Stella’s Slow Cooker Chili

I know it’s practically summer already, but Eric had a real hankering for chili, and who am I to refuse?  If anything, I want to encourage his assimilation as a Texas nationalist, right?

We found some ground chili meat on sale, so we decided to try out various flavor combinations with the old slow cooker, and this was the winner.  It’s so tender and hearty, with just the right amount of heat from the chiles.

I’ve used black beans here at Eric’s insistence.  You can of course used canned beans, and kidney beans are more traditional; just skip the first step, involving cooking the beans alone in the pot on high heat. And, yes, I know that beans in chili is blasphemous in Texas. But the boy insisted; bless his heart. Plus, it makes the chili go a lot farther, so it’s great it you’re on a budget! And I’m a sucker for black beans. Love ’em!

1 cup dried black beans
1 cup water, halved, plus more as needed
2 lbs. chili beef (ground into large pieces)
1 tsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
1-2 jalapeños, finely diced, to taste*
1/2 oz. dark chocolate (one square, or 1/8, of a regular bar)
1 heaping Tbsp Gebhardt’s chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
6. oz tomato paste (1 small can)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Chili Garlic Cholula Sauce
1/2 can of Guinness
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, to garnish
saltines or Fritos, to taste

1. Rinse and sort beans in a colander, under cold running water, removing all stones and imperfections. Place in crock pot with 1/2 cup water and turn to high heat. Allow to cook for about one hour, until the water is mostly absorbed.

2. Meanwhile, chop your other ingredients and cook the beef. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add ground beef and sauté for about fifteen minutes, turning the meat frequently. Once it’s browned and cooked through, remove from heat; drain juices.

3. Add beef, beef, onion, celery, jalapeños, chocolate, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Cholula Sauce, Guinness, and remaining 1/2 cup of water to the crock pot, stir thoroughly, cover, and turn heat to low.

4. Cook for 8-10 hours, adding more water as needed, if the meat dries out (I usually cook mine overnight starting at 9:00 or 10:00pm, and it’s perfect by about 7:00am).

5. To serve, spoon out into bowls, top with grated cheddar, and enjoy with crackers or Fritos. Once the chili is done, you can turn the heat to the “keep warm” setting and leave it out all day, eating a bowl whenever you want.

Serves 4-6. Also refrigerates and freezes beautifully.

*I only used one, because our homegrown peppers tend to be very hot.

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