Sweet Potato Chicken Chili

I don’t know who declared it to be so or if this is actually a real thing, but according to Food and Wine Magazine on my twitter feed, tomorrow is National Soup Swap Day. Even if it’s not a real thing, it still sounds like a great concept– make some soup and exchange with your friends, family and neighbors. Makes sense to me since winter is soup season, and frankly, don’t we all fall into a soup rut at some point? You know, when you’re tired of making the same old chicken noodle or split pea that is in your repertoire? I know I do.

When I fall into the soup rut, I try to think of a new way to work with ingredients or methods from the soup recipe that bores me. In this case, I make a turkey chili– ground turkey, carrots, celery, kidney beans swimming in a rich and spicy tomato based broth. It’s delicious, but when I was making it at least twice a month, it was boring.

The switch up began when I had some ground chicken in the refrigerator and a leftover large yam. Inspired by an Italian style chicken chili that I saw on t.v., I set to work by cooking the ground chicken with some diced carrots and celery. I then seasoned the mix with oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and fennel seed then sprinkled in some masa harina to help thicken the soup before pouring in some chicken stock, cannellini beans, and the diced yam. Just before serving, I stirred in some rainbow chard.

This chili was so delicious! The cannellini beans were creamy, the greens were a little crisp but gave a bright and fresh flavor throughout the soup, and the yam added color as well as sweetness to balance out the mild spice and garlic of the stewed chicken meat. Make up a pot of this to swap with others, but then again, you may not want to share since it’s really good, but I suppose I shouldn’t condone that.

Note: This makes 6-8 servings. I particularly like serving this with a big wedge of custard filled cornbread.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 13.3 oz ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup masa harina (yellow corn flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1.5 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 medium yam, diced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard, chopped
  • chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic and saute until onion softens, about 5-6 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes or until carrots soften. Move vegetables to one side of the pot, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and crank the heat up to medium high. Add the ground chicken and cook chicken meat through. Once chicken is cooked, mix it into the cooked vegetables.

While waiting for chicken to brown, mix together the spices (salt through ground cinnamon on the list above) in a small bowl. Mix this into the cooked ground chicken and vegetable mixture. Sprinkle the masa harina over the contents in the pot then mix it in. Let this cook for about 1.5 to 2 minutes before adding in the chicken stock, cannellini beans, and yam. Bring chili to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30-35 minutes.

Add the chopped rainbow chard and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or until chard is wilted through. Ladle into soup bowls and serve, garnished with chop cilantro if desired.


2 thoughts on “Sweet Potato Chicken Chili

  1. Carolyn T says:

    Thanks very much, CJW, for the link to my recipe for the custard-filled cornbread. It’s a great recipe. And your use of it reminds me that I need to make that again. It’s just SO good. Thanks.

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