Recipe ReDux: Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili (with Chocolate!)

When it comes to most recipes, I usually don’t make the same thing twice. I like to experiment in the kitchen and get bored eating the same thing over and over. But when it comes to chili? I don’t stray. I know what I like, and it’s Eating Well’s Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili. It seems like I’ve been making it every winter for the past few years, or some variation of it. I even made a huge pot of it for our friends after they had their first baby, so they wouldn’t have to cook. It’s the perfect winter meal that is a little sweet, a little smoky, and a lot satisfying.

sweet potatoes

potatoes and onion

I barely varied from the original recipe, except for adding a few extra sweet potatoes and tomatoes. But I did add one secret ingredient:


chili chocolate

I see chili recipes with chocolate all the time and have always wanted to try tossing some cocoa in my chili. This month’s Recipe ReDux theme of chocolate gave me that extra nudge. It didn’t make the chili taste like chocolate at all, but it did give a subtle rich, earthy taste. I think it helped that I was using a super dark, high quality chocolate. You wouldn’t want to go tossing Hershey’s milk chocolate kisses in your chili.

Ingredients (I used)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 small sweet potatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
2 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 ounces dark chocolate

For the original recipe and instructions, click here.

sweet potato chili

Looking for other sweet and savory ways to enjoy chocolate? As if you need an excuse…
Check out other Recipe ReDux ideas:


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  1. Posted February 21, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Janel, this looks so yummy – I’ve added it to my list of recipes to try. Creative use of chocolate!

  2. Posted February 21, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    That’s one of my favorite chili recipes too! I make it every year and I never get tired of it. It’s the only way Karl will eat sweet potatoes :p I’ll have to try adding chocolate next time!

  3. Posted February 21, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I like your comment about needing to use good chocolate for this dish. Totally agree. Lindt is what i used in my hot chocolate. It really adds the difference between good and fabulous!

  4. Posted February 21, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I have vegetarian chili leftovers packed for today’s lunch, but now I’m hoping it magically transforms itself into this recipe instead!

  5. Posted February 21, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I have always wondered about doing this, thanks for testing it out first! Going to attempt this week — I have two sweet potatoes that need cookin’!

  6. Posted February 21, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I thought about a meat chili and a rubbed brisket but a sweet potato chili never crossed my mind. I love sweet potatoes and I bet the chocolate gives it a real depth of flavor. Great idea!

  7. Posted February 21, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Wow, this looks delicious! I just love the addition of chocolate. What a great use of it. YUM!

  8. Posted February 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous idea! Gonna have to make this one of these days!:) Love it!

  9. Posted February 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    With or without the chocolate, your chili sounds delicious! Will definitely give the chocolate addition a try next time I make chili.

  10. Posted February 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Wow – how unique! I actually won some of that chili chocolate at a chili cook-off in November and I didn’t know how to use it – but now I have a recipe! I also love the addition of the sweet potatoes! Love it! 🙂

  11. Posted February 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I love the fact that you went in a savory direction with this one! It looks great.

  12. Posted February 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    i would have never been daring enough to put chocolate in my chili but now i just might have to. i bet taza would be great!

  13. Posted February 21, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Yum! Brilliant Janel! I’m always a less adventurous when it comes to adding chocolate to savory concoctions (mole comes to mind). But what a great idea to add chocolate with chili already in it…I’ve seen several on the market – then I’d KNOW that the combo would be perfect if it starts out perfectly packaged! (:

  14. Janel
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    The chili chocolate is great on its own too if you like spice!

  15. Posted February 22, 2012 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    So great to see a savoury dish Janel. I was going to do the exact same thing before I decided on sorbet. As I learn more about flavour layering and balance you can really appreciate chocolate as an enhancer to many dishes. Check out Willie on my post….his new cookbook on website link is packed with savoury applications.

  16. Posted February 24, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Would you believe I just recently discovered how yummy chipotle + sweet potatoes are together. And now with the chocolate. Oh yum. I bet this is divine.

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