Thursday, December 5, 2013

Red Lentil Chili with White Sweet Potatoes

This chili was surprisingly good.  I have to admit, as I was putting it together it seemed so simple.  Too simple, almost.  But I continued making it, and adapting it to my tastes, and I'm delighted to say that it all worked out.  Really well. After my first bite, I couldn't get enough.  I think I had an entire second helping and then some more.  I try to give all the leftover to Scot to take to work, and it was  hard to know I didn't get any leftovers!  Just another excuse to make it again, right?

We have enjoyed this a green vegetable of some sort on the side, along with a salad -- but I can envision roasted cauliflower going great with this!

You may wonder at the use of white sweet potatoes in this recipe.  I can find them easily at my supermarket, and it's not a fancy one, but some may find it a hard item to locate.  If that's the case, use a regular sweet potato.  The only reason I stuck the white in there was because I had them on hand, and I figured the color contrast would be nice.

I got the original recipe here and tweaked it pretty well considering the original recipe is for a pressure cooker and I don't have one of those.  It's also supposed to go over a potato -- my way just seemed simpler.

A note, though, on the sweetener.  I think the original author wanted to use the dates as a sweetener -- great idea, but it wasn't enough for me (or maybe my dates were small compared to hers!), but I would use what the recipe says and then taste and adjust the sweetness.  For me, that meant adding a solid TBLS of brown sugar.  I think molasses would have worked really well, too.  Or, in future, adding just another (smallish) date or two.  It's all personal preference.

Red Lentil Chili with White Sweet Potatoes
feeds 4-6
  • 1 lg red bell pepper
  • 4-6 Medijol dates (see note)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 15oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups broth/water
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red lentils
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 TBLS apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBS oregano
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 2-3 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke (opt)
  • 1-2 TBLS (to taste) of brown sugar or molasses if needed.  
  • 4 cups 1/2 in cubed white (or yellow or orange) sweet potatoes (nuked slightly if you need this to come together really fast on the stove top)
-- With a food processor, puree bell pepper, dates, garlic, fire roasted tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water together until smooth.
-- Add everything (including tomato puree) into a crockpot.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours until lentils are all cooked and potatoes are soft.
-- [Stovetop] Saute onion in pot on the stove.  When tender, add everything else.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until lentils are tender and potatoes are cooked through. 

Note on dates: I would suggest starting off using just the 4 dates and adding the sugar/molasses if you find the chili needs more sweetness.  If you did end up wanting it sweeter, the second time around making the chili, try using all 6 dates.

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