W lives in Minecraft world, where even when he’s not attached to the screen everything revolves around swords and armor and pickaxes and protecting oneself from creepers. The creepers in my world are the cinnamon buns that I have to bake in the morning for a photo shoot, and then sit lustily on the countertop, warm and needing to be eaten. The succession of recipes to be tested and photographed – the pizza straight from the oven, the baked cheese and waffles and pasta carbonara that I have to make and shoot, still steaming, before it gets dark. The lunch meetings and restaurant openings, the rationalization that I need to eat all this, in the name of research. It’s my job, dammit.
So in the interest of preservation of self and pants, I’ve decided to arm myself with pots of flavourful, veggie-heavy food at all times. Things like soup and chili and baking sheets of roasted veggies. Because it’s harder to go overboard on a bowl of veg than a pile of just-baked biscuits, and even if you do, you’ll feel better for it. Or so I’m told.
(Also? This veggie chili is really good. And it gets better with time in the fridge, so you can dip into it all week.)
Really Good Veggie Chili
This is almost the same as one I made all the time years ago, but I read about Jamie roasting his sweet potato first, which seemed like a very good idea. (On the other hand, I don’t like cinnamon in my chili – I only added a pinch.)
1 medium dark-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
canola oil, for cooking
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bunch cilantro
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
2 19 oz (540 mL) cans beans, such as kidney, black, romano or chickpeas
2 19 oz (540 mL) cans diced or whole tomatoes, or one of each
crumbled feta, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Spread the sweet potato out on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle generously with oil and toss around with your hands to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 25-30 minutes, until tender and turning golden.
Set a medium pot over medium-high heat, add some oil and saute the onion , peppers and garlic for a few minutes, until soft. Chop and add the cilantro stems and about half of the leaves (save the rest to put on top) along with the chili powder and cumin and cook for another few minutes.
Add the beans and tomatoes, scrape the roasted sweet potatoes into the pot, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer; cook for 30-45 minutes, until thickened. If you like, continue to cook it over low heat, or cool it down and refrigerate overnight to let the flavours develop a bit. Otherwise, it’s good to go. Serve hot, topped with crumbled feta (or sour cream) and fresh cilantro.