13 Weeks: Flooding the Zone


I have a confession to make. I’m not proud of it, but I felt like you should know.

I put beans in a pot of chili yesterday.

Here’s my chili recipe, which is the one and only true authentic chili recipe (just like everyone else’s).

Chili Colorado

  • 2 lbs meat (stew beef, ground beef, beef, elk, moose, elk, venison, bear, elk, jackrabbit, or even God help us lamb or mutton. Jackalope is excellent, but be careful, those things are vicious. Save pork, javelina, and your obnoxious neighbor kid for green chili.)
  • 2 chopped onions. Big ones, why mess with a medium onion?
  • How much garlic you got? Throw it in, smashed or chopped. 6-7 cloves at least.
  • 1 Tsp lard

Now, there’s a place where I go slightly astray because I can’t find good lard. Real lard is quite soft; most store lard is somewhat hydrogenated, which makes it more solid and stable, but hydrogenated fats include a lot of trans-fats, which seem to be associated with health problems. I’m not ambitious enough to buy and render pork scraps, and I don’t know of anywhere to get leaf lard, so I use olive oil or canola oil.

Soften the onions and garlic in the lard in a heavy pot or a dutch oven. Add the meat, and let it brown a bit. If you let the onions brown, it adds some interesting flavors but it gets too sweet for my taste. Now add:

  • One package Fernandez Brothers Prepared Chili Powder.

Yes, I could make my own, but why? Fernandez Brothers’, from my home town of Alamosa Colorado, is the Platonic Ideal of all chili powders. They’ll mail order. (719) 589-6043. They’ve got pretty much anything else you need to cook Mexican food too.

  • 1 Tsp (heavy) Mexican Oregano

Stir them up, coating everything with the Red Food Of The Gods. Add:

  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste

and lots of water. Doesn’t hurt to put a bottle of beer in the chili as well. Or in the cook.

Stir until reasonably smooth and well-blended, and then simmer low until everything is nicely combined and the meat is tender — anything from a half hour for ground beef to 3 days for the jackalope. Stir it fairly often if on the stove, as it gets thick and can tend to stick. Or put it in the oven at 225°F for a couple hours.


Now why, you might ask, is this in a diet column?

Simple. The overall glycemic load of this stuff is basically zero. Nada. This makes 8 or 10 cups, depending on how thick you want it. Total glycemic load of the tomato paste and the onions is 28 — so the load for a serving is between 2 and 4.

But notice the recipe doesn’t say anything about beans. There are many opinions about this question, but all of them that say beans are a normal ingredient in proper chili are wrong. But I had a can of pinto beans in the pantry, I only had one pound of hamburger, and as you may have heard, it’s raining a bit in Boulder and I didn’t want to go out. So I made the chili the usual way, but — sigh — added the beans. Thank God my mother wasn’t here to see it.

And, yeah, it’s pretty good. Face it, styrofoam packing peanuts would be good covered in this stuff. More importantly for our purposes, the glycemic load of this is still pretty minuscule — the beans add another 28 for the whole pot, about 40g effective carbs, so the total for one serving is a glycemic load of less than 8. Good for dinner as it is (although I miss adding oyster crackers). I like to top it with more chopped raw onion, and yes I do live alone, why do you ask? Good for breakfast with fried or poached or scrambled eggs. Put it on top of another cup of refried beans along with the eggs and you have huevos rancheros.

Not bad for diet food.