Grass-Fed Beef Chili

by lydia on January 3, 2011

Chili is a staple food in our home during the colder months of the year. October starts off the chili-making season for us and it’s usually quite a welcome one.

With four growing hungry boys to feed, I am happy to have a one pot wonder dish in my arsenal that we never seem to tire of. My grass-fed beef chili recipe also sneakily includes nutrient-dense liver of which the intense flavor is easily masked by the robust spices of chili and cumin. Any momma would be happy to serve this healthful and simple beef chili to her own clan of young’uns.

Years ago, I used to cook meals and deliver them. This chili was one of my staple recipes. The only difference is the addition of liver. I do not add beans to this chili and I much prefer it that way. I’ve served it countless times and only a few people have complained that there were no beans. Seems wrong to complain at all really when you are get fed such healthy delicious food…..but, I digress.

I’ve tried to find the history behind chili to see if beans were an original component and it does not seem to be clear. It seems as though chili made by the American frontier settlers consisted of dried beef, suet, dried chili peppers and salt, then pounded together formed into bricks and left to dry. Then when they were on the trail they could place the bricks in a pot add water and presto -chili. Or perhaps chili con carne. Regardless of whether you prefer beans in your chili or not, I do believe you will enjoy this chili recipe.


Grass-Fed Beef Chili
Recipe type: Soup
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ¼ lb liver cubes (about 5 - 4 ounces)
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 - 28 oz. can organic whole tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1 quart of vegetable juice ( I use Knudsen's Organic Very Veggie Juice), OR Beef stock
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Fish Sauce (several dashes up to an ⅛ cup)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of chili powder (to taste)
  • 2-3 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • Cayenne or chipotle to taste
  • Splash of red wine if you have it on hand
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce to taste (optional)
  1. In a large pot, melt a few tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, mushrooms and peppers and saute for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the beef and cook until there is no more pink.
  4. Add the garlic and spices.
  5. Toss in the tomatoes, add the vegetable juice (or beef stock), lemon juice, fish sauce and red wine if using.
  6. Bring chili to a simmer and let bubble slowly for 30 minutes to an hour.
  7. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and cultured cream.





I sneak about 5 of my liver cubes in per batch of this chili, which equals about 4 ounces. I find that is the most liver I can add in without it being detectable taste or texture wise. Of course everyone’s ice cube trays will vary in quantity, this is just an overall estimate.  It’s best to thaw the cubes fully and add in to the end of the cooking time, stirring in well. If you are not used to the taste of liver, try adding 3-4 cubes instead. My kids never know it’s in there. Though they have now caught on that I sneak liver and other odd bits into their food here and there. They often forget and only remember how hungry they are! Here is my recipe for liver cubes!

Want more soup recipes? Winter Soups, a downloadable recipe eBook, is a collection of 52 nourishing soups from your favorite real food bloggers. Click on the banner below to learn more about ‘Winter Soups‘.





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Musings of a Housewife January 5, 2011 at 7:14 am

Oooh I need to sneak some liver in mine. You said pureed, but my liver is frozen in HUGE chunks. Is it okay to re-freeze it b/c I’ll never use it all at once. Also, how do you puree it? I bought a meat grinder for my kitchen aid, and I was disappointed with how it worked. Would a food processor work better?

lydia January 5, 2011 at 9:48 am

I pureed my liver in the food processor. Mine was frozen in a big chunk too and I semi thawed it out, cut it into quarters with poultry shears and then put the remaining quarters back in the freezer, so now I will just pull out one at time for various recipes, which I puree it up for as well. 😉

Karen January 5, 2011 at 9:02 am

Do you put any beans in your chili? I read the recipe twice and did not find any beans mentioned.

lydia January 5, 2011 at 9:46 am

Hi Karen ~ no I do not add beans to my chili. I find they are super hard to digest even when they are properly soaked and prepared.

Rebecca November 8, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Soo, perfect timing. I just bought my first ever organic free range beef liver ever today and some more chili powder with the intent making chili in a couple days. I think the liver even comes ground. . .

Debra E December 9, 2013 at 10:27 am

If my family has never eaten liver, would we be able to taste it in this recipe or would it’s flavor be hidden?

lydia December 9, 2013 at 11:03 am

Read the notes I added to the post Debra – my family has NEVER noticed, even since the very first time! 😉

Debra E December 9, 2013 at 11:12 am

So sorry! Somehow I totally missed your notes! Thanks!

Tina February 15, 2014 at 8:55 am

Lydia…thanks for all of your wonderful recipes! This may seem like a silly question, but does this recipe include a chili seasoning blend or is this just plain red chili pepper powder that you use? I feel like theses terms are used interchangeably sometimes, so I wasn’t sure. Thanks.

lydia February 15, 2014 at 8:57 am

Tina, I use a chili powder (which is more of a blend really), not just plain red chili pepper powder. I’m sure you could use that if it’s all you have on hand, but it might be a bit more spicy!

Tina February 15, 2014 at 9:22 am

Thanks…I actually never know what people mean when they say ‘chili powder,’ as my husband is from India so chili powder is a totally different thing!

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