This recipe was a long time coming. I had long wished to make a chili but was put off by all the ingredients, and debates over what kind tastes best. Tomatoes or nah? Ground beef or chuck roast? And don’t get me wrong, Hormel chili will do the trick, but there’s something about slicing up your own fresh ingredients, seasoning the concoction to perfection, and ultimately savoring the works of your hands. Thankfully, I found a fairly easy Slow Cooker Chili recipe from allrecipes.com, and I was quite pleased with the results.
1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced celery
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10.75 ounce) cans tomato puree
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans with liquid
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place the beef in a skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown. Drain grease.
Place the beef in a slow cooker, and mix in onion, celery, green bell pepper, garlic, tomato puree, kidney beans and cannellini beans. Season with chili powder, parsley, salt, basil, oregano, black pepper and hot pepper sauce.
Cover and cook 8 hours on Low.
I topped my bowl of chili with a dollop of sour cream, a pinch of shredded cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of diced green onion.
Variations: There really is no hard and fast rule for chili, which makes it so great. You can personalize it and improvise it as you wish. For example, I didn’t have chili powder so I used some paprika instead. I’m a fan of a little heat, so I sliced up a large jalapeño pepper and threw a whole one in the crock pot. It gave a much needed kick. Also, I’d never heard of cannellini beans before, but was surprised to quickly spot them in the canned food section at the grocery store. If you’re not as lucky as me, you can substitute them for navy beans.
Lessons learned: After reading some of the reviews, I decided to drain most of the liquid from the beans so it wasn’t as soupy. I checked on my chili at about 7 hours in, and sure enough it was very liquidy. However, I let the mixture cook overnight, and it had drastically thickened, plus it’s super flavorful.