When the weather is warm, it makes me crave avocados. When the weather is cold, I want a big bowl of chili. And let's face it - I always want something crunchy and salty. This post satisfies all of those cravings to a "T."
I make chili a lot, and it always follows this method, but the meat in the chili changes based on what I have thawed on hand. This week, it was pastured pork chorizo that I picked up at a farmers market in Greensboro, NC one weekend while traveling. The type of chorizo I used was uncooked, bulk chorizo, but you could use any kind of ground meat, like grassfed ground beef, ground pork, bulk sausage, or ground chicken or turkey for something a little leaner. I wish I knew someone who hunted because I would LOVE to try this with venison!
I know that most chili recipes have some beans, maybe some corn, and they are possibly thickened with cornmeal, or masa, but my version has tons of veggies instead of those other - non-paleo ingredients. Instead of being thickened with cornmeal, mine reduces for a long time on a slow simmer, accomplishing both a thick and hearty chili, and a deeply developed flavor. Chili is so flavorful, that you don't miss the beans or corn at all.
|Paleo Chorizo & Veggie Chili|
Ingredients1 pound of ground chorizo (or ground meat of choice)
3 cups of diced carrots
1 gigantic red onion (or two small) diced
2 green peppers, diced
2 cups of mushrooms, diced
1 28 oz. can of Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes (I used THIS brand)
3 oz organic tomato paste
4 cups of homemade bone broth/stock (or use the best quality store bought you can find, with no added sugars or MSG)
1 1/2 Tbsp Ancho Chili Powder
1 1/2 Tbsp Mexican Hot Chili Powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground roasted cumin
1 tsp fresh minced garlic
dash of cinnamon
1 Tbsp dried oregano
Salt to taste
Directions1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, brown the chorizo until cooked through.
2. Add in the vegetables and season with a big pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until the vegetables have softened a bit - about 15 minutes.
3. Add in the tomato products, stock and seasonings and stir to combine well.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 3-4 hours, uncovered. Don't skip this step or you will regret it! A good chili needs a long time to simmer to let the spices truly develop and to let all the vegetables to cook to the right doneness (especially the carrots). This step is also crucial for the chili to thicken, since we aren't using any masa.
5. Serve with my guacamole and plantain chips (see below!)
I used to love chili loaded with sour cream and cheddar cheese, with some corn chips on the side for crunch. Now I fill my cravings for something creamy and crunchy with a BIG dollop of guacamole and either plantain chips or pork rinds. When me and my husband first "went paleo" and decided to give up dairy for a good long while, we put guacamole and avocados on everything to satisfy our "creamy" cravings. When people say that dairy is the one thing they are unsure if they can give up, I tell them about that tip.
I was going to run out to the store to get some of my favorite garlicky plantain chips from the Hispanic market near me, but my husband reminded me that they have vegetable oils in the ingredient list. They aren't a terrible choice, because the label says that it is non-GMO vegetable oil, which is better than some, but still not really paleo. Trader Joe's also has a version that is made with sunflower oil, which is less offensive, but I decided to try my hand at making my own. I first tried a version I found that tossed the thinly sliced green plantains in coconut oil, but I wasn't crazy about the results.
Today I tried my own version that uses a little more oil, but produces an AMAZING chip! When my husband tried them, he said, "Oh girl - you messed up..... you are going to HAVE to make these for me all the time!" (His funny way of saying I hit it out of the park.)
But I agree - I nailed it, if I do say so myself. They go great with this super garlicky version of guacamole. My husband seriously can't get enough garlic. Eat in self defense!
|Oven Fried Plantain Chips|
Ingredients2 green plantains
5 Tbsp Avocado Oil
Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder to taste
Directions1. Pre-heat the oven to 375.
2. Cut off the ends of the plantains, and score them lengthways through the thick skin.
3. Use your thumb to peel off the skin. If there are any parts that you can't get off completely, you can use a vegetable peeler to get those last bits off and make the outside smooth.
4. Slice the plantains as thin as possible into coins using either a sharp knife or a mandoline.
5. You will need two half-sheet pans (cookie sheets) for the whole batch. Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil on each sheet tray and make sure the oil coats the pans evenly.
6. Lay out the plantain coins out in a single layer on the oiled pans, then using a silicone basing brush, brush the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on the top of the coins. (There should now be a total of 2 1/2 tablespoons of avocado oil on each pan.)
7. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip all of the plantain coins. Some may be trying to stick to the pan, so I suggest using a metal spatula.
8. Bake another 12- 15 minutes until the plantain chips have started to brown, and look like the photograph above.
9. Drain the chips on paper towels after they are baked, and sprinkle immediately with a good pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Garlic Lovers' Guacamole
IngredientsFlesh of 2 ripe avocados
5 cloves of garlic, grated (I use a microplane zester for this because it gets the garlic really fine)
juice of half a lime
salt and pepper to taste
Directions1. Mash all ingredients together in a bowl with a fork to your desired consistency. Some like it chunky, some like it creamy - its up to you!
I hope you guys like these three recipes, and I think they go well together, but if you were to pick just one to try, I would suggest trying the Oven Fried Plantains! If you are missing something crunchy on your paleo diet, these are the perfect snack.