Thursday, February 11, 2010

Grass-Fed Beef Chili

One of the benefits of going to the farmers' market is being able to purchase locally raised meats. Not only do you support your local farmers, you also know how the meat was raised. I haven't seen Food Inc. yet, but a friend recently did and gave me his take on how he is changing his meat consumption patterns as a result. In addition to reducing the amount of red meat in his diet, he decided to stop eating beef unless it is grass-fed and hopes that everyone else follows suit (in time). The challenge in doing that is the availability of products to meet the demand. Hopefully we'll move toward a change in the beef industry to increase the supply and availability.

Have you seen Food Inc.? Have you changed your eating habits as a result of the movie or to be more environmentally concious? I'd love to hear about it - please leave a comment!

During our last trip to the market, we picked up some grass-fed ground beef from Springdell Farms. Visit their website to read about how they treat their Black Angus cattle. It comes through in the texture and taste of the meat. A good tip that they gave us for cooking was to make sure not to overcook the beef. The beef we bought that day was extra lean (and grass-fed beef can be overcooked easily).

Veggie chili is a frequent menu item at our house. With the meat in the fridge, I decided to make a beef chili for a hearty meal for the New England February climate. We had this for Super Bowl Sunday topped with guacamole and fresh grated Colby-jack cheese. I chopped up the usual suspects - jalapeno, red bell pepper, and yellow onion and then got to work!

For the liquid, I used some leftover chunky veggie tomato sauce we had in the refrigerator. I also used the spices in my spice rack - dried cilantro, ground cumin, and chili powder. You can use any color beans you have in the pantry and throw in any other veggies you might have on hand. It's a great meal to use up any ingredients leftover from other meals.

Instead of the quick 20-minute chili that I usually make, this is a slow-cooking chili that simmered for 2-3 hours before the big game. The addition of cornmeal creates a rich (a little 'creamy'), flavorful, and satisfying result! The leftovers made tasty lunches throughout the next week.

Game Day Grass-Fed Beef Chili
Makes about 6 servings
1 pound ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1-2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can pinto beans, drained
1/2 a jar tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon dried cilantro
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons cornmeal
Olive oil
Shredded Colby-jack cheese and guacamole to top it off

Heat a medium stock-pot over medium-high heat (a 6 on my range)
Add a small amount of oil to the pan
Add beef, garlic, onions, jalapeno, and pepper and cook until just browned, stirring the beef and breaking it up as it cooks
Drain and excess fat from the pan and return to the heat
Add in beans, sauce, spices, and salt and pepper, stir
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 2+ hours, stirring occasionally
Top with cheese and guacamole and serve with cornbread or tortilla chips

Haiku from the Hubby:
Grass fed and so lean
Chili with spice and on top
Mmmmm Guacamole


  1. Looks great! I will have to try this, since you know I am a chili freak! I still have to give you my Chocolate Beer Chili recipe too!

    I haven't watched Food, Inc. yet. I am scared to. Just hearing about it though, I have cut down on red meat, and always chose local and grass fed when possible. I don't know when I will actually find the courage to watch it though....I'm a wimp....

  2. I taken to using a little beef and alot of beans in my chili.

  3. Interesting article in the NY Times talking about the viability of the eat local trend:

  4. I taken to using a little beef and alot of beans in my chili.


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