Upon his physician’s advice, my husband recently decided to go on the Keto diet for the next two months. Given the intrinsic role food plays in our lifestyle, I couldn’t let him do it alone. So I’ve joined him on this a high-fat, moderate-protein, no carb or sugar venture.
I have to admit that it’s not as bad as I expected. Once taboo, red meat has now found its way back to our table; butter, cream, and fatty cheese are welcome as well. Even bacon makes an occasional guest appearance at breakfast. For an Italian, however, abandoning carbs, not to mention wine, has presented the greatest challenge: no bread, no rice, no polenta, no pasta! Even Dante’s Third Circle of Hell, the gluttons’ realm, with all its dirty rain and mire, doesn’t appear a worse fate. Yet its residents torture is eternal, while ours should only last another six or seven weeks.
Along this dietary journey, however, there have been a few respites from the suffering: shrimp scampi prepared with eight tablespoons of butter, sheet-pan chicken with crushed green olives oozing with extra virgin olive oil, and most recently, last night’s Keto chili.
The recipe comes from Suzanne Ryan’s cookbook Simply Keto. Although the recipe’s title “Keto Chili” might lack allure, it belies the extremely delicious bowl of chili that it yields. I’m not sure if the success of this dish is attributable to the use of both chopped beef and bulk sausage or to its call for eight hours of slow cooking it, but this had to be one of the best bowls of chili either one of us has ever had.
The meaty blend of equal parts beef and sausage is permeated with flavor from the spices, onions, garlic, and tomatoes from the slow cooking, which also gives the chili a distinctive chunky yet silky texture, enhance even more by the diced tomatoes. Using sausage adds more than adequate seasoning and the flavors linger on the palate.
I adapted the recipe to our tastes buy doubling the amount of chili powder, adding a little more cumin, and even some cayenne pepper. My only other digression from the original was using a 28-ounce can of tomatoes. Although this was attributable to misreading the recipe, I’ll be sure to repeat the mistake, the next time I prepare it.
Keto Beef & Sausage Chili (adapted from Simply Keto by Suzanne Ryan)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound 80/20 ground beef
1 pound mild pork sausage
1 green bell pepper, diced
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (with juices)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 ¾ teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅓ cup water
1. In a large pot, over medium high, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the the ground beef and sausage and brown using a wooden spoon to break up the clumps. About 5 minutes.
2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned meat to the slow cooker and reserve half of the drippings.
3. Add the reserved drippings, bell pepper, onion, garlic, tomatoes with juices, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and water to the meat and mix well.
4. Place the lid on the slow-cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
5. Serve in warmed bowls, topped with shredded cheese, green onions, sour cream, and/or sliced jalapenos.
Wine Pairing: Zinfandel (Keto Alternative: Water)