Big, meaty entrées are the first thing I think of when I think of the Paleo diet. Think steak topped with bacon topped with steak, all fried in lard. The cowboy chili in Michelle Tam's new cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo, fits right in with those expectations, but it also wouldn't be out of place in any other omnivorous American cookbook. Her chili is made primarily with chuck roast, which gets seared in (you guessed it) bacon fat and then simmered in bone broth with an ancho chile-based spice blend. Unsweetened chocolate gives the chili a bit of bitter depth, and smoked paprika adds a whiff of campfire.
Why I picked this recipe: Looking for a way to use my long simmered bone broth, I figured a meat-filled chili was the best choice.
What worked: This chili was super easy to put together, and the oven's gentle heat turned the chuck roast spoon-tender.
What didn't: I wouldn't skip the toppings on this chili. Not only do they add a needed burst of color, but they also provide textural contrast to the tender long-stewed beef and a bite a of freshness.
Suggested tweaks: While the chuck roast works fairly well here, I prefer to use fattier boneless short ribs in chili (especially if using leaner grass-fed beef).
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.