So…of course the weekend I decide to share my delicious, warm, and comforting Paleo-ish Chili is the same weekend that MTL hit gloriously sunny supra-zero degree weather! That being said, I’m sure the weather this weekend (and apparently for the rest of this week) is just a spring teaser. There is NO way that spring could be starting in mid-February. Right?
In light of that, maybe sharing my Paleo-ish Chili recipe isn’t such a bad idea. Consider it an investment for the next impending snowstorm…Because, I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite things to eat when it’s cold as all he!l outside is a warm, and meaty bowl of Chili! There’s something so comforting about curling up on the couch with a cozy blanket, your current Netflix obsession on the TV screen, and a warm bowl of Chili resting on your chest (with warm tendrils of spice-scented steam swirling under your nose).
Obviously, the same could be said of other warm foods and drinks like Hot Cocoa or your favourite soup, but I have a hard time consuming either of those without spilling it all down my shirt when I’m sitting up at a table. Curling up on a couch with Hot Cocoa or soup is pretty much a disaster waiting to happen for me. (If I could wear a bib when eating and get away with it, I would. Seriously.) Chili is thicker and sits on a spoon better (or at least this Chili does). So, Chili on the couch it is for me!
These days, I can’t have traditional Chili because I can’t eat kidney beans, but I’ve made yet another tweak to my all-time favourite Chili recipe so that I could continue enjoying it. I say ‘all-time favourite’ because, really, Chili is one of my favourite dishes, generally speaking, and I think it’s pretty hard to screw it up. (Unless it’s coming out of a can, or Tim Hortons. No thanks.)
Over the years, I’ve tried me many a Chili recipe. Every time, I come right back to this one, which is also the first recipe I’ve ever made, and probably the first Chili I’d ever had, come to think of it. Dad made his own version of Chili a few times after I had brought this recipe back to the fam, but I don’t think we had had it before. Mum isn’t the biggest fan of ‘American’ cuisine (unless it’s Tex-Mex. But who hates Tex-Mex?! Slather anything in a thick layer of melted cheese, and it would double in deliciousness. Then again…isn’t Chili considered Tex-Mex? Maybe it’s the ground beef thing…or the beans…or the garlic…I dunno. Mum is weird.).
Newho…given Mum’s various gastronomic aversions, I’ve only come to understand the deliciousness that is ‘American’ cuisine (i.e. Mac’n’cheese, Chili, Chili Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Meatloaf, Ribs, and SO many others) since I moved out on my own, and especially since I spent 2 years living in Boston!
Ironically, the only reason I came across this recipe was because when I moved into my own apartment for the first time (an almost horrifying 10 years ago!), Mum gave me a cookbook with a title along the lines of “Cooking for Neophytes: How to Cook Nutritious Meals Without Burning Down Your Apartment” (not really, but that was pretty much the gist of the book). The recipe had all of these dumbed down versions of Cordon Bleu Chicken, basic pasta recipes, and Soufflés (you know, the stuff I’m sure Mum thought would have been the main appeal for me).
What did I do? I made Chili. (Total rebel that I am.) It was the first and last recipe I made from this book (though I adapted it even then); not because I thought the other recipes were rubbish. It was legit because the Chili was just SO FREAKIN GOOD, and I had never had it before. Now, normally, I wouldn’t say that only making one recipe from a cookbook makes it worth having the book, but I’ve honestly made this Chili so many times over the past decade that it has definitely made the book worth it.
And then I lost the cookbook in one of the many moves I’ve made over the past 10 years so I can’t make any of the other recipes from this book anyway. Haha! The only thing that remains of the book is a faded, grease-stained, semi-disintegrated photocopy of my adapted version of the Chili recipe. (And, at least I have that! Otherwise, I would have been really screwed!) Indeed, half the reason I’m posting this recipe today is so that I can immortalize it before the only version I have completely disintegrates.
The other reason is because it’s so tasty and totally hits the spot in the coldest, dreariest months of winter! Like any other chili recipe, this one is pretty da*n easy to make. It’s a classic chop ‘n’ stir recipe, and there isn’t even that much chopping! The only easier way to make Chili, generally speaking, is with a crock pot; which I’ve definitely tried with other recipes, but, like I said above, I always come back to this one.
