As many of you probably know, I’ve been blogging about my journey with the Paleo diet (or some approximation of it) for about seven years now. But what most people don’t realize is that I posted recipes on this site well before I decided to change my dietary lifestyle, albeit to a much smaller audience. There are very few remnants of the old site today, but one of them is this chili recipe, published about a month before I changed my diet.

I think it’s about time I updated that recipe – the pictures make me cringe every time I see them. In truth, I have updated the recipe twice before; it was featured in both The Ancestral Table and Paleo Takeout. Today’s creation differs from those recipes because it’s more in line with traditional Texas chili; in other words, it focuses mainly on the flavor that comes from dried chilis.

Before we get started, a quick caveat to any Texans reading the recipe: yes, I used tomatoes (considered sacrilege in certain circles). I found that by grating a couple tomatoes and cooking them down a bit, it adds a fruity balance you can’t get from dried chiles alone. You’re just going to have to trust me on this.

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NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

Editor’s Note: this recipe is from before I switched to the Paleo Diet, but all you need to do to make this dish Paleo-friendly is omit the beans.

Ah, chili. One of the most hotly-debated dishes a person can serve in America, perhaps second only to BBQ ribs. And like many of my other recipes, I’m quick to concede that this recipe isn’t for everyone; this is a generally mild chili that goes well with chili dogs, chili burgers, or on top of a scoop of white rice.

For me, the most important aspect of chili is having it blend into one single element and texture – nothing bothers me more than a chili that just looks like a bunch of ingredients thrown together. Luckily, my handy Magic Bullet helps to puree most of the chunkier ingredients while still retaining its necessary taste. I also add a couple of seemingly odd ingredients, which play important roles: cocoa powder for richness and complexity, and mayonnaise for smoothness and just a touch of creaminess.

This dish takes a little over three hours to make: one hour to prep and soften the tomatoes and two hours to cook the chili itself.

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