Hey friends, glad to be back, it's been a while since we've talked. I have been busy traveling around and let's not forget its been harvest season here in Oregon (harvest = very busy). And in case you're wondering, the grapes came in beautifully and early, after a very warm summer. Oh, and how could I forget my newest job chauffeuring around a newly minted high school freshman, probably my most demanding work of all.
But now that it's Fall, the weather has turned and the rain is back. In fact, it has been raining cats and dogs for the last week, with no end in sight. I wish we could send a little of this water to everyone experiencing drought, especially the farmers in California, who are really struggling right now.
The rain and gloomy weather makes it irresistible to leave your pajamas on all day and make cold weather foods like this chili. It was really hard not to gobble up the whole pot of comfort food myself. Don't worry, in the end I did reluctantly share the goodness.
When it comes to chili, my husband and I have never really agreed on the taste. I prefer a more "red" or tomato sauce based chili and he leans towards a more brown based "gravy" type chili, or competition chili as many call it. You know, the real Texas chili, no beans, all meat and gravy type of sauce.
And don't get me wrong, I love chili made that way too. However, I don't always have the time it takes to make it happen. I literally become fanatical about making chili in the brown, gravy type way. I get the butcher to do a chili grind with chuck roast and then I spend hours deciding on the spices to use. And the recipe changes every single time. In fact, my husband and I won first and second place in a neighborhood chili contest years ago with that style of chili. It's awesome, but I still love my easy-tangy red chili that appeals to more of the masses.
And when the newest Hamilton Beach Set n' Forget Slow Cooker arrived on my doorstep this month, I knew chili was going to happen very soon. Up until now I didn't have a programmable slow cooker, let alone one with a temperature probe that shifts the slow cooker to warm when the temperature is reached.
While I didn't need a temperature probe to make this chili, I did use it last week with the pork chops I made the family. Those chops turned out perfectly moist thanks to the probe technology.
This slow cooker also has a lid that clips on tight, which means I can travel with it and not worry about spilling. This is huge for me since I am always taking something, somewhere.
And look at this perfectly thick spoonful of yum. I have to admit, this is the type of chili I love to devour with a tangy-sweet cornbread. What is it about the cornbread-chili combo that is just so mouthwatering-perfect?
And if you don't have time to make cornbread, have you tasted the Keebler Club Cornbread Crackers? I can't even keep them in my house as they are devoured almost immediately. They would have been perfect with this chili. In fact I was going to photograph them with this recipe, but the kids already got to them and they were gone. I'm telling you they are the best. Find them in your grocery store if you can (snack aisle).
Anyway, why the mason jars? Well, I love serving chili to a crowd, especially on Halloween. It's the perfect meal prior to the trick-or-treat, when families gather before heading out with the kids. But, between the appetizers and desserts and the main course, it's always too much food. So, I have found the half pint, wide-mouth mason jars to be the perfect sized vessel to serve chili to a crowd, including football events. Try it next time, you'll see it's the perfect amount with all the other food you have around.
Did I mention I am going to be giving away one of these awesome new slow cookers? Stay tuned.
Slow Cooker Red Chili
- 2 lbs ground beef (93% lean / 7% fat)
- 1/2 of one large onion, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 3 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 5 Tablespoons chili powder
- 3 Tablespoons taco seasoning
- 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- In a nonstick skillet over med-high heat, cook ground beef until almost done. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook several minutes more. (I really like to brown my ground beef well, and I make sure to break it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon while cooking. By cooking over high heat and stirring often, there should not be any liquid left in the pan from the onion or the peppers and since the beef is very low-fat, there will not be any fat to pour off.) Set aside.
- Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, taco seasoning, cumin and paprika to the bowl of a 6 quart slow cooker. Whisk until all spices are fully combined. Add meat mixture and stir until fully combined with the sauce.
- Set slow cooker for 4 hours on high (or 8 hours on low). In the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in black beans and apple cider vinegar.
- Optional garnishes would be shredded cheese, sour cream, green onion and corn chips.
Disclosure: Hamilton Beach provided me with the slow cooker used in this post. All opinions were 100% my own.