Wow, it’s been a long time since I found the time to blog! Our phenomenal annual scuba diving trip to Pirates Point Resort on Little Cayman followed by a business trip to Detroit really cut into my cooking (and blogging) time!
When I return home from a trip, I’m always faced with a less than stellar selection of fresh veggies in my fridge – which is why I always keep more durable veggies like onions, potatoes, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes in my pantry year-round.
I didn’t want to let my three lovely organic sweet potatoes go to waste, so I decided to pair them with a less familiar bean to give my chili a whole new look – and taste!
Aduki beans originally came from China and are also used in Japan. They are a bean I remember from my early flirtation with macrobiotics because they are considered a very “yang” bean. Since our Western diets tend to be on the “yin” side, aduki beans are a good bean to consider incorporating in your diet. They are high in protein and slightly lower in calories than the more familiar black beans that they resemble in size (but not color) – and are supposed to be easier to digest than many other types of beans. According to Dr. Andrew Weil’s excellent website, they support kidney, bladder, and reproductive functions, and are ” . . . a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and B vitamins.”
In Chinese and Japanese cooking aduki beans are often combined with sugar or honey to make desserts. If you’ve ever had red bean paste in a bun or as an ice cream in a Japanese restaurant, you’ve eat sweetened aduki beans. That addition of sweetness was one of the reasons I thought sweet potatoes would be a good foil for aduki beans in chili. And remember, sweet potatoes shouldn’t just be eaten at Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A and are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods.
Aduki beans can be found dried or canned. Dried ones will need to be soaked overnight, and will take several hours to cook. Fortunately, I had several cans of Earth Fare’s Organic Aduki Beans in my pantry, which was just the amount I needed for my slow cooked creation. (BTW, Earth Fare may be phasing out its Aduki Beans because of lack of demand, so if you can’t find them, Eden Food also makes excellent canned organic Aduki Beans.)
Please give my Aduki Bean Sweet Potato Chili a try. Slow cookers aren’t just for the cold months. I use my slow cooker year-round because it keeps my kitchen cool and comfortable on these sweltering summer days.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 organic red pepper, chopped
- 3 large organic sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced organic fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can organic aduki beans
- 1 cup organic salsa
- 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- ½ package of Gardein Beefless Burger Crumbles
- Chopped cilantro (or chopped parsley and chives for cilantro haters)
- Heat a skillet (or use the saute/roast function on your slow cooker) and add the oil. Sauté the onion for about 5-6 minutes, followed by the garlic and the pepper. Cook for about 4 more minutes,
- Put the contents in the slow cooker if you have been using a skillet, or simply congratulate yourself on having a multifunction slow cooker, and switch it over from the saute/roast function to the slow cooking function and turn it to low.
- Add the sweet potatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, aduki beans, salsa, stock or water. Cook for about 4 hours on low.
- About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, add the frozen crumbles, and stir them in well. Add a little more salsa or stock if you think it's cooked down too much. Cook the crumbles on high for about 10 -12 minutes, while you chop the cilantro or parsley and chives and set the table.
- Taste and adjust seasonings, and sprinkle on the chopped herbs.