Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chunky Slow-cooker Chili

Many of you already know of my love affair with the slow-cooker. I have a slow-cooker with a removable pot. I particularly enjoy setting things up in the pot on a Saturday night, then pulling the pot out of the refrigerator Sunday morning and letting it do it’s thing all day until Sunday dinner. It certainly makes my Sunday’s less stressful.

I wanted to figure out some way to cook chili in the slow-cooker, but I couldn’t find any recipes that really got me excited. Instead, I modified a stove-top chili recipe that I really like. The original recipe uses ground beef. I had some cheap cuts of beef hanging around my freezer, so I substituted them to make a chunkier version. You can  certainly use hamburger, if you like. Knowing I wasn’t going to get as much of a reduction in the liquid using the slow-cooker, I decided to drain the tomatoes, first. I think the results were pretty tasty.

Equipment Needed
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Measuring cups and spoons
Garlic press (optional)
Large skillet
Large spoon
Paring knife
Mixing bowls

2 onions, peeled finely chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (15 oz.) dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds stew meat or other beef, cut into small chunks
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (20 oz.) tomato puree

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the meat and cook until just browned. Transfer to the slow-cooker.

Return the pan to the heat. Add more oil if needed and reduce heat to medium. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions, chili powder, cumin, bell pepper, cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 15 seconds more, until fragrant. Remove from the the heat and transfer to the slow-cooker. Turn off the stove. Everything else will be done in the slow-cooker.

To the slow-cooker, add the beans, diced tomatoes, tomato puree, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir together. Cook on high for 6 hours, or low for 8 hours. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

Makes 8 servings.

Garnish with sliced scallions, sour cream, grated cheese, chopped onion, or diced avocados as desired.

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