We may be at the end of winter, but there's snowy slush on the ground here and the skies are still spitting a wintry mix of snow and sleet and frozen rain. I'm taking full advantage of the cold and nasty weather and making a big ole pot of paleo chili today to warm us up.
Related: Chris is weird (hold on, segue coming).
Now, my husband is weird in many ways, but this one applies directly to the topic of chili.
He doesn't like beans in his chili.
I can hear your gasps of outraged shock and horror. I get it.
How the heck do you make chili without beans, when by it's very nature chili is chock full of them? Really, it boggled my mind. And frankly, it embarassed me when he would order chili somewhere and ask them to take the beans out before they brought it to him.
Beanless chili. Weird.
In the paleo world, though, we recognize that beans are a legume, and legumes are a high-glycemic index food. They act the same way that sugars and grains do…they raise your blood sugar quickly, the energy gained from the high amount of carbs lasts only a short while, then you suffer a resulting crash.
Um, no thank you. I don't like the whole crash-and-burn thing.
Like pasta and rice and breads, beans don't offer much in the way of flavor anyway, and are best used as a filler.
A flavorless filler.
A flavorless filler that leads to a crash and burn.
A high-carb flavorless filler that leads to a crash-and-burn.
So, no beans.
Which makes Chris happy.
Without the beans, the chili has to have more meat and veggies added to make it more robust. We use celery, carrots and peppers for the veggies, and a mixture of bacon and ground beef and ground pork (or sausage) for the meat.
The flavor the chili takes on is just awesome. Why? Because bacon makes everything better. :)
Try this. I promise you won't miss the beans!
1lb ground beef
1lb ground pork or sausage
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
6 stalks celery, washed and chopped
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 poblano pepper, blistered, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 jalepeno, minced (we include the seeds, but remove them if you don't want the additional heat)
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups beef bone broth or stock
2 16oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 14oz can diced tomatoes, or tomatoes with green chiles
4 tablesoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste
Cook bacon in large dutch oven over medium heat until crispy.
Drain fat and reserve for other uses.
Crumble bacon and set aside.
Brown ground beef and ground pork (or sausage) over medium high heat in the same dutch oven, adding carrots, celery, onion and peppers about halfway through. Stir frequently.
When meat is fully cooked, pour off part of the accumulated fat and juices, if desired. Add garlic, and stir.
Add the cooked bacon back to the pot, along with the stock, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cocoa, cumin, oregano, paprika and pepper. Stir well.
Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer 2-3 hours or until liquid has reduced.
Salt to taste, and serve.