It’s cold, it’s gray, it’s winter…and I hate it. My skin gets all dried out, my feet are like ice cubes 80% of the time, and all I want to do is be curled up on the couch with a hot drink, a blanket, and cozy PJs. Other than hot beverages and an excuse to be lazy, soup is the only other saving grace of winter. Today, we are warming up with crock-pot chili.
I love soups because they are SO adaptable. If you don’t like an ingredient leave it out, or substitute something. Don’t want to use half that carton of stock, dump the rest in, have leftover carrots, chop those up and throw them in. For this recipe you can adjust pretty much anything to your liking, don’t like black beans try white kidney beans instead or add more red or chili beans, adjust spices and heat to your liking. Just watch the spiciness when adjusting. If you use hot Italian Sausage you may want to use less, chili, cayenne, or hot sauce or no seeds for the jalapeño. The one I like to reduce because it is so easy to add in later is the hot sauce. You can taste this when it heats up a bit and add in extra seasoning as you go along since the meat is all pre-cooked. It’s easy, easy and it’s extra easy when the husband chops everything for you in advance 😉
This recipe is adapted from Boilermaker Tailgate Chili from allrecipes.com (please note the original recipe is huge and most likely will not fit in your crock pot)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb bulk Italian sausage (or cut the casing off links)
- 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
- 1 (15 oz) can chili beans in spicy sauce
- 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped (or for a bit extra heat 1 seeded and 1 not seeded)
- 2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco) or 8 dashes
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 cup beef stock-add last
- 1/2 cup beer-add last
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional for topping)
- Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt (optional for topping)
Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground beef and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.
In crock pot, add the onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, jalapeno, and garlic. Pour in the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, cooked meat. Season with spices listed. Stir to blend. Finally, add in the 1/2 cup of beer and 1 cup beef broth-if you cannot get in the full cup of beef broth reserve until vegetables have reduced, then add. For the beer, I like to use a dark or brown beer but a pilsner or lager would work fine as well. We utilized some of P’s homebrew, a Belgium Dubbel. This recipe makes a very full crock-pot. Carefully stir a little to mix ingredients a bit more. Cook on high for at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours or low for 4 hours. Stir occasionally. To serve, ladle into bowls, and top with shredded cheese and sour cream.
The longer the chili cooks, the better it will taste. This of course makes great leftovers. We like to use it for nachos the next day so we buy extra cheese, chips, and sour cream.
The Rest of the Week
Beef Daube Provençal (weekend dish): This was AMAZING. We bought local beef for this and P added a bit of butter to the noodles so it was extra yummy. Buttered egg noodles are one of my favorite things. While I think any red wine will work, a heavier one like Cabernet is a bit better.
Simple Coconut Chicken Curry: I’ve mentioned this one before..it’s one of P’s favorites and he asked for it this week. The Half Baked Harvest has some fantastic recipes and I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from her, I highly recommend poking around her site for some other great recipes.
Baked Salmon w/ Garlic and Dijon: The sauce for this salmon knocked it out of the park. Whole Foods had wild-caught salmon on sale this week so it was an impromptu purchase. We paired this with purple asparagus and slices of avocado (also on sale), along with the dill sauce from last week’s ravioli. See how pretty (P cooked all of this and did the plating…I’m a lucky, lucky girl)