“And I thought I’d make easy chili.”
“No, please don’t…I’ll make chili.”
That was the conversation Cathy and I had last week. Cathy found a slow cooker recipe for chili. Only four ingredients. It was okay…I mean…it tasted like chili…sorta. But it had no depth of flavor…no…well…not much of anything.
So I decided to make chili.
Now, most of the chilis I’ve made in the past haven’t exactly been healthy. Cathy makes a wonderful turkey chili, and I’ve made chicken chili in the past, but when it comes to good ol’ red meat, they tend to be a bit…unhealthy. So the task at hand was to make a beef chili that tasted great, and was healthier.
So the first choice I had to make was what kind of beef I would use. Well, I prefer a steak of some sort that I can cut into cubes. I like the texture that it brings to the dish, so ground meat was out. I wanted a piece that would be as lean as possible, but maybe a little bit decadent, something like…filet mignon. Eureka! I decided to make filet mignon chili!
I did some checking to see if anyone had made that before. It had been made before, but there weren’t a ton of recipes on it. Some were more difficult than others; there was one that looked pretty good. But, I wanted to do my own thing.
In order to make it healthier, I left out the beer. Generally when I cook chili, I like a dark beer, but of course, there are no gluten free dark beers that I am aware of, plus, I wanted to save the calories. So I would leave that out.
So, here is what I did. In my Dutch oven over medium heat, I put in two tablespoons of grape seed oil. Once that was hot, I added in two large chopped onions, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and let that cook for about 10 minutes or so. Then I added in roughly a pound of the fillet mignon which I had cut into cubes. Then I put in the spice mixture that I had learned in the past. Three tablespoons of chili powder, 1 tablespoon of cumin, ½ teaspoon of cayenne, and a quarter teaspoon of red chili flakes. This would add a good amount of heat, but wouldn’t blow away the palate. I let that cook for about another 10 minutes. Then in went two cans of small red beans, and two large cans of diced tomatoes. I brought the whole thing to a boil, then let it simmer for an hour. After an hour, I tasted it, and then re-seasoned it.
I have to say, the taste was really quite good. It had heat, it had texture, it was meaty, a tad bit soupy so there was something to sop up with my Udi’s gluten free rolls…everything I like in a chili. If I made one mistake, it was that I should have added a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste, because I like the additional richness and body tomato paste brings to chili.
That being said, this was a success.
As for making it healthier? Well, one bowl was 291 calories with 11 grams of fat. That's roughly 32%. Not bad! That includes a small amount of low fat cheese on top.