Ground Beef and Bean Chili
I grew up in the mountains, outside of Yosemite National Park, in California. The town I grew up in didn’t have a central government. So, there was no one paying attention to the growth or aesthetic of the town. It was a mishmash of whatever people fancied, as they fancied it.
I DO recall one single organized neighborhood in the area called “Yosemite Lakes Park”. I had a few friends that lived there. The center of the action was the neighborhood swimming pool. The diving board had incredibly scary looking bite marks on the corner. The Frito Chili Boats were the tops. It was a bag of Frito’s split along the side. Some kind of chili-like substance was ladled in, sour cream was squirted, and grated cheese was dribbled over the top. It always burned my hands to hold, it was terrifically messy, and was awfully even horrendously wonderful. A truly delightful hot mess!
This Chili is my interpretation of a very basic, very tasty, very homogenized Chili. It’s not traditional, it’s not delicate and it breaks many of the rules of a true Texas chili. It has beans, it has tomatoes and when I invited friends to nosh on the Chili piled into their bowls, they absolutely grimaced at the sour cream, but I’m here to tell you ... it went down hot and smooth!
It was everything the Chili in my Chili Boat wanted to be, but simply wasn’t. That was some kind of gruel shlorped out of a heavy #10 can, while this was made from grass fed ground beef and locally grown chilies and tomatoes. That had the texture of severely overcooked and pasteurized ground “something”, this has actual meat in it. It has a variety of interesting flavors and a touch of crunch from the poblano peppers. I confess that I went the extra mile and added some organic black soy beans to fully bring this Chili home.
Keep in mind that the soy beans are optional and do little more than add bulk and some textural variety to the simmered meat. In today’s nutrition circles, soy is a controversial ingredient. Just as much as I know others will scoff at such an exotic ingredient, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say ... they’re delicious. A few organic (non-GMO) soy beans to have a bean chili is worth the risk and indulgence. It’s not much and it’s not often. And, hey ... at 16 carbs and 14 grams fiber, it’s only 2 net carbs per cup and a nice little boost of fiber.
Note: I feel I should say something about the chili “sauce”. See, a normal bean chili will absorb a lot of the water into the beans. They will swell. Some of the starch from the beans will escape into the chili, thickening the sauce. While this chili may have beans, these beans have no starch. This means that the sauce may be a bit on the watery side. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll remove the lid earlier in the process and allow A LOT of the water to evaporate. This will create a much thicker chili, with very little “sauce” to pool at the bottom of the bowl.
Freezer Note: I make triple batches of this, chill it, portion it and freeze little buckets of it. It freezes and reheats PERFECTLY!
Note: Recipe will make about 12 cups of Chili.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Servings: 12 Servings
- 2 tbsp fat (such as lard tallow or avocado oil)
- 4 each poblano chilis ribs and seeds removed, diced
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 each jalepeño chilis ribs and seeds removed, diced
- 12 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 lbs ground beef (80 lean/20 fat)
- 2 lbs fresh tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 2 tbsp 'Swerve' or other sugar replacement
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp paprika (smoked if possible)
- 2 (15-ounce) cans black soy beans (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
Place a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Add the fat to the pan and swirl it around. Once it begins to visually ripple, add the onions, garlic and two chili peppers to the pan. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Stir to coat with fat.
Cook in the fat, stirring from time to time, until the onions begin to show a little color; about 5 minutes.
Add the ground beef to the pot. Season with a little salt and pepper. With a wooden spoon, break up the meat in the pan. Cook and continue breaking up the meat until it is broken up and browned.
While the meat is browning, chop the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the pot.
Add the chili powder, sweetener, vinegar, paprika, and a bit more salt and pepper. Stir everything together. Cover and bring up to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain the simmer. Simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
While the chili is simmering, open the optional soy bean cans. Pour the beans into a colander and wash well with water.
After the chili has simmered for about an hour, taste it. It should have a wonderful flavor and be ever so barely, ever so slightly salty. If it isn’t, add a little more salt. Once it tastes about right (just a shade on the salty side), add the soy beans. The soy beans will absorb a lot of the flavor and salt. Ultimately, it will balance out the flavors.
Allow the chili to simmer uncovered, for about 30 more minutes. This will allow some of the water to evaporate, while adding flavor to the beans.
Once it tastes great, has thickened, has a great texture and looks the part, ladle the chili out into bowls. Garnish with sour cream, fresh raw onion, grated cheese and/or cilantro. No need for Fritos!
Serving: 12g | Calories: 322.02916666667kcal | Carbohydrates: 15.551666666667g | Protein: 20.804166666667g | Fat: 21.456666666667g | Fiber: 6.9766666666667g