This recipe has evolved into one of my favorite chili recipes. Since moving to North Carolina and having an abundance of sweet potatoes, I found myself subbing sweet potatoes for carrots one evening when I was making this dish. All flavors, from sweet to sour to umami and of course smokey are represented here. I julienned all vegetables which gives a smooth texture and seems to allow the smoke to infuse all parts of the chili. I like to be generous with the meat, but whatever kind of meat you use, whether it be beef, bison, elk, venison, pork, etc., be sure and use only 100% grass-fed or wild meats. I believe tomato skins and seeds should be removed for best flavor, and consistency.
Not just a comforting wintertime favorite, this dish is good any time of year. Just the savory scent coming from this simmering pot of chili will bring a sense of comfort and nostalgia.
- 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 2 cups grated sweet potato
- 1 Tbsp unsulphured blackstrap molasses
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp red or cayenne smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp roasted carob powder
- lime juice from 1/2 fresh lime
- 24 oz tomato sauce
- 4 oz tomato paste
- 2 tomatoes with seeds and skin removed
- 4 cups filtered water
- unrefined sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Remove skin and seeds from tomatoes then finely chop. Finely chop or julienne sweet potatoes, celery, onion.
- In your seasoned skillet or 5-6 quart large cast iron pot, brown beef and garlic. Cook over medium heat until beef is browned but pink inside. Set aside.
- Add butter and onions to the skillet and cook until translucent over medium-high heat, about 5-7 minutes. Once onions are starting to brown, add celery, sweet potatoes, and seasonings and cook for 3 minutes, making sure you stir everything well.
- Add cooked beef, tomato sauce, tomato paste and tomatoes into the pot and stir well. Bring chili to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Check on chili every so often and stir. Add water or tomato sauce as necessary. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped green onions and sour cream. Serve immediately or go to the next step of smoking.
- This is done with a smoking tube and the chef’s choice of wood pellets to impart a unique flavor. I use a variety and whatever I happen to have on hand. Not only do you get the subtle smoky flavor but this allows the chili to cool down a little before eating. I usually smoke this for up to an hour.