We spent our day shopping. The weather turned cold and we actually wore jackets – something rare in the ‘Valley of the Sun.” But, it felt right as Christmas is approaching and we so fondly remember snowy holidays when we lived in the Eastern United States. Jack Frost is not exactly nipping at our nose here, but the cooler weather did make us think about making our favorite Texas Chili to warm us this December evening. Yes, we said Texas Chili!
Authentic Texas Chili, or a “bowl of red,” does not have the beans or chunks of tomato that usually adorn what many call chili. In fact, it usually contains cubes of beef chuck and “masa” or corn flour. However, we grew up with typical restaurant chili that had beans. It is hard to change. Like many dishes, the flavor creates a fond memory that you enjoy. It becomes your “authentic” recipe. We do, however, like the idea of eliminating the beans to cut out the heavy carbs in our chili. We also skip the masa. So, with all due respect to the purists, we offer our low-carb version of “Texas Chili.” It is delicious and is, as we say, Tasty Low Carb!
This hearty soup had its beginning with the cowboys on the range and has evolved into a perfect cold weather staple. It is really comfort food. As our evening temperatures drop into the 40s here in the Southwest, we like the heat and flavor this soup brings. It is our “go-to” winter soup.
Ingredients for Texas Chili
Ground beef and peppers are the key ingredients. We have used cubes of chuck roast in place of the ground beef and also blended them with ground meat. Blending gives it a heartiness without changing the flavor and is a good idea if you are using the chili as an entire meal. We also like the ground beef by itself since we use our left-over chili over hot dogs and as a base for “Huevos Rancheros.” That recipe will be posted soon.
The blend of spices can be varied according to your taste, but do make sure to use chili powder and cumin. It just wouldn’t taste right without these two spices. The adobo sauce we use adds a smoky flavor, particularly when you also add smoked paprika to the pot. The cayenne and jalapeño provide the heat so adjust those according to your desired tolerance. White vinegar gives the soup a needed tang and the Sukrin gold is a brown sugar substitute. Some folks add chocolate instead for sweetness – it is a Cincinnati thing! Just avoid using processed sugar.
Crushed tomatoes avoid the chunky versions of many recipes and organic tomato paste will thicken the pot. We like using organic beef stock to add to the beefy flavor. It will also yield less carbs in each dish than you would get with pure tomato sauce.
Cooking Tips for Texas Chili
We like to use a good stock pot for this recipe. If you have a cast iron ceramic coated Dutch Oven that would work well. You can also make this a “slow cooker” recipe. Just cook it low and slow for 6 hours. You may need to add another cup of beef stock if you use a slow cooker. We like cooking it on the stove top since it is faster. It will meld together the next day for even greater flavor so make a bigger pot for left-overs.
We use an 80-20 blend for our ground beef – the extra fat adds so much flavor. We do drain the fat after the initial browning since we do not want our chili to separate after cooking or be greasy. That may seem like a contradiction, but it just works better.
The recipe contains a lot of spices. We have tried it with numerous combinations and found our blend to be the best. The recipe has a smoky flavor with the adobo sauce and the smoked paprika that is just wonderful. Try it that way and see what you think.
Finally, our chili is thick and almost like a stew. If you prefer more of a soupy dish then add a little more beef stock or cook it with a lid on. It will also thicken as it cools. We usually add a bit of water the next day when making it as a left-over meal.
When the cold begins to set in and the snow begins to fall this Texas chili will warm you inside and out! It is one of our favorite recipes and when garnished with cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and some chopped red onions you have a masterpiece! Enjoy!
Low Carb Texas Chili
A low-carb version of traditional chili without the beans and masa - just lots of beef, chili, and taste!
- 3 tablespoons Olive oil extra virgin
- 2 pounds Ground beef 80-20 blend
- 1/4 teaspoon Sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
- 1 small White onion chopped
- 1 small Red bell pepper chopped
- 1 small Jalapeño pepper chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne
- 1 tablespoon Chili powder
- 1 tablespoon Adobo sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Smoked paprika
- 28 ounces Crushed tomatoes Cento
- 2 tablespoons Tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon White vinegar
- 3 cups Beef stock organic
- 1 tablespoon Sukrin gold
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.
Add ground beef, salt, and pepper and brown for 8 minutes. Drain off the excess fat.
Push the meat to the sides to create a well in the center and add one more tablespoon of olive oil, the white onion, red pepper, jalapeño and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the chopped garlic, cayenne, chili powder, adobo sauce, cumin, and smoked paprika and stir well to combine.
The crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, white vinegar and beef stock are added next and stir to combine. Then add the Sukrin gold and stir again.
Turn heat down until you have a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes until thickened. Serve garnished with grated cheddar, a dollop of sour cream, and chopped red onion.