Today’s post is a little off course from my current culinary focus of stocks and chowders, but a necessity. Jackson’s winter weather attack is in full force and I’m bundled in two layers of sweatpants, a purple winter hat, and fleece.  Making a no bean chili recipe is more about survival.  And besides, Chilis are under the soups (or stews….) category.

Chili is one of my favorite foods.  You can mix and match flavors including sweet, spicy (of course), and savory.  The right combination of meat makes for a hearty and rich stew.  If you’re feeling the need for a bit of extra fortification, a healthy pour of wine, whiskey, or beer really brings things up a notch.

One exception to this “throw in everything but the kitchen sink” technique? Beans.  Ask a chili expert from different parts of the country and you will get a strong answer one way or the other.  I usually make chili with about half the recommended beans, but this time I thought it was time to go all the way with no bean chili recipe.

Curious to understand why beans (such little things) had stirred such a controversy, I started my investigation into the history of chili especially a no bean chili recipe.

Texas, whose official dish is Chili con carne, seems to be leading the no beans crusade.  Enter any of the state’s hundreds of annual chili cook-off’s with even one bean and you certainly will be laughed out before a spoon hits the mouth of a judge. It was in San Antonio where many believe chili was born, so maybe they know a thing or two.

More interesting than my bean research was actually the dark history behind chili.  It seems that some, including a few Spanish Priest, thought chili to be “the soup of the devil.”  Oh and everyone has a different story about the creation of chili.  I found a nun, Sister Mary (who was also possessed), prison mates of a Texan jail, and a rancher (friends with Billy the Kid) to have all claimed ownership of the first every chili.

In true Texas style chili form, I made up a no bean chili recipe. This chili hit the spot!  It was delicious with sweet and smoky undertones from the chocolate and chipotle chilies.  And you won’t miss the beans at all.

It’s so tasty it was even featured on Tasty Kitchen!

No Bean Chili Recipe
Serves a lot (probably 6)

You will need:
~ 1 lb beef stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
~ 1 lb spicy sausage
~ 1 lb ground beef
~ 1 tablespoon olive oil
~ 2 onions, diced
~ 1 green pepper diced
~ 6 garlic cloves, minced
~ 1 tablespoon brown sugar
~ 3 chipotle chilies in adobe sauce, minced
~ 2 tbsp chili powder
~ 1 tsp oregano
~ ½ tsp coriander
~ ¼ tsp cumin
~ 12 oz dark (winter ale or stout) beer – we used a gluten free beer [sigh]
~ 1 24 oz can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes
~ 2 oz semi sweet chocolate
~ Salt and pepper to taste

Heat stew meat in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Once browned (about 3 minutes per side) remove from pan and set meat in slow cooker pot.

Turn the heat to medium. In the same sauté pan, brown sausage and beef, making sure to crumble.  Once done (about 10 minutes), remove meat (draining the grease) and put meat into slow cooker pot.

Add oil to the sauté pan and using a spatula scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Turn heat to medium-low and add brown sugar, onions, peppers, and garlic.  Sauté onion mixture for about 25 to 30 minutes until onions are clear.  Make sure to keep the heat low enough not to brown the onions.

While onion mixture is cooking add chili powder, oregano, coriander, and cumin to slow cooker pot and mix thoroughly.

When onion mixture is done, add chipotle chilies and stir in for about 30 seconds.  Add onion mixture to slow cooker pot.  Then add in the beer and tomatoes.  Stir and heat slow cooker over low heat.  Once the mixture has warmed (about 15 minutes) break up the chocolate into small pieces and add it to the chili.

Let no bean chili cook in slow cooker on low for 5 to 6 hours.  Season with salt and pepper and serve with cheddar, sour cream, green onions, or chives.  Enjoy this no bean chili recipe!