At Baltimore’s Kennedy-Krieger Institute, the special-ed students who run the school’s Café James are showing their team colors on the menu. When they learned the Ravens would be playing in the Super Bowl–an event they’d long been waiting for–they eagerly dreamed up a purple rain of recipe ideas to serve on Thursday and Friday.
“We brainstormed and came up with anything purple we could think of, as well as traditional Baltimore foods,” says teacher Lindsay Balladarsch, who manages the café. “That includes purple potato soup, purple tortilla chips with guacamole, purple mashed potatoes with a fixin’s bar, blueberry-and-raspberry parfaits, and homemade soft pretzels with Maryland crab dip.” And since no Super Bowl party would be complete without football food, wings, hot dogs, and bratwursts will also be offered. “The kids are SO excited about our local team making it to the Super Bowl,” Lindsay says. “Everyone will be wearing purple shirts Friday!”
Team spirit is something the Café James students understand. All have disabilities ranging from autism to brain injury to cerebral palsy, and the café is actually a classroom that teaches them job skills for the hospitality and food service industries.
“These remarkable kids handle a variety of tasks,” Lindsay says. “They prep the food, greet customers, operate the cash register, take inventory, plan menus, and clean. Each year, the run the café more independently than the year before.”
We intercepted one of the café’s cold-weather favorites–Sweet Potato and Turkey Chili. It’ll be will be a great addition for a party, whether you root for the Ravens, or pull for the 49ers. Freeze any leftovers to enjoy for a weeknight supper.
Café James Sweet Potato and Turkey Chili
2 white sweet potatoes (about 1.5 lbs)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 lb. ground turkey, preferably thigh meat
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Serrano peppers, chopped and seeded
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added dark kidney beans
Toppings: shredded cheese, sliced jalapeños or green onions, sour cream
1. Scrub the sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2 to 1-inch chunks. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and set aside.
2. Return pot to stove and heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat.
3. Add ground turkey, breaking into pieces as it browns. Use a slotted spoon to remove ground meat from the pot and drain off any excess liquid. Set cooked turkey aside.
4. Return pot to stove and heat 3 tbsps. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper, garlic, salt, chili powder, and oregano and sauté for 3-5 minutes until onions are translucent.
5. Add the cooked turkey and mix well until turkey is evenly coated with seasonings.
6. Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, kidney beans, and sweet potatoes. Stir. Bring to a boil.
7. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
8. Serve with cornbread.
NOTE: Recipe not tested by the Southern Living Test Kitchen