather, too!
Enjoy and stay warm!