Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Slow Cooker Paleo Chili from Amy Kubal

When I started working with Amy Kubal, R.D. over a year ago, she shared some awesome recipes with me to get me started.  One of my favorites is this Slow Cooker Paleo Chili Recipe.   

I asked Amy for the source of the recipe, but she couldn't remember where she got it.  As I had already cooked the recipe for the blog, I decided that I'd go ahead and just post the recipe here.  If you're reading this and identify it as your recipe or if you know who wrote the recipe, let me know and I will credit it appropriately, but for now it's Amy's Slow Cooker Paleo Chili.  

Here are the ingredients you will need:  

2 T Olive oil
1 large Onion (chopped)
1 cup Mushrooms (sliced)
2-3 Portobello mushrooms (chopped)
3 Cloves Garlic (minced)
3 T Chili Powder
2 T Paprika
2 T Cumin
1 lb. Grass-fed or Lean Beef (cut into cubes)
1 lb. Lean (93-96%) Ground Beef, Bison or Turkey (or a mix)
2 (28 oz) cans Crushed Tomatoes with puree.  

As usual, first, I gathered my ingredients.  

I start by chopping my onion and portobello mushroom so they will be ready to go.  I usually buy pre-sliced button mushrooms just to save time.  I'll mince my garlic with my garlic press when it's time to add it to the slow cooker.

The first instruction is to turn the slow cooker on high and add the crushed tomatoes.  I've made this a few times and felt comfortable using the chopped tomatoes I had in my pantry instead of crushed.

Next, stir in 2 tablespoons of chili powder into the tomatoes.

Then you will need to brown the 1 pound of ground meat of your choosing.  I've always used just beef.  I have no interest in turkey chili after making it for years during my pre-paleo days while avoiding beef.  One of these days, I'll gain a sense of adventure and try bison.  

One thing I love about this recipe is that it explicitly uses the same pan for all of the preparatory sauteing.  I use my 12-Inch Saute Pan for this recipe and that seems to be a perfect size.  
Once it's brown, add the meat to the tomatoes in the slow cooker. 

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan and saute the onions, mushrooms (portobello and sliced button) and garlic.  I saute mine until the vegetables have softened and have started to give off some of their liquid.  Once done, add them to the slow cooker. 

Mix everything together.  This already looks great, but we aren't done!

Mixed w/out stew meat
Next, using that same saute pan, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the final tablespoon of chili powder to the oil.  

Quickly add the cubed lean meat to the pan and mix it around to coat it with the chili powder.  Don't wait too long you or you'll risk that your oil will burn off before you can coat your meat with the spice.  I usually use lean stew meat already cubed from the store. 

Once the cubed meat has browned and is covered with the chili powder, add it to the slow cooker and mix it in.  Next add the cumin and paprika to the cooker and give it a final stir.    
Ready to simmer for hours.
The recipe suggests cooking the chili on high for a few hours and then low for 8-10 hours.  It says the longer you cook it the better.  As I was home and able to make the temperature adjustment, I cooked this batch for 2 hours on high and then switched to low for 8 hours.  

At the end of 10 hours total, here is what I had.  


Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  Depending on your big box grocery store's inventory of grass-fed meat you may be able to get everything you need at your big box grocery store pretty inexpensively. 

Preparation & Cooking time:  It took me 25 minutes from start to putting the lid on the slow cooker to simmer away for the day.  I cooked this batch a total of 10 hours, 2 on high and 8 on low.  I've made this recipe cooking it on low the entire time and the result has been pretty much the same, so changing the temperature isn't essential.   

Clean Up:  Oh, how I love the minimal clean up with slow cooking.  Everything except my knife and my saute pan went into the dishwasher.  I usually do a little pre-scrubbing on the slow cooker crock to insure that it comes out clean.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up, obviously!  Amy's original instructions say that "this is how chili should smell."  Well, it is how it should taste as well.  The preparatory browning of the meat and sauteing of the vegetables may seem tedious for a slow cooker recipe, but I think it deepens the end flavor and really isn't that big of a hassle.  The toasting of the chili powder while browning the cubed meat takes this chili recipe to another level.  

Of course, you could likely omit the portobello mushrooms and just double the sliced button ones and double the ground meat and omit the cubed or visa versa, but the texture difference those different ingredients offer this chili pleasing to me.  The flavor improves with a long cook time and a night in the refrigerator.  

The chili freezes very well.  In fact, I made this batch to freeze.  The recipe gave me just over five 18 ounce servings.  

What a perfect easy meal to come home to on a winter night.  I like to take a bunch of baby spinach and ladle hot chili on top of it so it wilts in my bowl.  

Do you have a favorite paleo chili recipe?  What do you like to serve with your chili?

Post Script: I know how annoying it can be to have to print pictures with recipe to get the ingredients, so if anyone is interested just let me know, I'll retype recipe/instructions below without pictures.