I always wanted to enter a food contest of some sort but never had the courage to do it. Last year, my friend Bess suggested we enter the chili cook-off at work to benefit the American Heart Association. We decided to go with a pink heart theme and do something a little different to stand out…add strawberries to the chili. I’m pretty sure right now I either have your attention or you are completely grossed out. Or maybe both. I had made a few recipes using strawberries in leu of tomatoes for my super awesome Uncle Jim who was having to sub them out since tomatoes are too high in potassium for him. Even with that experience, I wasn’t 100 percent sure this would work. Fortunately, I surprised myself. And everyone else. We won that day by a landslide.
Let’s pause for a moment while I shamelessly post my winning award :)
This chili is unique because it has a sweet smoky flavor, and shockingly, you would never be able to tell it contains strawberries. I wanted the judges to get a full experience, so I paired the sweet flavor of the chili over a savory cheddar cornbread, topped with sour cream. OHMYGOSH! That was it. A chili full of clean, nutritional ingredients that is simply unforgettable.
PRODUCE: NUTRITIONAL HIGHLIGHT – FEBRUARY
Strawberries are just starting to come into season where I live in Florida. Each time I get a new batch, I find myself telling Kevin, “Isn’t this the most beautiful batch of strawberries you have ever seen!” He humors me each time and agrees. This is the perfect time of year for large beautiful bright red strawberries full of nutrients and flavor. Fortunately, we will have them at their peak all through the spring too! Strawberries provide more vitamin C than some citrus fruit as well as several phytonutrients. They are actually ranked as one of the top 50 best antioxidant sources and are recommended in a daily meal plan by many nutritionists. Other studies have shown that strawberries can actually help keep blood sugar from spiking when eaten with table sugar. I’ve always known that food can act like a medicine in the body, but that is super cool! Strawberries do retain most of their nutrients when eaten raw, however nutrients are still available if cooked, just decreased. They are an item on the dirty dozen, so make sure to buy a fresh organic variety. For more about strawberries and their benefits, click here.
Award Winning Sweetheart Chili
- 2 pints strawberries green tops removed
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 onions diced
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 2 lbs. organic grass fed ground beef
- 1 -14 oz package Alfresco sweet apple chicken sausage casing removed
- 2 cups non gmo frozen corn
- 3 cans organic cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 3 cans organic red beans drained and rinsed
- 1 can organic black beans drained and rinsed
- 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce canned, minced (less for a milder chili)
- 1 organic cup coffee
- 1 - 12 oz bottle Left Hand Milk Stout or other dark stout
- 2 cups organic beef stock
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- ¾ cup raw sugar
- 4 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp chipotle pepper powder
- 1 tbsp cacoa powder or cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
Puree strawberries in a food processor for one minute. Make sure there are no lumps left and it is completely liquid.
Heat oil in large stockpot. Saute onions and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Remove from pan and set aside. Brown beef and chicken sausage, breaking up into very small pieces. When browned, drain fat from meat. Place meat back in pan and slowly add all remaining ingredients and spices (including onion mixture and strawberry puree) to the meat. Bring to a boil, then decrease heat. Simmer for 2 hours. Alternatively, you can saute onion, brown the meat, add to slow cooker with remaining ingredients and cook on low for 4 hours.
Best if made the day before and reheated as flavors can develop longer. Serve on top of cheddar cornbread with a dollop of sour cream or whole milk greek yogurt.
*This makes a large amount of chili, so recipe can be halved or freeze leftovers.