Smoky Paleo Chili

I don’t make a lot of the same meals twice. I mean, there are some basic foods that I always have around;  eggs, pork loin, chicken thighs, bacon, greens and fresh herbs, tomatoes, tequila. You know- the essentials. But when it comes to actually preparing a multi ingredient meal, I like variety. I love trying new things. Now and then, I will stumble on something I know if going to come back around.

The first time I had chili with chipotle peppers, I loved the smoky layer of flavor it added in. I’ve experimented with ingredients a lot the last few years and the recipe below is the result. This is a crowd pleaser. I never have leftovers when I bring this to a party, or whip up a batch before a  football game.

The recipe below is my favorite version. There are a ton of ways to change this up. If your budget is tight, you can leave out some of the fresh veggies and go with canned (tomatoes). You can leave out the yellow peppers and just go with green, use dried oregano, and switch up the veggie portions based on what’s on sale. More mushrooms or carrots, less greens etc. Protein-wise, you can use almost any meat in this. I enjoy it with pork shoulder  (roast it slow the day before so you can shred it into the pot easily), chicken, ground turkey etc.

For my vegan friends, you can obviously replace the meat with beans. My absolute favorite replacement is sprouted barley. It takes some extra prep, but so worth it for each chewy, satisfying bite. I’ve served this version to non-vegans and never had a complaint about the “missing” meat. For a single batch, I soak 2 cups of barley overnight and then sprout for 36-48 hours- just enough to get them barely sprouting, still lots of body to the grain.

This is makes about 10 2.5 cup servings. The ingredient list below might look daunting, but it’s amazingly simple to prepare. Without further ado, here are the directions for the exact recipe I made yesterday.

  • 1 lb coarse ground beef (you’ll likely have to ask at the butcher counter for this)
  • 1 lb pork sausage
  • 4c vegetable stock (optional- I actually like a really thick chili and usually don’t include this)
  • 1 lb shredded sweet potato
  • 8-10 vine-ripened tomatoes, about 2 lbs.
  • 1 large yellow onion,chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic,chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 1 c shredded carrots
  • 4 c sliced mushrooms
  • 2 c arugula
  • 2 c spinach
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 can chipotle peppers, chopped
  • 2 c brewed drip coffee
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 T pepper
  • 3 T ground cumin
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 2 T bakers powdered unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 T worchestire sauce

In a large cooking pot brown the meat and add any seasonings that aren’t fresh; salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder.  NOTE- If using a precooked meat or the vegan version, start with the onions carrots and garlic, and add the meat, beans or barley in after the onions are cooked 5-7 minutes. While this is browning, chop all your veggies up. I typically use a mandolin for speed, you can also use a food processor. when the meat is mostly cooked. Add the onions, carrots and garlic, cook for 5 minutes. Add bell and jalapeno peppers and shredded sweet potato. Cook 5 more minutes. Add tomatoes (fresh or canned), chipotle peppers, coffee, stock, worchestire, bakers chocolate. Cook 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, arugula, spinach and oregano (if fresh). Turn down to low and cover for 10 minutes.

A 2.5 cup serving from the recipe above is 378 calories 25P/20C/22F

This isn’t super spicy, but you can adjust for your preferences or household. I leave out the jalapenos if I’m not sure how much spice folks can handle and just have them available to add in.

I serve with plain greek yogurt or shredded cheese.

chili 2

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