I’ve never been a fan of change. I’m the kind of person who thrives on stability. Plans. Organization. Deadlines. I find comfort in things that are familiar, and am uneasy about the unknown. I like things – most things – to stay the way I like them.
If I make plans, I (almost always) stick to them. If someone uses something from my pantry and puts it back in the wrong place, I itch with annoyance until I can return it to it’s proper home. I write out my grocery lists by the route I take in the grocery store. I organize my layers in InDesign (shop talk) and my desktop is laid out in a neat and tidy grid. I set my clothes out for the next day before bed, I have a routine in the mornings, and if that routine is altered – like if I sleep through my alarm and wake up in a panic 20 minutes later – my whole day is thrown out of whack.
Making plans with people who like to “play it by ear” stresses me out. Play it by ear? What does that mean? When should we meet. Where. Are we going out for food? Let’s decide where NOW so I can look up the menu online and pick out what I’m going to eat in advance. Mmm-hmm yum.
I’m not always like this. I know how to have fun, I can go out and be spontaneous and play it by ear, if being spontaneous and playing it by ear is the plan. If I’m with good company, spontaneity can be fun. But, in general, I like my stability. I find comfort in it.
There’s something about autumn – the turn of the leaves, the nip in the air – that feels comfortable. Even though the seasons are in the midst of changing, I find comfort in fall. Things seem to be changing back to normal. While I love all that is summer, fall feels cozy. It feels familiar.
The rain starts to set in, which is definitely a normal thing in Vancouver. The blankets come out, which of course, are cozy. The slippers, the scarves, the mittens, the crunchy leaves, the brisk days, I love these things. They feel comfortable. Simple. Reliable.
The food is no exception. Once the temperatures drop and the darkness sets in earlier in the day, the cozy food comes out. The days of fruity drinks and late patio lunches are replaced by spiced ciders and comfort food beside the fireplace.
Now, there’s something about a chili (or stew!) that is the ultimate comfort food. Quick and simple to make, you throw everything in a big pot and let it simmer away to get all thick and sumptuous. It’s warm, served in a big bowl with a big spoon, with a toasty piece of bread to dip and soak up all the saucy goodness. It’s comfort 101.
This chili is a lick-the-bowl-clean kind of meal. It’s packed with healthy ingredients that’ll stick to your ribs and warm you up. Sweet onions, fragrant garlic, chorizo sausage, lots of spices to make it as spicy as you like, thick tomato sauce, hearty black beans, and tender chunks of sweet potato.
Once all the ingredients are in the pot, let it simmer away for 30-40 minutes until it thickens up and the sweet potatoes are tender. I prefer the sweet potatoes to be slightly firm, for added texture, but if you like them on the softer side, cook for the full 40 minutes. It’s all up to you. Add more spices, add less, add more veggies, add more meat. The base is here for you to customize, and it’s delicious.
So grab a big bowl and a big blanket and let the comforts of fall give you a big ol’ hug.
|Sweet Potato & Chorizo Sausage Chili|| |
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 500g chorizo sausage, removed from casings
- ½ to 1 Tbsp chili powder, depending on your preference
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 24 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups vegetable stock (or water)
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 4 cups)
- Cilantro, to serve (optional)
- Sour cream, to serve (optional)
- Grainy bread, to serve (optional) (but not really optional)
- In a large, heavy bottomed pot, sautee onions in oil until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add in garlic and sausage, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Cook, continuing to break up the meat, for about 8 minutes until sausage has mostly cooked through and resembles the texture of ground beef.
- Add in chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and stir until meat is coated.
- Add in tomatoes, black beans, vegetable stock, and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, simmering for 30-40 minutes until chili has thickened and sweet potatoes are tender.
- Serve with cilantro, sour cream, and a slice of grainy bread, if desired.