Heart Healthy Chili

by lydia on March 24, 2012

Heart health is almost an everyday term anymore. You hear it in the news, you see it labeled on ‘processed foods’ and you even hear it on commercials on TV. It’s obvious now that we have a heart epidemic on our hands, with heart disease still being one of the top issues that plague our society. The problem of course is, we are blaming all the wrong things. This is not a post to go into all of that, so suppose I should save that talk for a rainy day. Suffice it to say, this post is about chili that is indeed healthy for your heart, so I’ve named my heart healthy chili. Why? Because number one, it is made from real foods prepared properly, and two, it includes an actual heart. Beef heart. And eating the heart, believe it or not, is healthy for your heart. Beef heart is loaded with nutrition, but one thing in particular it contains is high levels of Co-Enzyme Q10, a nutrient specifically known for heart health. Wow, how about that! Now you may be thinking that the idea of eating heart is rather vile or even too tribalistic or something, but really, it’s not. To be honest, it’s all in your head. Really, it is! If I can renew my mind and believe the facts about how healthy consuming heart is for me, and actually cut one up and cook it in my food, you can too! I promise! (and truth be told, it tastes WAY better than liver!)


Heart Healthy Chili
Recipe type: Main Dish, Soup/Stew
  • 2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 beef heart (approximately 2 lbs)
  • 4-8 cups of cooked white beans
  • 4 1bs fresh diced tomatoes, and their juice OR 3 -28 ounce cans organic diced tomatoes
  • 4 onions, diced
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • ⅛ cup taco seasoning, plus 2 Tbsp. cumin (optional: I just love cumin!)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can organic tomato paste
  • Homemade Beef Stock 1-2 quarts
  • 1 gluten-free beer (optional)
  • Lard or tallow
  • Parsley, scallions or chives for garnish
  1. In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt a large dollop of lard or tallow.
  2. Saute the onions - 10 minutes or so.
  3. While onions are cooking, go ahead and cut up the heart. Removing any valves or excess fat around the edges. Cut it into chunks and place them into a food processor and pulse many times until all large chunks are gone and it's a little bit like ground beef consistency only slightly bigger.
  4. Add the meat to the onions, stir well and brown.
  5. Add the spices, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Stirring well to combine.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients.
  7. Add whatever amount of liquid you prefer. I like my chili pretty thick, so just add the stock until you think it's acceptable, remembering some of it will cook off and the chili will thicken up a bit.
  8. Bring to a simmer, cover and lower heat.
  9. You can leave this to simmer all day if you like or just a minimum of 20-30 minutes.
  10. Serve with grass-fed shredded cheddar, sour cream and chopped scallions, chives or parsley.

Here is how I make my beans. I use white beans because they are acceptable on GAPS, which means they are more digestible and more tolerable to those with any kind of leaky gut. I can’t tolerate most beans, even if they are properly soaked and prepared. However, white beans and I do get along. Feel free to substitute any beans you like and can tolerate, just please be sure to long soak them first.

Here is my taco seasoning recipe. Also, Trader Joe’s has Taco Seasoning packets that are very affordable, they are not organic, but handy in a pinch. Frontier carries both regular taco seasoning, found here and organic taco seasoning found here. I recommend buying in bulk, as trying to always buy some seasonings not in bulk really adds up. Especially with taco seasoning, I personally use it all the time in several of my recipes. It adds up quick when making your own and gathering the components, so buying it pre-made in bulk can be a time and money saver worth checking out!


Notice the recipe calls for a lot of meat. When I make chili I always make a huge batch. I’ve got lots of mouths to feed, and I love to cook something once that will feed us again and again. If this recipe seems to be too much for you then go ahead and half it. I also made so much to be able to use one entire heart in the recipe. I like to use my Le Creuset oval 9 1/2 quart dutch oven to make big batches of soups and stews. (I just love big pots and bowls!) Even though these are rather pricey, they are so worth it! Just like my Vitamix blender is. Sometimes, it really is important to splurge and have that all important piece of kitchen equipment. If you have a big family like I do, and are always feeding extra people besides, you deserve to have a few good pots like this! I love mine!

This post contributed to Monday Mania.

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Suzanne March 25, 2012 at 6:46 am

The chili sounds great. I also add a little cocoa and cinnamon to my chili to give it a mole kind of taste.

I just added lamb heart to my hamburger meat. The beef heart was way too big since I was using only a pound of beef. Next time I’ll drag out my food processor to chop the heart a little finer since it was a bit chewy but tasty.

Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife} March 25, 2012 at 7:30 am

I have a beef heart in my freezer, and I really should use it. I’m considering this! We love chili.

Ursula March 25, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Ok…so I have a question….are white beans any white beans….or is that a name of a bean I’ve never heard of? IE: are we talking cannallini and butter beans here?

lydia March 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Navy beans Urs!

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