Grass-Fed Chili

By Elizabeth Winslow

“Change the station!” When my children are in the car, starving to death after school, the radio can be torture . . . “three all-beef patties sizzling on a fresh-baked, cheese and bacon-stuffed bun . . . ” Torture. Being stuck on I 35 at 3:00 in the afternoon in view of an 18 wheeler with 20 foot photos of chips and sodas on the side is my definition of hell. My children and I laugh about food advertisements and have lots of discussion about how insidious they are. They know they are being played, and it’s insulting. They also know how effective advertising is, and this gives rise to other concerns. Walking down the rows at Rain Lily one day, Tess asked, her brow furrowed in real concern, “Why aren’t there ads for real food, for fruit and vegetables, and meat from happy cows?” Good question. We talked about how expensive advertising is, how the companies are using advertising not just to tell people how great their food is, but to keep a giant system going. Small family farms don’t have that kind of money. We considered how much big ag and giant food corporations have to prove. “Look! We really are making food! It tastes just like real food anyway! It’s healthy! Because we said it is!” It takes a 10 year old to point out that the emperor isn’t really wearing any clothes. Real food requires no tricks, no subterfuge, it is healthy, and it tastes just like what it is.

Grass-Fed Chili

serves 8-10

2 pounds ground beef, bison, or lamb (or a combination)

1-2 lbs bushel vegetables like winter squash or sweet potatoes, winter greens, corn, or tomatoes

2 large yellow onions, diced

1 head garlic, peeled and minced

4 Tbs. ground cumin

4 Tbs. ground coriander

4 Tbs. paprika

3 Tbs. Mexican oregano

1/4 c. chile powder (pure ground chile peppers, not blended with garlic powder, etc)

3 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes or Boggy Creek’s Fire-Roasted Tomato Puree

4-6 c cooked red or black beans, drained

In a large stockpot, brown beef. Drain off excess fat and set aside. Sauté onions and garlic until softened. Return beef to pot and add spices. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes. If using canned tomatoes, drain and place in a large bowl. Crush tomatoes with your hands until they are a saucy consistency. Add hand-crushed tomatoes or Boggy Creek’s Fire-Roasted Tomato Puree, and any dense vegetables (like chopped winter squash) to pot and simmer 30 minutes. Add beans and continue simmering another 30 minutes. Add more delicate vegetables (like greens or corn kernels) about 15 minutes before it’s finished. Serve with cilantro, diced onion and sour cream if desired. Freezes great.

Posted in Main Dishes

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5 thoughts on “Grass-Fed Chili

  1. Dana Bundy on said:

    I read that to my kids on the way to church this morning. They liked it. It’s nice for them to they’re not the only kids who sees how ridiculous big Ag is.

    My friend has just had 70 baby goats born on her farm near us. Surely she’s swimming in good milk & cheese by now. Let me know when you’re in town and we’ll score some white gold.

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