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I love chili, but I was having a hard time finding a recipe that had all the things I liked about chili, and none of the things I didn't like. So I made up my own, and it turned out pretty great.


I did not actually measure anything while I made it, so all the spices and such in this recipe are just estimates, feel free to adjust them to taste. Also, this makes a LOT, so cut the recipe in half if you don't want to have to freeze leftovers.


2 lbs. ground beef or 1 lb. ground beef and 1 lb. diced steak for some more texture (preferably grass-fed)

3 large cans crushed tomatoes (I used Muir Glen roasted crushed tomatoes, also feel free to sub one of the cans for diced tomatoes if you like chunks)

1 medium yellow onion

2-4 cloves garlic

6 ounces bacon (just use your fat of choice if you can't find compliant bacon, about 2-3 tbs. of fat)

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed

2-3 dried ancho chilies

2 dried guajillo chilies

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce plus 1 tbs. of the adobo sauce (It's really hard to find this without sugar added, so leave it out if you are on your W30 unless you manage to find a compliant version) EDIT: I discovered dried chipotle powder at the health food store. If you can't find compliant canned chipotle chilies, you can add 1/2-1 tsp. dried powder to at least get some of the smokiness and heat from it.

4 tbs. ground chili powder

2 tbs. ground cumin

2 tbs. ground coriander

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. cocoa powder

Salt and pepper to taste

diced avocado

sour cream (not w30)

grated cheese (not w30)


Chop your bacon into small pieces and put it in a cold 6 quart pot. Turn the heat onto medium-low and render out the fat in the bacon. Scoop out the bacon once crisp and drain on a paper towel. The bacon can be used for another recipe, or sprinkled ontop of the chilie as a garnish at the end.


Add the ground beef and steak cubes if using and brown in the bacon fat. Dice your onion and mince the garlic and add to the beef. Add a bit of salt and pepper. While the beef browns and the onions get translucent, bring about a cup or two of water to a boil in another pot or in the microwave. Add the dried ancho and guajillo chilies to the hot water and let them steep to soften up.


Add the dried ground spices to the beef and onion to "wake up" and get aromatic. Then add the three cans of tomatoes. Stir to mix everything together. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer with the lid on. 


Once the dried chilies are softened up in the hot water, remove the seeds and stems and add to a blender. Add the chipotle chilie and about 1 tbs. adobo sauce and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Add some of the liquid the chilies soaked in if you need more moisture to blend. Pour the chilie mixture into the tomato and meat mixture and stir to combine. Let simmer for 2-3 hours.


About an hour before the chili is finished, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with your fat of choice and a little salt and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until tender and getting a little golden brown. Add the squash cubes to the chilie and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Salt the chilie to taste. Serve with some diced avocado, black olives, cheddar cheese, and sour cream on top.

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