Need.Mexican.Food. (+ recipe: vegan sweet potato chili)

It started last week: an undeniable, insatiable urge for Mexican food. There aren’t many foods I miss from the US, but faux-mexican (i.e. Chipotle) is strangely high on the list. I spent the entire week pining unhappily for a black bean burrito or vegetarian taco until yesterday I finally decided I needed to fulfill my craving before it got out of control. As fate would have it, I was browsing the aisles of the organic market yesterday when I found: Mapuche Fire! Apparently this is a traditional spice mix of the Mapuche Indians of the Araucania region of Chile. I cannot verify the veracity of this statement, but it does make for great marketing copy – I plunked out € 8 for the tin…

I don’t know what Büffel gras is or whether it’s safe for human consumption, but I thought I would test its effects in a vegetarian chili. Effects: positive! It was delicious!

For my US readers: I found something that looks similar on Amazon called Merken Mapuche Spice. But I am sure that you could make a similarly tasty chili spice mix (sans buffalo grass, unless you happen to have some growing in your backyard) with some chili powder, cumin, cordiander, & cayenne pepper. Alternatively, I’d offer to send you a tin of Mapuche Feuer from Munich if you will pack a greasy Chipotle black bean burrito in an insulated lunch bag and smuggle it through customs for me. Fair trade, right? Who wants to be my burrito smuggler? What – no takers? C’mon….

I know, it’s time to post something other than recipes, but this chili is really worth sharing. My recipe is based on one by Cooking+Kate, who admits to stealing it from Cooking Light. Go figure.

You can tune in tomorrow for a super quick and adorable DIY craft project, but that has to remain a secret for a few more hours, since it’s a gift for a friend, so shhhh… 😉

Sweet Potato Chili
1 large red onion
1 sweet potato
1 each red, green & yellow bell pepper
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cloves garlic

3 cans tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans

Spices:
1tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp chili powder, or more, or less….
2 tbsp spice mix OR 2 tsp each cumin, coriander & cayenne
a pinch of brown sugar
salt & pepper

To garnish: 
cilantro
toasted pumpkin seeds

1. Saute the veggies & garlic, together with the tomato paste, until soft. Jamie Oliver once taught me that if you add tomato paste to a saute, it removes the “tinny” taste. I pass along the wisdom, free of charge.

2. Add everything else. Seriously, could this recipe be any easier? 3. Simmer for at least an hour.

4. Garnish and serve!

Enjoy!

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