This is my standard go-to chili recipe. Thick and hearty. Full of roasted vegetables, ground beef and sausage (chorizo is my favorite), and two kinds of beans in a thick, spicy sauce. No runny broth-that is soup, not chili.
I know that a true Texas chili does not have any beans, but while I love the flavor of a good Texas chili, I also love beans. I love the taste, the contrasting texture they give to chili, and the fact that beans are so good for you! So while my chili may not be approved of by hard core Texans, I will continue to put beans in.
Chili is a great crock pot meal, and tastes even better the second day.
You can make this chili the “fast” way or the “it takes a little longer but is so worth it” way. The difference is: to roast or not roast the veges (onions, peppers, garlic). I have definitely made my share of chili the fast way, but I do prefer the additional flavor you get by roasting the vegetables before adding them to the chili. To roast the onions, garlic and peppers: peel onions and cut in half. Cut larger peppers in half and remove seeds. Smaller peppers, like jalapenos can be left whole. You can roast a whole head of garlic, or roast individual cloves (this will be faster). Place onions, garlic and peppers on a foil-lined roasting pan. Brush with olive oil. Roast at 475°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until veges begin to blacken. See How To Roast Peppers or How To Roast Garlic for quick tutorials.
Top your chili with shredded cheese, sour cream or chopped raw onions (red onions or scallions are great). And make lots: chili freezes wonderfully for another meal another day.
Hearty Beef Chili
1 ½ lb ground beef
½ lb chorizo or hot Italian sausage
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 red pepper
1 large banana pepper
2 jalapenos, (use seeds for a spicier chili)
2 cloves garlic
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped (or 1 tsp chipotle chili powder)
1 Tbs adobo sauce from chipotle pepper can
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
3 cans (14 oz) diced or crushed tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) tomato sauce
3 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried basil (or 2 Tbs fresh)
1 Tbs chili paste
1 Tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Tomato paste, if needed
Toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped raw onions (red onions or green onions)
Cook ground beef and sausage until browned. Drain and place in a crock pot with the cooked bacon. If desired, roast the onions, red pepper, banana pepper, jalapenos and garlic (Brush with olive oil and roast on a foil-lined baking sheet at 475°F for 15-20 minutes). Chop vegetables and add to the crock pot with the remaining ingredients (except tomato paste and toppings). Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours. Taste after about 4-6 hours. Add additional salt or more heat (more chili paste or crushed red peppers), if desired. Thicken with tomato paste if chili is too thin. Serve with desired toppings.
Lay whole peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Broil about 2″ from heating element for 5-10 minutes. Check often! Turn peppers over to blacken both sides.
If you have a gas stove, peppers can also be roasted over a gas flame. Use tongs or a metal skewer to hold pepper directly over the flame.
A third way to roast peppers is on a charcoal or gas grill. Place peppers directly on grate, and turn when blackened. Watch carefully.
Place hot peppers into a brown paper bag. Let cool slightly. Shake bag.
Peel blackened skins from peppers. Discard seeds, if desired.
Friday night I came home with First Prize in a Chili Cook-Off!
Okay, so it was only the annual church Halloween Trunk-or-Treat and Chili Cook-Off, and this was my big prize, but isn’t he cute!
I actually tried a new recipe, created on the fly that same day, so I am glad that it turned out edible!
Earlier in the week I had cooked a bunch of chicken in my crock-pot for some enchiladas that I wanted to make. And if I’m going to go to the trouble to shred chicken, I’m going to shred A LOT of it. Freezer bags are my best friend! So I had lots of extra shredded chicken on hand. (This would also be a great meal for leftover chopped Thanksgiving turkey)
Since I knew I was going to use the chicken in Mexican dishes, I filled my crock pot with trimmed chicken breasts and poured on about one cup of salsa. Then turned it on low and forgot about it for the rest of the day.
Perfect shredded chicken by early afternoon!
I used several different kinds of hot peppers in this chili: jalapeno, hot banana peppers, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The jalapeno and banana peppers I roasted first. I love the flavor of chipotle peppers, but I never use a full can.
So thanks to my friends the freezer bags, I have more on hand for another day.
Other than that, it is a standard tomato based chili recipe using chicken and black beans (plus some extra flavor items like chocolate, lime juice and cilantro!).
Hope you like it as well as the hungry trunk-or-treaters!
Little J and Little A
Aren’t my little trunk-or-treaters cute!
Shredded Chicken & Black Bean Chili
2 (15oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 large onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2-3 assorted hot peppers, roasted and chopped
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 small can mild diced chilies (optional)
1 Tbs adobo sauce (from chipotle pepper can)
2 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs dried oregano
2 tsp cocoa powder (or 1 oz dark chocolate)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (use more or less as desired)
Juice of 1 lime (about 2-3 Tbs)
3-4 cups shredded chicken (or leftover chicken/turkey, chopped)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (use more if desired)
Shredded cheddar cheese, green onions and/or sour cream for garnish (optional)
Place diced tomatoes in the bottom of a large (5-6 quart) crock-pot. If desired, use a potato masher to slightly mash tomatoes. Add remaining ingredients (except **chicken, cilantro and garnishes). Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Taste and adjust spices to desired heat. Stir in chicken. Cook an additional 30 minutes. If the chili is too thick, add a little water or chicken broth. Stir in cilantro just before serving. Garnish with cheese, chopped green onions and/or sour cream.
**NOTE: Since the chicken is pre-cooked, don’t cook it with the rest of the chili all day. It will make the chicken disintegrate into tiny shreds. Add the chicken at the end of the cooking time, and heat through.