There’s nothing better on a chilly (no pun intended) autumn Sunday afternoon than cooking a hearty chili all day in the crock pot and enjoying it while relaxing on the couch and watching football all afternoon. This chili recipe is one that I initially adapted from my grandfather’s recipe, but have since changed quite a bit based on the flavors that my husband and I like best. I rarely even use a recipe anymore because this one has become such a staple, I’ve basically memorized it.
- 1 – 1 1/4 lbs. ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup onion (about 1/2 of a medium sized onion), diced
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 can dark red kidney beans
- 1 large can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño, sliced
- 1 cup water
- liberal sprinkling of crushed red pepper
First, brown the meat in a skillet with the onion and garlic. Drain the fat, and then add the contents of the pan to a large slow cooker. Then, add all other ingredients to the slow cooker. Make sure to pour the entire can of kidney beans into the chili, including the juice.
If you like your chili with a kick… go heavier on the crushed red pepper and jalapeños. But if you’re afraid of spiciness, beware of adding too much! I tend to start with about 1 tbsp and then add more after tasting the chili once it has been cooking for 1/2 hour to an hour. My husband likes everything as hot as can be, so I tend to go fairly heavy with the heat… but you can customize the recipe to your own liking! The jalapeño can be omitted, as can the crushed red pepper, although even if you don’t like a lot of heat, a little of this stuff will give the chili just enough of a kick to be tasty but not overpowering.
Let the chili cook on low in a slow cooker for 3-6 hours. The longer it cooks, the better the flavor will be in the end. And the best part about it is that you can just set it and forget it until you’re ready to eat it (aka, go back to the couch and watch football until you get hungry).
Spoon the chili straight out of the slow cooker (when you’re ready to eat it, turn the heat down to “warm” to keep it warm but stop it from really cooking) into large bowls, and top with a sprinkle of Mexican cheese. Serve with tortilla chips.