Chili! Finally! I've held off as long as I could----but it was time to put my crockpot to work for it's intended use.
There are nine hundred trillion chili recipes. I know, because once I watched a good six hours of some sort of chili championship on the Food Network.
Some people use beans, some don't. Some are purists, some aren't.
I live in California, and have only had chili that has a lot of beans in it, so that's what we made. Adam and I had an absolute ball pulling stuff from the fridge and the spice cabinet. This is a very basic chili---it has some heat, but not enough to scare (my) kids.
--1 lb ground meat (I used 4% beef)
--1 bag small red beans (are they kidneys? it didn't say---they sure looked like kidney beans to me)
* EDITED TO ADD: I just learned this freaky thing about kidney beans... I guess they have a toxin in them and need to be boiled well before adding to a slow cooker. Please research this on your own! *
--2 whole jalapeno peppers
--1 diced onion
--8 garlic cloves, minced
--1 29oz can tomatoes (whatever you have in the cabinet or is on sale. this happened to have basil in it)
--1 15oz can tomato sauce
--3T chili powder
--1t black pepper
--1T tobasco sauce
The night before you are going to make chili, sort your beans and soak with a healthy amount of water. Pick out any cracked beans, or any that float to the top or look funky.
In the morning, drain the water (in honor of earth day stuff you should water the garden. Now you will feel guilty if you don't. sorry.)
Brown the ground meat on the stovetop with the onion. Drain fat. Have a rather heated discussion about whether or not to drain the fat with the man of the house who seems to think that the teensy bit of fat left from the 4% meat is full of flavor and should be added to the pot.
Drain the fat from the meat, and add on top of the beans. Add the rest of your ingredients to the mix and stir gingerly. If you are using the jalapenos, don't open them, but instead rest them on top of the beans and meat for a nice mellow smoky heat.
cook on low for as long as you can stand it and the beans are tender.
These were some rather hard beans and didn't tenderize until about 9 hours in.
If you are antsy, cook on high for at least 6 hours.
We've been munching on chili for the past 3 days, and I truly believe each day it improves. I was impressed with this spice combination and liked the hint of smokiness. The kids enjoy their chili topped with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.
This makes a very thick chili--you can do the fork trick!