Rich, hearty and delicious, this Whole30 Chili Con Carne is loaded with beefy flavour and packs a serious punch. Serve it with your favourite toppings and a side of cauliflower rice to keep it Whole30. It’s also great with some grain-free tortilla chips for life after Whole30!
How to Make Whole30 Chili Con Carne
Cooking chili is not very different from any other braise. For maximum flavour, brown the meat first, then sauté the aromatics before adding dried spices. Return the browned beef and top everything off with a braising liquid of choice. In the case of this Whole30 Chili Con Carne, I like to use a rich, earthy, spicy blend of dried, whole, Mexican chilis and beef broth, as well as whole canned tomatoes.
What You Need for Whole30 Chili Con Carne
- Beef: I like the richness and heartiness of using beef chuck or bottom blade roast. Both are ideal because of their high fat content and beefy flavour. they get very tender without tasting dry.
- Dried and Whole Mexican Chilis: You just can’t beat the flavour profile of dried, whole Mexican chilis. They aren’t crazy spicy like some varieties of fresh chili peppers and instead deliver an earthiness and warmth you feel deep in your soul. Try purchasing from your local Latino market first. If you don’t have one near you, try finding them online.
- Beef Broth: For maximum beefy flavour, I like to use a beef broth. Homemade is best but if you have to purchase one, Kettle & Fire are fantastic.
- Aromatics: We keep things very simple here with a combination of yellow onion, green bell pepper and garlic. For extra spice, feel free to add jalapeño or serrano peppers.
- Spices: As with the aromatics, I prefer to keep things minimal here with some smoked paprika, cumin, chile powder, granulated onion and granulated garlic.
- Canned Tomatoes: I know that many people like to use fire-roasted tomatoes in their chili con carne. Personally, I tend to prefer the flavour of Italian San Marzano tomatoes. They’re sweeter and have less seeds, which make them a great choice for your chili.
Short On Time? Use Ground Beef
You can effectively cut the cooking time of this Whole30 Chili Con Carne in half by using ground beef instead of whole pieces of chuck. Keep all the ingredients and measurements the same.
Does Chili Have Beans?
My unofficial and unsolicited stance on the age-old debate is that if you want beans in your chili, go for it. If you don’t want beans in your chili, don’t add beans. Or at least, don’t tell a Texan.
Certainly, if you want your chili to be Whole30 and Paleo-friendly, beans are off limits. You’ll also have to skip the grain-free tortilla chips shown in the photos since those are off limits too. However, it might be something you want to add in your search of Food Freedom.
This recipe is inspired by classic, Texas-style, Red Chili Con Carne, which does not call for beans. I really love it and even though it’s quite minimal, it’s remarkably filling and satisfying.
Whole30 Chili Con Carne – Paleo
- 2 dried ancho chilis
- 2 dried guajillo chilis
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 pounds beef chuck or bottom blade roast cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- Kosher salt
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 28 ounces canned whole tomatoes San Marzano or fire-roasted
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
- For serving diced avocado, diced white onion, lime wedges
- Add the ancho and guajillo peppers to a dry sauce pan and toast, turning often, until softened and glistening, around 4 minutes. Discard the stems and seeds and return the chilis to the pan with the beef broth. Set over high heat, bring to a boil, cover with a lid, remove from heat and let steep ten minutes. Transfer the chiles and broth to a blender and blend on high speed until completely smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the avocado oil and heat until shimmering. Add the beef and cook until browned all over, around 12 minutes. Transfer the beef to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the onions and green pepper and season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring and scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pot until the vegetables are slightly soft, around 4 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves, cumin, granulated onion, granulated garlic, paprika and chile powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the chile mixture and canned tomatoes. Break apart the tomatoes with the back of a spoon and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is completely fork-tender, around 1.5 hours. For a thicker sauce, remove the lid and continue to simmer for another 20 to 25 minutes or until it has reduced to your desired consistency.
- Transfer the chili to serving bowls and serve with avocado, onion and lime wedges.