Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Paleo Veggie, Bacon, and Beef Chili

I know what you're thinking.  Another Paleo chili recipe?  The recipe world is inundated with them, so why would I waste my time making another? Ummm...  because this one is the best, that's why!  Don't get me wrong, I've tried quite a few of the chili's out there, and some are really good, but each one I tried seemed to be lacking something.  If it was meaty enough, there weren't enough veggies.  If it had lots of vegetables, it was lacking in flavor.  I wanted create one that had a thick, meaty texture, with lots and lots of veggies, and that had enough spices so that it actually tasted like chili.  Oh, and bacon.  Because, well bacon makes me happy. 
I add a crap load of veggies to my chili because other than a salad, there's not many veggie side dishes that go well with chili, and I love the idea of a one pot meal that contains every component of a healthy, well rounded meal.  Feel free to play around with different veggies and different meats.  I used ground beef because it's the most economical, and it's a staple in most people's fridges.  I've also made this with top sirloin, which was crazy delicious, and you could use ground turkey as well. 
This chili receives the highest praise from the hubby and even my boys and it improves as it sits, which makes it perfect for leftovers.  My boys eat raw dairy and so their bowls are topped with copious amounts of shredded raw cheddar and sour cream, adding to the deliciousness of this dish.  If you don't eat dairy, no worries, this chili is plenty good without it. 

Confession.  I'm starting to get a little bit annoyed concerned.  Once upon a time, in an enchanted land far, far away, I was able to get up at 5:00 a.m., and blog or prep meals without the kids underfoot.  I am not sure what's changed, but the time I have to wake up to have some solitude keeps getting earlier and earlier.  My boys are usually up by 5:30, which means for me to get at least an hour of uninterrupted productivity I have to get up at 4:15!!  As sad as it makes me to think of them getting older, I would be lying if I said I'm not looking forward to the day where I have to wake them up.  All you moms with early risers know what I'm talking about.  Is it too much to ask to have a moment of peace in the morning?  Look outside.  Is it still dark?  Has mom enjoyed a cup of coffee yet?  If you answered no to any of these questions, please, please stay in bed.  This needs to be a law.  I wish I knew how to enforce it.  That should be my next post.  How to successfully keep your kids sleeping in bed until the exact moment you want them to wake up.  I bet it would be my most popular post.

And right on cue, Murphy's Law just reared it's ugly head.  My oldest just walked downstairs and my two year old is screaming, "Mama, meeee, uuuuppp!"  It's 5:32.  Right on schedule.  Looks like I was able to down at least one cup of coffee and manage to write almost all of this post before they got up.  Oh well, there's always tomorrow. 
On a positive note, it's a gorgeous, gloomy, rainy day here in Northern California, which means it's a perfect day to enjoy a big bowl of this warm, comforting chili.  At least my dinner is taken care of.  I prepped everything last night, which means come tonight, all I have to do is throw all my ingredients in my stock pot, let it do it's thing, and I'll have a delicious dinner on the table in no time.  Because this chili is made all in one pot, complete with all the veggies, protein, and healthy fats right inside, it means I only have one dish to wash.  For that I am thankful.  And although it may have seemed like I was complaining, I am extremely grateful for each moment I get to spend with my little monkeys, even if those moments come at the crack of dawn :)
Paleo Veggie, Bacon, and Beef Chili
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced (I used red, but any color will do)
2 zucchini, diced
1 large carrot, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb grass-fed beef, turkey or steak
5 slices of bacon, chopped
1 14 oz can of diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 14 oz can of tomato sauce*
1 c bone broth or store bought stock
1 T apple cider vinegar
3-5 T chili powder (I used 5, might have even been 6, I like my chili well seasoned.  Start with 3 and add more if desired)
1 T paprika
1 T cumin
2 t red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
avocado, diced
optional but highly recommended: raw cheddar cheese and sour cream
Heat cubed bacon in a large stock pot over medium heat and cook until fully browned.  Remove cooked bacon from pan and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain. 
Add onion, bell peppers, zucchini, and carrot into the hot bacon grease and cook for a few minutes until the veggies begin to soften.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.
Add in ground beef, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon.  Allow the meat to cook for a 1-2 minutes and then add all your spices, chili powder through salt and pepper.
Pour in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, bone broth, and apple cider vinegar and give the mixture a good stir.  Bring it up to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 45 minutes.  Remove lid and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking.  Add diced avocado, cooked bacon, and cheese and sour cream if using. 
 *If you prefer your chili a little thicker, I would opt for a small 8 oz can of tomato sauce instead of the 14 oz.  I use a 14 oz can and it is always perfect for us, but hey, it's your dinner, so do what you like!


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