To continue with 5 of the most popular Crock Pot recipes, in part 2 I will begin with what has become somewhat of a holiday tradition for me–Crock Pot chili. I don’t make this for every holiday but it seems to go especially well for Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Super Bowl Sunday (That’s a holiday isn’t it?).
The truth is, it goes well with football and just about any sport in general. So, any Sunday, or any Thursday night or Monday night as it seems, at least in my home, the NFL dominates the TV on those days and times.
Also, it goes well as an indoor or outdoor, as well as a warm-weather, or cold-weather favorite. In other words, pretty much any time and any place, it’s a hit.
The way I do it, there’s more prep involved than my most popular Crock Pot recipes–part 1 for chicken and some of the others but the end result is well worth it. You don’t have to do it exactly the way I do it and it will still be awesome.
The Required Ingredients
- Pinto or kidney beans
- 1-2 pounds ground beef
- 1-2 large onions
- Garlic or garlic powder
- 1-2 bell pepper (red is best)
- Chili peppers or chili powder
- One pound bacon
Here’s The Way I Do It
First of all, you’ll need a large Crock Pot (at least 5 quart–6 quart size is best).
For what I think is the best result, I soak about a pound of dry beans (kidney or pinto) in the pot for at least 12, up to 24 hours. Just fill the pot about halfway with water, pour in the beans and let them sit.
After soaking, pour the beans and water through a collander or strainer so that all the water drains and all that’s left are the wet beans.
Return the beans to the crock pot.
If you don’t want to take the time to soak dry beans, you can buy a large can of beans and skip the soaking process. It’s entirely up to you.
Either way, the beans are the first ingredient.
Brown the ground beef in a skillet. I prefer regular ground beef because it has more fat, which when cooked, creates more liquid, which definitely contributes to the taste. However, if you prefer lean or extra lean, that’s entirely up to you. Like just about any Crock Pot recipe, flexiblity is part of the beauty.
If you’re going to include bacon, cook it with the ground beef. Bacon will be another source of fat and liquid.
When the meat is browned, pour it all into the pot, grease and all. In fact, scrape the skillet with a spatula to get as much of it as you can possibly capture. No sense in wasting any of it.
Chop up the onions, garlic bell peppers, and if you’re using chili peppers, chop them up as well.
Add everything to the pot, including your seasonings and/or spices (chili powder, cumin, or garlic powder).
Stir, cover, set to low for 10-12 hours or high for 6-9 hours and walk away. The Crock Pot will do the rest.
You’ll get all the credit.
Don’t be surprised if your neighbors try to invite themselves to help you enjoy it as the smell wafts.
A Note Regarding The Variables
Personally, I don’t like anything to be too spicy or too hot. Some people love that. I’m not one of them. I prefer my food mildly spicy, if at all spicy, but that’s just about me.
Hot sauce can be added after cooking for those who masochistically like fire-hot food.
If you’re going to add chili peppers or jalapeno peppers during cooking, that’s entirely up to you. I have no advice for you as that’s just not how I do it. You can make your chili as hot or as mild as you like.
I do like to add 3-4 tablespoons of chili powder to my recipe. That creates a little bit of a bite but it doesn’t burn.
As for the tomatoes, I prefer fresh whole tomatoes. However, I’ve been known to use canned tomatoes. One large can (about 30 ounces) should do it.
I like to use either several fresh, small Roma tomatoes or a bunch of either grape or cherry tomatoes. I usually buy organic grape or cherry tomatoes in a plastic container at Trader Joe’s and add at least half the package, up to the whole package.
How I Like To Serve It
I like to put out several bowls and a ladle and allow people to serve themselves.
Along with the bowls, I like to put out some shredded cheese (your choice of what kind–American or mozzarella are my favorites), some chopped onions, salt & pepper, and some hot sauce, chili peppers, and/or chili powder. This allows people to choose their own level of spice etc.
Personally, all I add to my bowl is a large handful of cheese.
If you’re in the cooking mood, you might want to make some cornbread or whole wheat bread. Both are a hit whether you make it yourself or buy it already made.
Additionally, you might want to make a salad and some homemade thousand island dressing (ketchup, mayonnaise, and relish stirred together).
If you’ve got more than one Crock Pot, depending on how many people you’re feeding, and if you want to prepare a feast or a simple meal, you might want to consider making one or more of the other popular Crock Pot recipes along with the chili:
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Baked Beans
Whatever you decide and whichever way you decide to cook and serve the chili you prepared in the crock pot or any one or more of these recipes you’ll look like a pro, you and your family or guests will love it.
This concludes 5 of the most popular crock pot recipes–part 2.
If you have questions or comments, leave a reply below and I will respond as soon as possible.