Beef and Veggie Chili

Baby it’s cold outside!  Warm up with a hot bowl of beef and veggie chili!

It’s been COLD in Denver!  On Tuesday it was below freezing so it was the perfect time to cook up a big batch of beef and veggie chili.  I discovered that Laura’s Lean Beef has stew beef that is 96% lean, so it’s perfect for the State of Slim program that I follow.  I really prefer stew meat in chili as opposed to extra lean ground beef, the texture is much better.  Ground meat that is 96% lean tends to become “pebbly” after the long cooking, whereas stew meat is meant for a long, slow cooking process that results in tender pieces.

You could put any vegetable you like in this chili, just be sure to use lots!  You really stretch out your portions that way, and it ensures you’re eating plenty of healthy veggies.  I used peppers, onions and mushrooms but you could also use green beans, turnips, parsnips, carrots, cauliflower, whatever you like!  Next time I might even try adding in some kale or spinach at the end of the cooking time.  I kept the beans out of this chili, but I included them as an optional ingredient in the recipe.  I do this so that I’m not tied into a carb serving, but I always have beans in the cupboard so I can just open a can and add some to a bowl of chili if I want to.

Get your pot of chili going and stay warm out there!

The finished chili, garnished with nonfat Greek yogurt, avocado and green onions.

The finished chili, garnished with nonfat Greek yogurt, avocado and green onions.

Beef and Veggie Chili

Makes 8 Servings

2 lbs. 96% lean beef stew meat

1 Tb. olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 medium bell peppers

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 7-ounce cans diced green chiles, hot or mild

2 Tb. chili powder

1 Tb. ground cumin

2 tsp. oregano (Mexican oregano if you can find it)

Salt (I like Morton Lite Salt) and freshly ground pepper to taste

Beans – optional 1/2 cup per serving, I prefer kidney beans

Heat a large, heavy stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat (I use Le Creuset). Season the beef with salt (or salt substitute) and pepper.  Add the olive oil to the hot pan and swirl to ensure the surface is coated.  Add the cubes of beef in a single layer, you may need to cook it in more than one batch.  Cook the meat until well browned on all sides, turning as needed.

chili 1

The browned beef being sauteed with the onions and peppers.

When all the beef has been browned add the onions and bell peppers to the pan and saute until the veggies are starting to soften and the moisture has deglazed the brown bits from the bottom of the pan (this is pure flavor!), about 7 to 10 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano to the pot and stir well to make sure everything is coated.  Cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the spices and saute again briefly, this really helps to "bloom" the flavor in dry herbs and spices.

Add the spices and saute again briefly.  This really helps to “bloom” the flavor in dry herbs and spices.

Add the crushed and diced tomatoes and the green chiles to the pot.  I rinse the cans in a little water to ensure I get all the tomato out, and then add that tomato water to the pot.  I’d say it’s about 1 cup of water added.  Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, cover the pot and let cook until the meat is very tender, about 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.



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