So, technically this is not a soup, I didn't actually make it on Sunday and it was consumed on Saturday by a bunch of hungry ice fishers and snowshoers, but I'm posting it to my blog on Sunday so it counts, right?

the view from the cottage

This weekend Harry and I joined my Mum on her weekly jaunt up to her cottage on Mayo Lake near Bancroft, Ontario for a weekend of fun in the snow. This was especially fun for Harry given his being British and all, as snow and particularly snow-related outdoor activities are not normally on his agenda. As for me, I was excited to get out of the city for a weekend and finally see some proper snow after a pretty pathetic winter so far in Toronto.

Harry snowshoeing on Mayo Lake.

Cottage Rules state that guests must contribute at least one meal to feed the crowd over the weekend so as to ensure that the hosts have an equally relaxing weekend.

Ice-fishing is really exhausting...

So, when I heard that we would be in charge of Saturday's lunch I thought that a warming and flavorful chili would be perfect after spending most of the morning out in -10 degree weather. This chorizo, sweet potato and chipotle chili (based off of this recipe that Harry and I once made for a chili cookoff back in Edinburgh) provides a warming punch of heat, a touch of sweet and so much flavour to keep anyone on the go in sub-zero temperatures.

Finally putting my snowshoes to the test!

Chorizo, Sweet Potato and Chipotle Chili

1 400 mL can of chopped tomatoes
10-15 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red pepper
2 cubano peppers
1 tbs of chipotle paste
1 tbs of tomato paste
2 tbs of maple syrup
3 sweet potatoes
Generous drizzle of olive oil
700 g of minced beef
2 uncooked chorizo sausages, casings removed
2 tsp of cumin
2 tsp of coriander
2 tsp cinnamon
1 beef stock cube, crumbled
1 250 mL can of hominy
400 g of black beans, soaked and cooked (or 1 400mL can)
3-4 cups of water

To serve:

3 ripe avocados
Juice of 2 limes
A few sprigs of coriander
Grated manchego cheese (or crumbled goat's cheese)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. While oven is preheating empty can of tomatoes into a high-sided baking dish along with chopped red pepper and cubano peppers, chipotle paste, tomato paste and maple syrup along with a dash of salt and pepper.

Wash and chop your sweet potatoes into 2cm cubes, leaving the skin on. Toss onto baking skeet and coat with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Add both trays to the oven and roast for about an hour until sweet potato is cooked and the tomatoes are fragrant and the peppers beginning to char a bit on top.

While the tomatoes and sweet potatoes are in the oven, heat a skillet and add the chorizo sausage meat when hot. The fat from the sausage will prevent it from sticking. When the sausage meat has been separated and starting to cook, add the ground beef. While cooking, be sure to remove most of the excess oil from the pan by spooning it into an empty can. Add spices and crumble in the beef stock cube. When meat is cooked and fragrant, set aside until tomatoes and sweet potatoes have finished cooking.

After an hour or so remove the tomatoes and sweet potatoes from the oven. Pour the contents of the tomato tray into a large pot and using an immersion blender blend until smooth. Alternatively, toss into a food processor of you don't have an immersion blender.

When sauce is blended, add in the cooked meat, sweet potatoes, hominy and black beans and stir to combine. Pour in just enough water to cover the chili, which is usually about 3-4 cups, bring to a boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes until the hominy is heated through and everything is smelling amazing.

While the chili is cooking mash up avocado, lime and coriander to make a quick guac and grate some manchego cheese (alternatively some crumbles soft goat's cheese would do nicely here) to serve. When cooked, serve topped with some guac, cheese and alongside a slice of bread, preferably homemade and get warm.