Rip’s friend Tim DeBoom won the coveted Hawaii Ironman triathlon twice, in 2001 and 2002. The first time, right after 9/11, he broke a five-year streak of no American winning the race. Rip will never forget the vision of Tim crossing the finish line waving the American flag. Tim and his wife, Nicole, made this chili for Rip one night when he crashed at their place. After two bites he couldn’t get over how much he loved cherries in chili. It’s a total winner — just like they are!
- 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 cup Roasted Red Bell Peppers or store-bought roasted peppers, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, with juice
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup sweet corn, frozen is fine
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced, for topping
Place the cherries in a dish of warm water and let soak for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and try to rinse off any of the oil used in processing the dried cherries. Repeat, soaking, draining, and rinsing the cherries again. Set aside.
Microwave or steam the sweet potato cubes until they are soft, and set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, cook the onion and bell pepper in a little water until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant.
Add the roasted pepper, chili powder, mustard, cumin, tomatoes, and broth. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat as the flavors meld together. Increase to high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the drained cherries, steamed sweet potatoes, black beans, kidney beans, corn, and half the cilantro. Continue cooking and stirring on medium-low heat for at least 10 minutes, until well incorporated and the flavors mingle. Simmering longer does not hurt when it comes to chili as long as you remember to stir occasionally.
Serve with remaining cilantro and diced jalapeño to your liking. It is also delicious over brown rice.