As Fall turns to winter and the weather gets bitter (then 60°!..then 30° again…) I take my crockpot down from it’s summer space up top the cabinets, wash off that gross stuff that forms from storing things up high, and give it a seasonal place among my “regular” appliances. If it didn’t make our apartment so damn hot in the summer, or had central air, I’d probably use it year round. There’s nothing better than coming home after a long day to find your apartment smelling AMAZING and dinner ready to serve. I probably use my crockpot once a week, whether it’s stew, crockpot chicken or something else. But my absolute favorite is chili.
I never really though much of what style chili I make until I watched the chili episode of Top Chef Texas. I make chili with beans, it just feels heartier that way. But apparently to some, beans is a huge taboo. Well, if you’re one of those people I suggest you stop reading. Right now. But if you like a little beanie action and a hearty meal to come home to, you’ve come to the right place. I use dried beans, I find it makes the flavors richer. However, if you’re not into dried beans, go with canned and just reduce the cooking time to 8 hours.
Brooklyn Locavore’s Beanie Crockpot Chili
- 1 c dried kidney beans
- 1 c dried pinto beans
- 1 c dried black beans
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 lb stew meat
- 2 tbsp flour
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ancho chili pepper, optional
- 1 tsp chipotle powder, optional
- 3 bell peppers diced (go with different colored peppers for vibrancy!)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (or a spicier pepper if you’re really into heat)
- 1 16oz jar chopped tomatoes
- 1 12oz jar ale (IPAs have been my favorite)
- Sour cream, chives and cheddar cheese for garnish, optional
Soak for 8 hours or overnight in a bowl of water (water should be at least 2 in above beans). Drain and rinse beans before adding to crockpot. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet until hot. Add onions an saute until softened, 2-3 minutes. Dredge beef in flour and add to skillet, cooking until slightly browned (okay if you can still see pink).
Add beef and onions to crockpot. Continue and add all other ingredients to crockpot, one at a time, stirring well between each addition. Cook in crockpot for 10 hours on low.
Give one final stir before serving to assure flavors are blended. Garnish with sour cream, chives and/or cheddar cheese as desired.
NOTE: This chili is PERFECT for freezing! I usually freeze half of it for a few months down the road. Just defrost and cook over low heat in a saucepan until heated through. I don’t know what the freezer does to this stuff but I swear it tastes even better the second time around. PLUS, if you want to go veggie, just nix the beef and flour part!