Now, I call this Paleo-ish Chili because I put lentils in the recipe. To make it truly Paleo, one would have to omit the lentils, and use coconut oil instead of olive. If you do decide to Paleo-ify the recipe by removing the lentils, you can always add another half pound of ground beef to maintain the same texture and protein levels. Many Paleo Chili recipes have you add sweet potato to replace the carb-factor given by the lentils/kidney beans but I’ve honestly never liked having sweet potato in my chili, and it turns to mush anyway (i.e. it pretty much blends in with everything else after a couple of days in the fridge, so meh).
This recipe is also AWESOME for freezing. I often make it when I know that I’m going to be too busy one weekend to get all my cooking done; just to have it in the freezer as a last-minute lunch option.
Like my Champagne Sangria post last week, the hardest part about making this Chili is getting the Ancho chili powder. Once you get that, you’re golden. Unfortunately, using any other kind of chili powder really just doesn’t work. Or it does, but the Chili doesn’t taste the same at all. This is really an Ancho-or-nothing kind of situation. That being said, if you live in TO, you can usually find Ancho chili powder at the store that has everything, or, the store that has almost everything, both of which are in the basement of the St. Lawrence Market. Occasionally, I’ve seen it at supermarkets like Provigo/Metro/Loblaws. Otherwise, there is always Amazon! Woot woot!
Deliciously warm and comforting Paleo-ish Chili that is easy-to-make! Perfect for the darkest and dreariest days of winter!
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 8 servings
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 teaspoons cumin
- 5 teaspoons ancho chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 16 oz. tomato sauce (I use Hunt’s tomato sauce)
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup dry lentils
- Coarse salt, to taste
Optional Toppings: avocado, (vegan) cheese, cilantro, and/or (vegan) sour cream, nacho chips, and whatever else your heart desires (and diet permits).
- In a small bowl, combine the garlic, cumin, ancho chili powder, pepper, and salt. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add your chopped onions, and sauté until translucent, about 5 mins.
- Add your ground beef to the pan and cook just until there is no pink left, about 8-10 mins. If you want to make your chili a bit lighter, calorie-wise, push the ground beef to one side of the pan, tip the pan, and spoon some of the fat out into a can or bowl.
- Add the garlic and spice mixture, and cook until evenly distributed.
- Add the tomato sauce, beef stock, and lentils. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Let mixture simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Salt to taste.
- Turn heat off, and let chili cool for about 10 minutes.
- Serve chili topped with some of your favourite fixin’s, or eat as is, which I do quite often.
Otherwise, I have nothing new to pass on to you guys. I spent most of the past week just trying to get through the week. I caught the cold that seems to be making its way slowly but surely through all of the PTs at the clinic, so have gone through about 2 Kleenex boxes over the course of the week, and lots of Echinacea tea! Monday was the worst. I felt like my skull was an inch thick just standing up. Every time I had to bend over to grab something off the floor, I felt like it was going to burst. (I don’t have much hands-on/close contact with patients at the clinic and I was washing/sanitizing my hands every 5 minutes whether I needed to or not. Otherwise I would have stayed home). By Thursday, I could breathe through my nose again, and by today, I’ve barely needed a Kleenex at all! Win!
This weekend, I’m working on one of the posts that I hyped up last week in my Champagne Sangria post. It’s utter amazing-ness. I told my supervisor that I was making these things on Tuesday night (yet another test run of the recipe before I do it for realz for you guys). He was (jokingly) offended that I would tell him about such utterly amazing food and not bring him some the next day. Then he jokingly (because everyone at this clinic is all jokes) mentioned the food to almost every other PT at the clinic to get them to lobby for a taste test. SO…now that I’m at the tail end of this cold, I guess I’ll bring them samples. I’m telling you this not because I wish to bore you, but to hype you up even more by pointing out that even mentioning the concept of this dish to others makes them lobby hard for a taste test! And I assure you, this dish does not disappoint!
Ok…that’s all for this week folks! I have a final project that I have to get done for stage (this is my last week of stage if you can believe it. I can’t. I never thought 2 months could pass so quickly), and some cooking, and about 10 other things, so I have to dash.
In the mean time, run off and make your Paleo-ish Chili (even if the weather this week is going to be above 0 and the snowbanks which were up around my waist are currently diminishing to small ponds around us). Oh, and stay tuned for next week!
Per usual, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email!
Ciao for now folks!