Serious Eats

Dinner Tonight: Quick Chili with Sweet Potato and Pork

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Though my favorite chili is made mostly of just meat and chiles, with little else to get in the way, I am not opposed to the idea of a vegetarian chili. Doesn't it sound good to have the warming chili hug without the pounds and pounds of meat? But that's easier said than done. What I have realized over the years is that it's much, much easier to make a tasty meat-light chili with a bunch of vegetables added in.

Early on, I decided to go with pork instead of beef, though beef would also work. For time's sake, I had to go with ground meat instead of one-inch chunks (which need more than an hour to finish). But rather than hold me back, I realized that if I sautéed the meat until very brown, I could get a lot of meaty flavor out of a relatively little amount.

Of course, to make chili I needed chiles. For this quick batch I settled on canned chipotles, which wouldn't need to be soaked before using. Also, instead of regular canned tomatoes, I picked out a can of fire roasted ones, which helped accentuate the smoky flavor of the chipotles. To finish off the liquid I added chicken stock and chili's best friend: a bottle of beer.

As for the vegetables, sweet potatoes were a must. I knew the hunks would add a slight sweetness, along with a pop of color. I also decided to add a mixture of pinto beans and chickpeas.

The result fills you up without too much meat, but the best compliment is that it tastes like it took far longer to make than an hour.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is the editor of Serious Eats: Chicago. He loves tacos and spicy food. You can follow him as @nickdk on Twitter.

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