Spicy, sweet chili

A friend of mine recently won a chili cook-off at a Chicago breast cancer fundraising event.  He shared the recipe which came in first out of 40 competitors (not bad for his first cooking competition!).  It seemed quite non-traditional and intriguing for a chicken chili given the use of sweet potatoes so I decided to try it.  It is delicious!  The base of the chili is quite spicy with both regular chili powder and ancho chile powder.  But, the sweet potatoes provide a sweetness which cuts the spice and also a heartiness to the overall dish.  The recipe makes quite a lot so you will have plenty of leftovers for the week or to freeze.  A great recipe just in time for the cold weather!

The ‘Heady Reddy’ Chili
Recipe courtesy Sridhar Reddy


2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped into med. dice
1 red bell pepper, chopped into med. dice
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder (I use a combination of 1 tbps of standard Chili Powder and 1 tbps of Ancho Chili Powder)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoons dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups cooked chicken, shredded by hand
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into medium-large dice
12oz bottle of beer (I use either ‘Fat Tire’ or ‘Negro Modelo’)
4 cups chicken broth
1 14.5oz. can chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 avocado, peeped and sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges
Small tub marscapone or creme fraiche for garnish

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add the onion, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft. Add the pepper and cook and stir another 5 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly about 1 minute longer.

3. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, marjoram, basil, salt, pepper, chicken and sweet potato and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the beer, broth, tomatoes and bay leaves and stir.

4. Bring the soup to a low boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the chili for about 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Add the beans and continue to cook 30 mins more, stirring occasionally.

5. Stir in the cilantro and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaves. Serve the chili warm, topped with avocado slices, marscapone / creme fraiche, and additional cilantro leaves. Serve lime wedges along side to squeeze into the chili.

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