A Chili History
Chili is short for chili con carne, or “chili and meat” (translated from Spanish).
Variants of chili can be found dating back to the 1700s where new residents to the United States from the Canary Islands would cook a “Spanish” stew containing meat and various vegetables in a tomato-based sauce.
A century later, Everrette DeGolyer claimed that the first true chili mix became popular around the time of the California Gold Rush. Travellers would need a staple food during these tough periods by the west coast. They would take beef and pound it along with fat, salt, pepper and chili into bricks that made it easy to transport and they could then boil the brick to prepare a nutritious meal.
So Many Chili Recipes But So Little Time!
Fast-forward to today and if we were to list every available chili recipe, we would likely end up with the number reaching 6 or 7 figures!
With so many options, how do you know which recipe to try?
Well, since you’re already here reading this – you may as well try ours!
Let’s talk about what makes up a great chili recipe.
First of all, we understand that everybody has a preference toward the amount of sauce, spice and meat-to-vegetable ratio.
That’s ok. We are going to try to find a balance between everything!
Beef should be the meat ingredient. It’s ok to try others but if we are talking about a chili recipe being among the best – it needs to be beef. Why? Because we want a very hearty and strong flavor!
The sauce should be tomato-based, but not necessarily containing tomato chunks. We want it fluid enough for the meat and veggies to soak up the flavor but we don’t want to turn it into a soup. If 80% of the meal is sauce, chances are, it’s too runny.
Beans or No Beans?
Beans are not a requirement but if you do want them, make sure they’re cooked well but not overdone – there’s a fine line between a nicely cooked bean and a bean that’s disintegrating in the sauce.
Our chili recipe does not contain beans. This is for one very simple reason: The majority of people don’t like to eat beans! If you do want beans, it’s easy enough to add them to a recipe.
The most important aspect of any chili is the incredible blend of flavors. You’re going to have ingredients that taste bitter and some that taste sweeter. Some of those ingredients will taste hot and spicy, others will taste bland. In some recipes you’ll even have fruity tastes.
Your goal with any chili recipe is to mix all of these elements in a way that they compliment each other and offer a delicious balance
Once you are able to achieve a balance in this area, your recipe can be altered in different ways to suit your preferences, or the preferences of those you’re cooking for!
What Type of Chili Peppers Should I Use?
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed when deciding which chili peppers to use. Most of the time, any description you get from a friend or family member about the heat or flavor is going to be somewhat subjective. But that’s ok – flavor always will be. Heat, on the other hand, can be measured!
We will use the Scoville scale to give you some sort of understanding as to how hot these peppers can get.
Below are a few of the most popular chili peppers found in North American stores and markets.
We’re putting this first, simply because it’s the most common spicy pepper included in meals. This means it will give us a baseline, as most of us can remember how spicy a jalapeno is.
Green is the most common color but it can also be found in bright red.
Scoville Units – 2,500 to 10,000
Red and orange are going to be the most common colors for the habanero but you’ll sometimes find colors like brown or pink.
These are the peppers you’ll find in most hot sauces – some, however, use ghost pepper for more of a kick.
Scoville Units – 100,000 to 350,000
California Chili (Anaheim)
These are the ones to go to if you want a mild kick to your chili recipe. These offer the lowest Scoville rating of all the hot peppers.
All those salsa dips you’ve tried most likely contained the California chili.
Scoville Units – 500 to 2,500
The cascabel gives you a nice balance between the heat of a jalapeno versus the mild flavor of the California chili. Great if you like your stews and soups with a strong kick but not too hot.
Make sure you grab cascabel peppers that are closer to red for more flavor.
Scoville Units – 1,000 to 3,000
There are lots more to choose from, however, most are in the higher (hotter) range of the Scoville scale.
Our Chili Recipe
The Low Fat Low Carb chili recipe was created to please the majority. That being said, feel free to tweak certain aspects to suit your own personal tastes.
For a start, this dish does not list beans in the ingredient list. Again, if you do want beans in your chili, feel free to add them in!
The recipe will create a sauce that’s a little less thick. This creates wonderfully tender meat and lots of flavor will get soaked into the ingredients. If you prefer your chili a thick, just before serving, drain some of the liquid from the chili into a separate bowl and introduce either a little flour or if you want to stay low-carb, you can use protein powder – just make sure it’s unflavored! Once you’ve successfully mixed a very thick sauce, you can add it back to the chili.
If it’s just a matter of having a little too much watery texture, try letting it simmer for a further 30 to 60 minutes, letting the sauce reduce.
We will be cooking our chili recipe using a slow cooker or crock pot because most of our members are busy during the day. Being able to slow cook the meal makes it more available to those who don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen cooking!
Slow Cooker No-Bean Chili
Most chili dishes look the same. While you may not get attention from people looking at it, once they catch the scent of these flavors blending, they’ll be sure to find out what you’ve got cooking!
We use ground sirloin for the best quality, extra lean beef. That, with the veggies, offers a healthy burst of nutrients.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1.5 pounds of ground sirloin
1 cup of chopped red pepper
½ a finely chopped jalapeno pepper
1 chopped green onion
1 can of diced tomatoes (low sodium)
2 tbsp tomato paste (low sodium)
2 cups of beef broth (low sodium)
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp of dried oregano
2 tbsp onion powder
Optional: Sea salt and pepper
Here’s the video so you don’t miss a step: