Chili is a funny thing. So many people have different ideas as to what’s the ‘best’ kind of chili and many will vocally defend ‘their’ version as the best. I’ve lived quite a few places around the US, and I know every area has their own requirements as to what makes a great bowl of chili.
Chunky is better. No soupy, so it can be put over Frito’s. (I think this is a Southern thing!)
Chili must have beans. Other people don’t want beans in their chili. If you do have beans, the dilemma is pinto or kidney beans. (North vs South)
My family is from New Mexico, so chili has a whole other set of criteria – red or green?
Don’t even get me started on the perfect topping! Do you want cheese, onions, sour cream, chives, fritos, rice, or things I’ve never even thought of before.
The Quest for the Perfect Chili!
All this went through my head this past weekend when Clifford saw colder weather in the forecast. He requested I make CHILI for dinner/lunch. Of course, he had a lot of stipulations – low carb, no beans, must be chunky, and full of flavor.
I pulled out my recipe box and the two different ones there definitely didn’t fit the bill, as they both had beans and lots of sauce. So I did what I always do – start combining recipes I found on the Internet. (Does anyone else do this? Please say yes!)
After a couple of trial and error runs, the verdict is in!
I believe I’ve put together a chunky, flavorful chili that tastes good the first day, but even better the next! According to Clifford, it does get old after day 4. Guess it’s not the ‘miracle meal’ that allows me to only cook once a week! I’ll keep researching for this perfect meal.
While I know we don’t always have cooler weather here in Houston, I know this recipe will be a keeper. This recipe makes a lot, but it also freezes well, so you can eat some now and freeze the rest. It’ll taste great heated up again the next time it gets cold.
I made this in the slow cooker, but it will also work great in the InstantPot if you’re pressed for time.
Chunky Chili without Beans
2-3 pounds of Gina’s Acres Grass Fed Ground Beef
½ Large Onion, diced
6 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cans Diced Tomatoes with liquid (I used Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes)
1 can Tomato Paste (or 2-3Tbsp concentrated Tomato Paste)
1 can Green Chiles with liquid
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
¼ C Chili Powder
2 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
2 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 Bay Leaf (optional)
Slow Cooker Instructions:
* In a large skillet, cook the onions on medium for 4-5 minutes, or until they become clear. Add the garlic and cook for a minute (or until you can smell the garlic!)
* Add the ground beef to the pan and cook until there isn’t any pink. Make sure to break it up with a spatula so that it’s not one big lump.
* Carefully move the ground beef into the slow cooker and add all of the other ingredients. Mix all together and put the bay leaf in middle (if using).
* Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. If you used a bay leaf, remove it before serving.
Instant Pot Instruction
*Set the ‘Sauté’ setting on high. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until they become clear. Add the garlic and cook for a minute (or until you can smell the garlic!)
* Add the ground beef and cook until there isn’t any pink. Make sure to break it up with a spatula so that it’s not one big lump.
* Add all of the other ingredients and mix it all together. Make sure to put the bay leaf in the middle (if using). Add ½ - 1 cup of water
* Close the lid and press the ‘Keep Warm/Cancel’ button to stop the sauté function. Select the Meat/Stew function and set time for 35 minutes.
* Once finished, wait for the natural release if possible. If you’re anxiously waiting to eat, it’s fine to use the ‘quick release’ valve. You’ll need to remove the bay leaf before serving.