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Crock Pot Chili

I love making a big batch of chili and eating it during the week.  I like it on Fritos or pasta.  My wife likes it on a baked potato or over a salad. Every time I make it, I tend to try different things.  For instance, I have made chili with Hunt’s Manwich sauce instead of the pasta sauce below; I have added Ancho Chile powder; I have used a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce; and I have added beer.  This time, I had some jalapeno peppers, so I used those in this cook.

Ingredients

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2 pounds 80/20 ground beef

2 pounds ground pork (I prefer to use a 50/50 mix of beef and some other meat(s) in my chili.  I think ground pork works well.  I have also used veal. I know people that have used lamb and venison.  If I use ground turkey, I usually substitute the turkey for the beef.  I have also used ground hot Italian sausage. Also, I prefer to use ground chuck, but this ground beef was on sale)

4 strips bacon (You need some sort of fat with which to soften the onions.  I usually use vegetable oil, but I had bacon, so I used it this time.)

2 yellow onions

4 jalapenos

4 packages McCormick Chili Spice packet (I like this spice mix as a basic start to my chili.  It makes it very easy.  You need 1 packet for every pound of meat.)

2 tablespoons cocoa (Trust me, this ingredient is a game changer.)

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons cold water

1 jar pasta sauce (I have been using pasta sauce instead of tomatoes in my chili since my brother-in-law recommended it.  I like the results.  I avoid pasta sauces with ingredients like cheese, basil, or other non-chili-friendly stuff in it.)

1 cup coffee

Note:  I do not like beans in my chili.  If you like beans, knock yourself out.

Instructions

Mix beef, water, baking soda, and salt in bowl and set aside for 20 minutes. (This will ensure very good browning of the beef without releasing much water.  Do not skip this step.)

 

Why do you add baking soda to the beef?  This is a technique I found in a Cook’s Illustrated chili recipe. The baking soda will keep the beef from releasing water while being browned, which will keep it moist and tender, but it also leads to the beef browning much faster.  This happens because there is no release of water.  This is the first time I have used this technique, and it worked as advertised.

Turn your stove burner to medium.  Put a jalapeno on the grate.  Turn every 90 seconds until the pepper is charred and blistered.  Repeat this step for another pepper.

 

 

Run the jalapenos under cold water and peel off the burnt skin.

Slice the pepper in half lengthwise and remove the membrane and seeds.  With the roasted peppers, you can do it with your fingers.  With the raw peppers, I recommend using a small spoon.

 

 

Chop all the peppers.  Set aside.

Chop the onions and slice the bacon into thin pieces.

Brown the bacon in a dutch oven over medium heat until it has rendered most of its fat.

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Add the onion and peppers and saute until softened. (Normally, I add salt at this point because it helps speed up the softening of the onion by drawing out water from the onion.  I did not do this here for two reasons. First, I already added salt to the beef, so I was concerned about oversalting. Second, the four slices of bacon add about a 1/4 teaspoon of salt.)

Add the beef.

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While browning the beef, break up the meat until it crumbles.

When the beef is browned, add the pork.

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Continue to break up big pieces until pork is browned and crumbled.

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Move the mixture away from one side of the dutch oven and tilt the dutch oven toward the open space until you have a pool of fat.  Add the spice packets and cocoa to the fat and cook for 1 minute, mixing the entire mixture.  This is done for two reasons. First, cooking the spices intensifies their flavor. Second, many spices have flavor components that are fat-soluble.  Cooking them in fat releases those flavors.

Next, add the pasta sauce.  After adding the sauce, add the coffee to the jar, put the lid back on, and shake.  Add this mixture to the chili.  If you don’t have coffee, do this step with water.  Put the chili in your crock pot and cook on high for 1 hour and then low for 4 hours. This is longer than many people cook their chili, but I find you render more of the fat out of the meat and the meat is more tender with a longer cooking time.

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10 minutes before you serve the chili, turn off the crock pot, skim off the fat, and stir in the apple cider vinegar.

Here is the chili with pasta shells, tomato, onion, jalapeno peppers, and shredded cheddar cheese.  Delicious!

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Crock Pot Chili
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
 
I love making a big batch of chili and eating it during the week. I like it on Fritos or pasta. My wife likes it on a baked potato or over a salad. Every time I make it, I tend to try different things. For instance, I have made chili with Hunt's Manwich sauce instead of the pasta sauce below; I have added Ancho Chile powder; I have used a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce; and I have added beer. This time, I had some jalapeno peppers, so I used those in this cook.
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
  • 2 pounds ground pork (I prefer to use a 50/50 mix of beef and some other meat(s) in my chili. I think ground pork works well. I have also used veal. I know people that have used lamb and venison. If I use ground turkey, I usually substitute the turkey for the beef. I have also used ground hot Italian sausage. Also, I prefer to use ground chuck, but this ground beef was on sale)
  • 4 strips bacon (You need some sort of fat with which to soften the onions. I usually use vegetable oil, but I had bacon, so I used it this time.)
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 4 jalapenos
  • 4 packages McCormick Chili Spice packet (I like this spice mix as a basic start to my chili. It makes it very easy. You need 1 packet for every pound of meat.)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa (Trust me, this ingredient is a game changer.)
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 jar pasta sauce (I have been using pasta sauce instead of tomatoes in my chili since my brother-in-law recommended it. I like the results. I avoid pasta sauces with ingredients like cheese, basil, or other non-chili-friendly stuff in it.)
  • 1 cup coffee
  • Note: I do not like beans in my chili. If you like beans, knock yourself out.
Instructions
  1. Mix beef, water, baking soda, and salt in bowl and set aside for 20 minutes. (This will ensure very good browning of the beef without releasing much water. Do not skip this step.)
  2. Why do you add baking soda to the beef? This is a technique I found in a Cook's Illustrated chili recipe. The baking soda will keep the beef from releasing water while being browned, which will keep it moist and tender but, it also leads to the beef browning much faster. This happens because there is no release of water. This is the first time I have used this technique, and it worked as advertised.
  3. Turn your stove burner to medium. Put a jalapeno on the grate. Turn every 90 seconds until the pepper is charred and blistered. Repeat this step for another pepper.
  4. Run the jalapenos under cold water and peel off the burnt skin.
  5. Slice the pepper in half lengthwise and remove the membrane and seeds. With the roasted peppers, you can do it with your fingers. With the raw peppers, I recommend using a small spoon.
  6. Chop all the peppers. Set aside.
  7. Chop the onions and slice the bacon into thin pieces.
  8. Brown the bacon in a dutch oven over medium heat until it has rendered most of its fat.
  9. Add the onion and peppers and saute until softened.
  10. Add the beef.
  11. While browning the beef, break up the meat until it crumbles.
  12. When the beef is browned, add the pork.
  13. Continue to break up big pieces until pork is browned and crumbled.
  14. Add the spice packets, cocoa, and pasta sauce. After adding the pasta sauce, add the coffee to the jar, put the lid back on and shake. Add this mixture to the chili. If you don't have coffee, do this step with water). Put the chili in your crock pot and cook on high for one hour and then low for at least 2 hours or, at most, 4 hours. This is longer than many people cook their chili, but I find you render more of the fat out of the meat and the meat is more tender with a longer cooking time.
  15. minutes before you serve the chili, turn off the crock pot, skim off the fat, and stir in the apple cider vinegar.
 

About Daddy

I am a husband and a father of two kids with whom I love to cook and eat. In this blog, I hope to share with you not only some of my, as well as my family’s, favorite recipes, but also some interesting things I have learned or done as a husband, father, and cook.

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