This week marks the first 7 days of a Whole30 challenge I am doing with some friends at my office. Since the goal of this challenge was to help show my friends how easy cooking Paleo can be, I wanted to choose a dish that was going to be satisfying, easy, and could be frozen for a simple grab-n-go meal. Though the weather is getting warmer, I knew that both of my friends were fans of spicy food and loved Chili. This seemed like the perfect item to put on our week 1 menu. Chili is such a simple dish, but incredibly satisfying. The great thing about Chili, is that you are starting out with a recipe base that is almost Paleo, so you only need to make a few adjustments. While a typical Chili may call for beans, cheese and sour cream, the real satisfaction comes from the flavor. The Whole30 Chili I came up with substitutes extra veggies for the beans, and is served with Guacamole to supplement the sour cream.
I have made this Chili at least a dozen times for big gatherings, or just as a great meal to take with me throughout the week for lunch. It is a hit every time! It also freezes really well – so portion it out into Ziploc bags and keep it in your freezer for an easy grab-n-go meal option. Serve in mugs or as a topper for your baked sweet potato.
- 6 slices bacon
- 2 pounds ground mean (combo beef, pork and veal is best)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large bell pepper, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 28-ounce can tomato puree
- 1 cup diced tomato
- 3 cups beef broth, plus more if needed
- 2 zucchini, diced
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- Using a large stock pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove the cooked bacon and set aside. Pour off all but about 1 Tablespoon of the bacon fat - and reserve the remainder for later (this is liquid gold).
- In the same stock pot, brown the ground meat in the bacon fat over medium/ high heat. Once all of the meat is cooked, remove it from the pot and set aside in a covered bowl. Make sure the pot is empty, but you don’t have to worry about wiping it down (if there are small bits left in there it will just add flavor).
- Heat about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the stock pot, and add in the onions and bell pepper - cooking until the onions are translucent and soft. Add in the garlic and zucchini and cook for another 3 minutes. At this point, add in the chili powder, cumin, paprika and tomato paste. Keep stirring for another few minutes until the mixture in the pot looks covered evenly. Add in 1.5 cups of the beef broth, and let simmer for about 2 minutes.
- Add back in the ground beef you set aside, cocoa powder, tomato puree, diced tomatoes and remainder of the beef broth. Reduce to a medium/ low heat, and let simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
- Add in salt and hot sauce to taste. If the chili looks too watery, keep simmering. If it is too thick, add more broth.
Serve topped with the reserved bacon crumbles and guacamole. Can be divided into portion sizes and frozen.