The warmer days of middle March mean my boys play outside as long as they can. As the nights remain cool, it's a good time for a spicy-sweet chili that fills their bellies without being too heavy.
This turkey, black bean and sweet potato combo is nourishing and the slightly honeyed taste of the potatoes hints of full-on spring.
This dinner is close to my heart because I first started making it when we moved from Cincinnati to Peoria. We spent three months in a cozy, turn-of-the-century cottage. Our temporary home offered a tighter space that fostered just the right amount of family closeness we needed during our transition to a new city.
Since then I've tweaked this recipe from its original – a skillet potpie with a cornbread topping. I never could get the cornbread to be anything buy mushy. Now I serve it on the side. And my boys eat more of the chili. Points for Mom!
Whenever I make this meal, I think of the start of our Peoria adventure (four years ago now!) and it warms my soul. I hope it makes your family feel all warm inside, too.
Turkey, Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili
Adapted from GoodHousekeeping.com.
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup water
1 jumbo onion (about 1 pound) finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves finely chopped or 1 tablespoon jarred minced garlic
1 pound lean ground turkey
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 or 2 tablespoons canned chopped roasted green chilis or pickled jalapeño peppers, if you prefer more kick
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cans (14.5 ounce) no salt added, fire roasted or plain diced tomatoes, mostly drained
1 can (15 ounce) no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese for topping
Place sweet potatoes and water in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and vent. Microwave on high for 5 minutes or until tender.
Using a deep 12-inch skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil over a medium-high flame. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. (Don't worry – while this looks like a ton of onions, they melt down and add a subtle flavor to the chili.)
Add garlic and cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Add turkey, salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, breaking up turkey into small pieces.
When turkey is lightly browned, add roasted chili or jalapeño peppers, chili powder, cumin and the sweet potatoes with their liquid. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes while stirring.
Add tomatoes, beans and black pepper and heat until bubbling. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Dish up chili into bowls. Top with cilantro and cheese.