Cowboy Chili From Nom Nom Paleo and Cauli Mash
December 28, 2013
Happy almost 2014, friends! I hope your holidays were filled with an abundance of paleo treats and happy tummies (plus peace, joy, and all that jazz). Paleo baking is so much more fun when I get to bake for my family and friends, and doing so makes me slightly less likely to do something really wild like eat the entire batch of Against All Grain chocolate chip cookies. Uhh…not that that has ever happened. But after much raw honey and coconut galore (I mean seriously, imagine a paleo world without coconut oil, sugar, and flour…not pretty), I am surprised to say that I’m feeling a little sugar-ed out. I’ve always been pretty comfortable with the amount of sugar that I consume on paleo (primarily from fruits) and haven’t seen the point (for me personally) to do a 21 day sugar detox, but even sticking to paleo pretty strictly during the holidays has made me think I might need to try one. If you too are feeling in need of a sugar cleanse, I would recommend checking it out. I don’t own the cookbook, but the food people make from it looks seriously incredible.
My least favorite question EVER (no, seriously, only ask me this if you want a slap across the face) is when people think they are being soooo funny and say, “well, caveman didn’t make cookies or brownies” or “no way did cavemen eat that.” No sh*t, Sherlock…but as much as it pains me to say, there is a bit of truth to this seemingly irritating question. I think that the potential for abuse of these treats, which in my opinion are meant to be enjoyed on occasion (AKA not daily), is high among the paleo community. You’re not going to feel the full benefits of paleo (or lose any weight, if that’s your goal) if you are shoving brownies, cupcakes, and cookies in your face everyday, standing behind the excuse that “it’s paleo!” Paleo is pretty amazing, but it’s not a miracle diet. While paleo treats are free of refined sugar and traditional flours, the calorie-to-calorie comparison is pretty similar. Sugar is sugar (and raw honey is packed with it, unfortunately), and from personal hypoglycemia experience, if I was to eat a twinkie, my unpleasant blood sugar symptoms would be imitated in a pretty similar manner if I was to eat a paleo twinkie (do these even exist? Idk, but you get my idea). There are a plethora of blogs and websites devoted to paleo treats (cookies, cakes, donuts, you name it) and converting virtually any sinful snack to make it paleo. These are great, especially for times like Christmas or other holidays when we all deserve a little break. But lets not kid ourselves, they should not be a dietary staple, even if they are paleo. Ok, I’ll get off my sugar soapbox. I don’t mean to be a Debbie-downer (or should I say Little Debbie downer…LOL), so please by all means, enjoy a cookie here and there (I most certainly will continue to do so), just be realistic about your goals and realize that there is no such thing as a perfect cookie. Or brownie. Or Pie.
I just got the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook off of Amazon and I have to say, it just might be my new favorite. Michelle Tam is funny, quirky, and relatable, and her recipes are ridiculously reader-friendly (step-by-step pictures, why don’t all cookbooks have these?!). In addition to being a mom/paleo chef, she is a pharmacist with a biochemistry degree, which makes her even more awesome in my eyes knowing she has a similar science background as me. She is an awesome writer, bringing family life into each recipe, and her pictures are mouth-wateringly incredible. I am sold, and I think everyone should buy her book too. A great find for beginners to paleo, as well as for seasoned paleo chefs.
We had family in town last night so I decided to make the Southwest Cowboy Chili. Soo good…warm, chocolately, and spicy (even enough for this spice-loving Texan!), this was a hit among adults and kids alike. It turned out excellent: beef, bacon, and chocolate meant all the bases were covered. I also made cauliflower mash and 7/8 people that tried it for the first time thought it tasted like the real mashed potatoes they were used to. Pretty good feedback, if you ask me. Scroll down to my Sausage and Cauli Mash post for that recipe.
Southwest Cowboy Chili from Nom Nom Paleo (about 6 large servings, prep time: 45 minutes, cook time: 3 hours):
- 4 lbs beef chuck roast
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 slices uncured bacon
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp paprika
- 6 cups bone broth (I used chicken broth from the box)
- 1 ounce shaved unsweetened chocolate
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- juice of 1 lime
- pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 275 degrees and chop beef into 2 inch cubes, mix with salt. Cut bacon in ¼ inch pieces. In dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon to desired crispiness, set aside. Increase heat and cook beef (in bacon grease) for two minutes on each side until browned, set aside. Bring heat to medium, add onions and tomato paste, until onions are cooked through. Mix all the powdered spices, chocolate, and ½ cup of the broth until combined. Add this mixture and the garlic to onions and stir until combined. Add bacon, beef, lime juice, and the remaining broth. Increase heat, bring to boil, and cover with lid (leave it ajar). Put into oven for 2 1/2 hours. Garnish with radishes or cilantro, if you so please.