Sunday, August 11, 2013

Spicy Cocoa Chili


If you are going to eat paleo, you are going to need a lot of protein in your fridge.  Otherwise, you will be constantly cranky.


I'm starting to learn that while it's great to have lots of protein in your fridge, you will probably still be cranky much of the time unless some of that protein is really quick to cook or cooked already.  This week, my go-to breakfast has been one chicken apple sausage (Applegate Organics makes a great version sweetened only with fruit & juice), one fried egg, and a bowl of fruit.  The sausage is already cooked and eggs are super fast, so I can have breakfast ready in less than ten minutes.

Lunch and dinner can be more difficult.  Yesterday afternoon, I made a big batch of this spicy cocoa chili to eat later (but, I couldn't resist having a small bowl as soon as it was ready).  I feel good about today because I know I can just heat up a big bowl of this stuff and be eating a healthy lunch in no time.

This chili gets a great depth of flavor from some unusual spices like cocoa and allspice.  When my boyfriend tasted it during its long simmer, he suggested I add cajun seasoning, and that really woke up the other flavors.  I added a little extra cayenne to give the chili a noticeable, but comforting, heat.  I think you'll love it!  With a big container of this on hand, you won't be cranky for long.

Ingredients (makes 6-8 servings; adapted from The Clothes Make The Girl):

2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ground beef

1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 and 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning*
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

6 ounces tomato paste
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes
2 and 3/4 cups water

Scallions, red onions, and/or avocado, for serving

*I use La Flor Cajun seasoning, which does not seem to be available anymore.  The ingredients are cayenne pepper, onion, salt, herbs, garlic, and other spices.  If you don't have any Cajun seasoning, try adding a little more cayenne, onion powder, and/or garlic powder to taste.

Heat the coconut oil in a large, deep pot over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about five minutes.  Add the garlic and stir just until fragrant.  Add the ground beef, crumbling it with your hands, and stir often until the meat is no longer pink.

Mix all the seasonings in a small bowl, then add to the pot and stir to combine.  Add the tomato paste and stir again.  Add the can of tomatoes with their juice.  Fill the can with water and add that along with one more cup of water.  Stir until everything is well mixed.

Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat so it simmers.  Cook, uncovered, for two hours, stirring occasionally.

Serve hot with scallions, red onion, avocado, or your favorite topping.



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