This is, hands-down, the BEST chili I’ve ever had, and the Instant Pot means I can make it during the week because it’s super quick. At 7 g Net Carbs, it’s an ideal, filling and satisfying meal for a low carb lifestyle.
I ran across an Instant Pot chili recipe on pressurecookrecipes.com, and the first time I made it with beans. The outcome was phenomenal—love at first bite! It was so delicious, I wanted to adapt it to a low carb dish so that we could have it more often. I could have used ground beef and left it at that, but I was craving something with more than one texture like you have with a bean-based chili con carne. Ground beef alone sounded kind of boring. This recipe is perfect for using up leftover meat. I used leftover turkey from Thanksgiving in this particular batch. With that said, almost any type of leftover meat works well in this recipe. Jim and I have made this Instant Pot chili now with leftover pork chops, roast beef, chicken, and, now, turkey. All versions were fabulous, and I’ve made a few tweaks along the way to the seasoning and umami broth.
Let’s talk for a minute about the broth. It’s pretty unique, isn’t it? I can’t say I’ve made a chili with soy sauce or Thai fish sauce before, but I can’t imagine making chili without it now. If you are a picky eater, or unaccustomed to Thai fish sauce, you’ve been missing out. Rest assured, adding two tablespoons of fish sauce won’t make this chili fishy. We use Thai fish sauce quite a lot in dishes like curries, soups, stir-fry, and marinades for chicken and beef, etc., because it gives a fantastic depth of flavor to a recipe. It’s a staple ingredient used in Southeast Asia, and it’s a staple ingredient in our house. Think of it like Worchestershire sauce – a dash here or there to add depth to an otherwise one-dimensional dish. Thai fish sauce can be found in the Asian aisle in most grocery stores. If you can’t find it, there are many brands and sizes available on Amazon.
If you haven’t had chocolate in your chili before, you might think it sounds odd. Chances are you have had it and just didn’t realize it. Many chili recipes call for chocolate, and it’s no doubt many restaurants use it in their recipes because it gives a richness that can’t be beaten. Now…we aren’t talking Hershey bar type chocolate here. We are talking unsweetened, superb quality, pure chocolate. Many recipes call for grated baker’s chocolate. In the case of this recipe, I’m using a powdered, unsweetened, 100% baking cocoa. I am using Ghirardelli brand. It’s easy to find and available in most of the grocery stores.
Just before serving, the recipe calls for adding brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. I chose to use Sukrin Gold Brown Sugar Alternative to control the carbs in the recipe. Give it a try if you’ve been looking for a substitute for brown sugar. Unfortunately, it’s not cheap, but I don’t use it all that often so it lasts quite a while. Sukrin also makes two fiber syrups I’ve been dying to try.
This recipe seems a little complicated at first glance, but it’s not at all. It is a specific recipe though. The ingredients and techniques are what make this chili what it is. You’ll notice I’m very flexible with most recipes, encouraging readers to make adaptations and substitutions, so trust me when I urge you to follow the recipe, that I genuinely believe you will not get the best chili without the unique ingredients listed or the techniques used. It’s worth the little extra attention to have delicious meaty, low carb chili. Pay particular attention to browning your ground beef really well, allowing it to get crispy. Draining the juices into a bowl to add back in later will help significantly in getting a crispy mince. If you allow the ground meat to sit in the juices when you’re trying to brown, it ends up being more of a boil than a sear. Plus, you want to keep those juices to add back in for flavor, so don’t try to boil them off either. Enough talking about the recipe. I’m going to step down from my proverbial soapbox so that you can get on with making your chili. I hope you enjoy this meaty, low carb, two meat chili without beans!
Nutrition Notes: I did not include the Sukrin Gold in the nutritional information because it’s considered a sugar alcohol, which means it doesn’t impact the body or add to Net carbs. My recipe plugin doesn’t have an area to add sugar alcohols, so I didn’t include it. Sukrin Gold doesn’t add any calories, sugar or any other nutritional significance to this recipe. The nutrition details below are based on the recipe I made, which include 12 ounces of roasted turkey breast and 20 ounces of 96% lean ground beef. No toppings/garnish were included in the nutrition totals. If you’re following a high fat, low carb diet, you can use higher fat cuts of meat to meet those goals without impacting net carbs.
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- ½ Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 20 oz lean ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp chili powder (to taste)
- 1 Tbsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 12 oz turkey, pork, chicken, or beef, cooked and chopped into bite-size chunks (about 3 cups)
- Two 14.5-oz cans of diced tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1½ Tbsp Sukrin Gold Brown Sugar Alternative
- Mix the Umami broth: Combine and whisk the broth, fish sauce, soy sauce, tomato paste and cocoa powder in a small bowl or Pyrex measuring cup and set aside. Don’t leave out any of these ingredients – It’s this mixture that makes this chili so amazing! It will not taste like chocolate or fish at all. Promise!
- Brown the Meat: Heat your Instant Pot or pressure cooker with the olive oil using the Saute setting. Alternatively, you can use the stove and a good size skillet. Season ground beef generously with salt and pepper and then brown the ground beef very well. Divide the ground meat and brown in batches, if needed, to achieve the Maillard reaction. Drain and reserve the juices after about 5 minutes of cooking to get the meat thoroughly browned and crispy. Don’t skip this step as it is critical to the flavor. You need to brown it very well. Crispy ground beef is what you need here.
- Add Aromatics: Once all your ground meat is nicely browned, mix in the onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Saute, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.
- Deglaze the Pot: Pour in about ½ cup of the umami broth mixture and deglaze the entire bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Really get in there and use those muscles to get all those bits scraped off the bottom of the pot and mixed into the chili. Add more broth as needed to get the job done.
- Pressure Cook: Mix in those reserved meat juices. Add in the meat chunks, the rest of the umami broth and mix well. Pour the tomatoes on top and DO NOT mix in. Place the lid on and lock. Pressure cook on the manual setting for 10 minutes and allow it to release naturally.
- Finish Up: If the chili is too runny for you, reduce the liquid using the sauté setting for a few minutes. Mix in the Sukrin Gold and apple cider vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Eat: Serve with cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream, sliced jalapeños, lime wedges, green onions and/or chopped cilantro.
Recipe adapted from Amy and Jacky’s Instant Pot Chili Recipe