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Chili is one of the rewards of the days getting shorter and cooler. We realize that by posting this recipe we are placing ourselves firmly in the beans camp of the Great Chili Debate, but healthy wins. Those red kidney beans are really good for you - packed with fiber, starch, antioxidants and polyphenols. They also contain iron, manganese, folate, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. So a little respect for this humble “common bean.” And you don’t have to bother with soaking dried beans because the canned version is almost nutritionally equal to home-prepared beans, although higher in sodium. You can reduce the sodium content by draining and rinsing the canned beans.
Perhaps recognizing the staying power of beans in chili and in an effort to bring people together, in 2012 the International Chili Society allowed beans to be an ingredient for chili in the annual World Championship Chili Cook-Off. You can use that as a shield with your “no beans” friends.
For maximum nutrition, we added a new twist to our chili - cauliflower rice. It is a simple and fast way to add more vegetables to your meals and to replace high carb rice and potatoes. If the kids don’t like cauliflower, however, it may be a hard sell.
Double or triple the recipe to suit your needs.
Beef Chili with Cauliflower Rice
1. Take a large frying pan/wok and gently fry the chopped onion until soft (about 8-10 minutes over a medium heat). Add tomato puree and chopped garlic, mix through and cook for a few minutes. Remove from pan and place to the side until needed.
2. Turn up the heat a little to medium-to-high and brown the beef mince. Reduce the heat to medium, add the spices, onion, garlic and tomato mix and stir well. Add kidney beans and cover all ingredients with water. Crumble in a stock cube. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let it cook for at least 20-30 minutes to allow all flavors to combine. The longer it cooks, the better.
Cauliflower RIce Ingredients
1 tbsp coconut OR olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preparation: Simply coarsely grate a head of cauliflower (leaves and stem removed) by hand or in a food processor into rice-size pieces, add to frying pan with olive oil OR coconut oil and a couple of tablespoons of water and steam for 4-7 minutes. Strain and add S+P.
To serve, spoon the cauliflower rice into individual bowls and top with chili and extras as desired.
lime or lemon wedges
fresh coriander leaves
Tip: National Geographic has a fascinating article on the controversial and rich history of chili which you can find here. It includes one of the oldest recipes printed for chili in the 1896 Manual for Army Cooks which sounds bad, but not the worst by far.
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