Even with my changes, Carolivy's chili recipe lives up to its laudatory name, for many reasons. First, it's very easy to make. Second, it can be adjusted to suit your tastes and ingredients on hand, and you can really spice it up if you're a serious chilehead who insists on fiery-hot chili: For example, you can use sliced ghost peppers instead of jalapenos, or replace some of the chili powder with habanero chili powder). Alternatively, you can omit the hot peppers altogether (Carolivy's original recipe didn't use them) and make a mild but flavorful chili the whole family will enjoy. Finally, the prep work is very simple and can be done ahead of time: Just before bed, I laid out the ingredients (except the meat of course, which was thawing in the fridge) and started soaking the dried beans, and then in the morning before work I quickly browned the meat and dumped everything in the crock pot so that dinner would be ready after work.
If you like to dress up your chili, serve with a dollop of sour cream or nonfat plain Greek yogurt, some shredded cheese, a sprinkling of chopped green onions or cilantro, a handful of diced avocado, or any other chili topping you enjoy. Other good pairings include cornbread or tortilla chips.
|Chili cooking in the crock pot|
1 1/3 cups dried red kidney beans*
1 1/2 lb ground beef and/or venison
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
6 cloves roasted garlic, minced
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes (fire-roasted or plain), undrained
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup sliced jalapeno peppers
*If you want to use canned beans instead and skip the soaking required for dried beans, simply substitute two 15-oz cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
Pick through the beans, rinse and place in a large bowl. Fill with water to 2 or 3 inches over the beans and let soak overnight.
The next morning, brown the meat and onion in a large skillet. Drain off grease, add the chili powder, cumin & salt, stir and cook for a couple more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Drain the water off the beans, rinse, then transfer the beans to your crock pot. Add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, seasoned meat & onions, peppers, and canned tomatoes. Stir once or twice, cover, then turn on the crock pot to cook according to one of the following schedules, depending on when you want to serve the chili:
Option 2: Cook on High for about 5 hours or until beans are tender, stirring once after 3 or 4 hours.
Option 3: Cook on Alternating Hi/Low for 4 hours, stir, then switch to High and cook 4 more hour or until beans are tender, stirring once more during this cooking segment. (This is the option I used.)
Once the beans are tender, you can hold the chili at Low for at least a couple of hours if you're not yet ready to serve. This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings (or fewer if your servings are hefty), and you can freeze leftovers.