Recipe: Paleo Chili

Recipe: Paleo Chili

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Kelli Foster
Mar 16, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Whether you call it Paleo chili or meat-lover's chili, the most important thing to know about this chili is that it is downright delicious. Buried in the rich broth tinged with warm spices and cocoa undertones, you'll find a double dose of beef in the form of seared cubes of chuck with crumbled ground beef. This version skips the beans altogether, but gets its bulk and an extra-hearty texture from a slew of thick-cut root vegetables, like sweet potatoes and carrots.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

What Is Paleo Chili?

I want you to know that this chili isn't all that different from most other chili recipes. Similar to Whole30, the Paleo diet limits refined sugar, and eliminates grains and legumes, focusing instead on protein, vegetables, and healthy fats.

So what does that mean for this chili? It's one thing, really. To keep this chili Paleo, the recipe skips on the beans or lentils. Instead, it incorporates a slew of vegetables, including hearty root vegetables among the onion, peppers, and celery to help season and thicken the broth while providing some contrast to the meat.

Paleo Chili

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 pound

    beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1 pound

    lean ground beef

  • 1 large

    yellow onion, diced

  • 1 medium

    red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced

  • 2 medium

    carrots, peeled and diced

  • 2 stalks

    celery, diced

  • 1 medium

    sweet potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 3 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 3 tablespoons

    chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons

    tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsweetened natural cocoa powder

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons

    dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

  • 1 (28-ounce) can

    fire-roasted diced tomatoes

  • 3 cups

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 tablespoon

    apple cider vinegar

  • For serving (optional):
  • 1 medium

    avocado, diced

  • 2 medium

    scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup

    coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Pat the beef cubes dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, add the beef cubes in a single layer and sear until browned on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a large bowl; set aside.

Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to the bowl with the seared beef cubes.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and heat until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrots, celery, sweet potato, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the chili powder, tomato paste, cocoa powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes.

Return the beef and any accumulated juices to the pot. Add the tomatoes and their juices and the broth and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Serve topped with avocado, scallions, and cilantro if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

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