Simple Weekend Cooking 02: Slow-Carb Chili

by Elizabeth on January 7, 2012


If you haven’t heard of the whole Slow Carb thing (and, really, who could keep up with all the diet fads that fly around like a swamp’s full of gnats?), let me give it to you in a nutshell:

The term was introduced in Tim Ferris’s (of The Four Hour Work Week fame) book titled, oddly enough, The Four Hour Body.  This ginormous tome of a book chronicled Ferris’s foray into the realm of body design and covered a whole lot more than diet and such.  (We’re talking orgasms, here.  Very strange compendium of body information in this book.)

Orgasms aside, Ferris’s take on the whole eating thing is kind of bachelor-paddish — he suggests things like eating a certain amount of protein within half-an-hour of waking, a whole host of supplemental nutritional supplements, and this slow-carb diet with one day set aside as a cheat day (where, apparently, you eat whatever you want, in order to fool your metabolism into thinking you’re not dieting so it doesn’t slow down.  Makes sense to me, actually.)

Anyway, the idea of the slow carb thing is that there are carbs that make your body produce chemicals you don’t want, and carbs that release more slowly, so you have more energy over a longer period of time.  (As opposed to things like sugar, which give you an immediate one-time rush.  It’s why some athletes do that whole carbo-loading thing…for the rush.)

The whole thing is really too complicated to outline entirely (the book’s, like, a thousand pages long or more — it’s an attention investment, to be sure), but suffice it to say that the eating plan is made of a whole lot of legumes and crazy whole grains and proteins, and may just take a rocket scientist to figure out beyond the basics.*  It’s still a good read, and interesting, in a medically-fascinating kind of way, since Ferris documents a lot of really extreme stuff he tried in order to bring the reader the findings. (Like, had-to-go-to-another-country extreme, because they won’t do it in the US kind of way.)

The book’s only  $16 for the physical version and something like $13 for the kindle edition (and I think it uses more than $16 worth of paper, to be honest), so it’s worth a look-through if it interests you.

This weekend’s recipe is fairly slow-carb.  The black beans and chicken are definitely covered; tomatoes and the sugar in them, not as much.  Still, it works for most not-all-that-stringent slow-carbers.

slow carb chili



  • A pound of black beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
  • two chicken breasts, cooked and shredded/chopped
  • a medium onion, finely chopped
  • a jalapeno or two, finely chopped (no seeds…ow.)
  • a green pepper, finely chopped
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper/cayenne (or to taste)
  • 2 cans of tomatoes, diced, with the juice
  • 2-3 cups of water
  • at least two tablespoons of chili powder (we used more, but we like spicy)


If you haven’t boiled the beans out of impatience, do so.  Drain and rinse again to get rid of the scummy foam.  Add everything else, stir, and bring to a boil.

We let it reduce down quite a bit, to give it some thickness.  If you like your chili soupier, cover the pot.  Let simmer for roughly an hour to let the flavors mingle.

Serves about a billion people.  (Okay, more like six.  We had a lot leftover.)

Total time, with chopping and unattended simmering: 2 hours.
(most of which was, again, unattended.)

Because of the beans and the chicken, there’s really no need for any sides/accompaniments.  The heat of the ingredients is supposed to have a thermogenic effect, too, so if you eat this after working out, you’ll burn even more calories.  Bonus score.



* It actually doesn’t take a rocket scientist, per se.  But some very smart people are doing interesting things online finding recipes that don’t taste like you’re chewing cud all the time.  And I hear that Ferris himself may be doing a slow-carb cookbook sometime soon, so you aren’t stuck eating lentils and eggs six days a week.

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