hand to heart healing heat
Something about a chili day. A practice so nourishing in itself.
Also coincidentally and (in)conveniently a sick day for a loved one, a neighbor, a prime opportunity to showcase support, spread the warmth. Nothing quite as comforting as a big bowl of soupy chili with some core heat. Can you feel me? A hot-from-the-oven young ginger sweet potato biscuit broken over top doesn’t hurt the cause either (coming soon – so stay tuned). ALSO a gracious host’s important introduction to this locally-sourced ‘young ginger’ thing. This is definitely a thing. Also probably my new rap name. Softer and milder then its more generic, thicker-skinned, older sibling ginger root (oh honorable wise one – no insult intended), this innocent tender gem is therefore more versatile and feels oh so fresh, less adult-erated maybe. More manipulable, influenced, supple and spongy (literally). Okay I’ll stop. Either way, we are super rich in super root vegetables and our reserves are only growing.
This season of transitions (tell me about it) calls for such role-players. Consciously cooked root vegetables – think sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, ginger, turmeric, parsnips, turnips, etc., promote and ease the process of digestion and serve to stoke that inner radiant heat. Cooking is our intelligently evolved method of pre-digestion. Go on and massage those beauteous tubers into their most tender tastiness. Raw and cold is stagnant. Tense and trapped. Sustains energy blockages. Break. That. Shit. Up.
Get poked with some needles. Build a fire. Make some of this goodness. Then take some of it in. Breathe deeply between bites. Share such love with thy neighbor and thy self. We are one, after all. Before and during. Presently. Wholly. Word.
Anyway, due to their growing-in-the-ground aka ‘root’ like nature, these super veggies are apt to absorb tons of nutrients from their surrounding soil resulting in high concentrations of antioxidants, vitamins A, B, and C, and iron, among others. (Can I emphasize here the added importance of sourcing these organically and locally if possible, note the high whatever-the-fuck-they-spray-on-the-ground-absorption rates...) Add to that their fiber-rich stable carbohydrate content, and nature has yet again provided us with beautiful energy-sustaining, immunity-amping delicious beasts. And look at that, right on time with our specific seasonal needs. Hm.
Blood building. Slow burning.
It is worth noting that this one is perfect for guests, recipe easily doubled. A holiday hodge-podge household crowd-pleaser. Calming. Balancing in light of all else that is being consumed. Maybe they showed up early and there are days left to get through before the main event. Maybe they were right on time. Either way, good luck getting a family fast going.
SPICY SWEET POTATO RED BEAN CHILI (8 servings)
1-2 T olive oil
1 large yellow/white onion
4+ cloves garlic, minced
2 T fresh young ginger, minced
1 small can green chiles (OR pre-roast your own – LOVE ancho chili peppers, see below!*)
~ 3 c red kidney beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained (OR 2 cans/boxes – Whole Foods sells organic beans in cardboard boxes)
1 18-24oz jar pure tomato puree (no added anything, duh)
1 24oz jar whole peeled tomatoes (again...)
~2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into mid-size cubes (use 1-1.5 lbs total if substituting)
2 T ground chipotle chilis (or whatever chili powder)
1 t cumin
1 t oregano
1 t turmeric
¼ t cayenne
¼ t nutmeg
sea salt and pepper
/ CHOP onion finely (try not to cry too much but please know, this is a safe space, also... ski goggles!)
/ MINCE garlic and ginger on same cutting board (if you’re new to this cooking thing, you’ll want to designate a board for such pungent raw goods, just trust me)
/ HEAT olive oil in bottom of your largest pot
/ SAUTÉ onions for a few minutes
/ ADD garlic and ginger and sauté a few minutes more
/ DUMP in remaining ingredients with grace, waiting to add spices until sufficient liquid is in the mix (aka after tomatoes have been added)
/ STIR sufficiently for a minute or two with a long wooden spoon
/ BRING to a boil then turn down to simmer
/ TASTE and adjust spices accordingly
/ COVER and stir occasionally
/ CHILI is ready once sweet potatoes are tender enough to eat. I left mine on super low for several hours ‘cause I had it like that, AND ‘cause I was busy enough making young ginger sweet potato biscuit babes. Follow suit if you know what’s good for you. ALSO this chili is even better the next day, and the next day after that. For breakfast, and lunch, and dinner.
/ TOP with garlic ginger coconut oil sautéed dinosaur kale (yikes) as pictured, or whatever greens you have/prefer, and/or avocado, and/or fresh cashew crème, but for sure some nice type of pink or sea salt. I believe in you.
* TO ROAST your own, simply rub 2-3 whole poblano peppers (which magically become ancho chili peppers in the process) with a little bit of olive oil and place them on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet at ~425F for 30-45 minutes, turning them over halfway through. Let them sit out of the oven for a few minutes (or choose to burn your fingers) then peel off skins, they should be pretty loose at this point, if not they didn’t roast long enough. Chop finely to add to your chili pot! Yay.
NOTE a whole host of variations to put a spin on things –
/ sub/add pumpkin or butternut squash for the sweet potato
/ sub/add any-kind-of-bean for red beans
/ shift spices to the curry end of things and use a can of coconut milk in place of the pureed tomato
/ AND ON AND ON