Chili Con Carne

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t ONLY make gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, sugar-free fare on a daily basis. I often choose to make substitutions mainly because;
1) They are usually much healthier than the traditional ingredients.
2) I prefer a gluten/dairy-free diet due to an intolerance to both.
3) I enjoy experimenting with new recipes and new flavours.

Having said that, sometimes a ‘traditional” recipe is just what the the doctor ordered (especially with these cool autumn days creeping up on us), such as this hearty chili!

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I’ve mentioned many times that I’m not a big meat-eater, but I have to admit that one of my vices is ground meat (don’t ask my why) so you can imagine how much I LOVE chili! Chili con carne is one of those one-pot wonders that the whole family can enjoy (yes, even baby) and is the perfect weeknight meal.

Double the batch and portion the leftovers into containers and store in the freezer for a quick go-to dinner for the family on those busy weeknights when you just don’t have time to cook.

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Wondering how to incorporate chili into baby’s meal? For babies 10+ months, simply mash finely or purée then mix with plain rice or pasta. Add just enough to add flavour to the grains but not overwhelm the palate.

Ingredients (Yields about 8 cups-Serves 4-6 adults)
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, halved or finely chopped (I prefer halving them)
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, finely diced 1 kg lean ground beef
2  x 28oz cans diced tomatoes
1 x 19oz can black beans (drained, not rinsed)
1 tbs. parsley, freshly chopped (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. dried cumin 1 tsp. paprika 2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (you can always add more after removing the kids’ portions!)

Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, onions, and peppers, and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until translucent.

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Add the ground beef, salt, pepper and spices and cook for 12-15 minutes or until no longer pink inside.  As the meat cooks, break it up into smaller chunks with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Add the tomatoes (with the juice) to the pot and bring chili to a boil on medium high heat.  (Don’t forget to remove the garlic halves)

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Once boiling, reduce to medium-low and cook uncovered for about 2 hours or until thickened.  Add the beans (with the remaining starchy liquid in the can) and continue to cook the chili for another 8-10 minutes. *TIP: The starchy liquid from the beans will help thicken the chili.

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Garnish with fresh parsley (to add some freshness to the chili), if desired.

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And you there you have it!  A one-pot wonder that’s easy to make and an ideal family meal.  Set aside the kids’ portions…

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…and throw in some extra cayenne powder in yours!

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We prefer our chili simple without many garnishes but we all know that a warm, hearty bowl of chili is always delicious with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, shredded cheddar cheese, scallions, or whatever condiment you prefer!

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