One of the best things about the crock pot is coming home to a meal that is ready and waiting to be eaten. Not only that, but I love walking through the door to an intoxicating smell of whatever delicious concoction has been cooking all day long. I guess it doesn’t take long for the smell of anything I’m cooking to fill up my 300 square foot apartment, but a crock pot cooking all day will make any kitchen smell heavenly. Especially a crock pot with this chili in it.
While I’ve made numerous variations of chili (white chili, black bean chili, taco chili, turkey chili, vegetarian chili) I’ve never made a traditional chili. In my mind traditional chili consists of beans, beef, lots of spices, and is topped with cheese and oyster crackers.
This is the type of chili I remember eating growing up, on a chilly fall day or a snowy winter afternoon with football playing in the background and my cozy pants and slippers on. I happened to make this on a day that started out a little cloudy and mild, and turned into a cold and rainy afternoon. The conditions were perfect for chili eating.
Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list for the chili…I promise you it’s worth it. The flavor is partly spicy from the chili powder and cayenne pepper, partly smokey from the cumin, and partly sweet from the brown sugar and cocoa powder.
The onion and green bell pepper add some bulk to the chili with the beans and beef, and the tomatoes make up the base of the chili. As for the coffee and beer…no clue what they’re for. They were a common theme that I found among chili recipes and I decided to throw ’em in. Just don’t tell Marc I used another one of his beers for cooking.
Crock Pot Beef and Bean Chili
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb lean ground beef
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup water or 1 cup dark beer (I used beer)
1/2 cup strong coffee
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to your spice preference)
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans (undrained)
2 (15 oz) cans pinto beans (undrained)
In large skillet, brown the meat over medium-high heat. Place meat in crock pot when done.
In same skillet, cook onions and peppers until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. You can either use the grease from the beef or wipe it out and use 1 tbsp olive oil. When done, add to crock pot.
Next, add rest of ingredients to crock pot and stir well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Top with sour cream, cheese, and crackers!