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(Alanna Jankov for The Globe and Mai l)
(Alanna Jankov for The Globe and Mai l)

Michael Smith's sweet potato vegetarian chili with cinnamon sour cream Add to ...

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  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 minutes
  • Ready time: 45 minutes
  • Servings: 4 to 6


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 cups fresh or frozen corn

1 398-millilitre can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 398-millilitre can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 796-millilitre can whole tomatoes

1 sweet potato, peeled and finely diced

1 tablespoon canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 or 2 sprinkles salt

1 cup tender cilantro sprigs

2 green onions, thinly sliced


Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and green pepper and sauté, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to brown (6 to 8 minutes). Stir in the garlic, cumin seeds, chili powder and oregano. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the spices are very fragrant (another 2 minutes or so).

Stir in the corn, black beans and kidney beans. Add the juice from the canned tomatoes, then coarsely chop the tomatoes and add them as well. Add the sweet potatoes and chipotle chilies. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the liquid is just barely simmering. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili begins to thicken (20 to 25 minutes).

Meanwhile, stir together the sour cream and cinnamon. Just before serving, season the chili to your taste with salt. Ladle into serving bowls and top with the sour cream and a tangle of cilantro and green onions.

Michael Smith hosts Chef Abroad on the Food Network and is the author of the new cookbook Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen .

Suggested Wine Pairings

Like the sour cream, the drink should supply a cooling counterpoint to temper the spice. At the same time, it should supply rich texture to match the heartwarming weight of the chili. My top choices in the wine department are red zinfandel and shiraz, two full-bodied nectars teeming with jammy fruitiness that will resonate especially well with the smoky chipotle. Zinfandel in particular is a nimble dance partner for any dish featuring fresh cilantro. Should you prefer beer, consider a full-bodied, amber pale ale or dark-hued, chocolate-like stout. - Beppi Crosariol

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