May 26, 2011 7:31 AM   Subscribe

I have a pound of ground beef and a slow cooker... give me your best chili recipes!

I like chili-- you can make a big pot and eat it for several days, and it's cheap! However, I have yet to find a recipe I really love. I've tried a couple of different ones from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker, and found them sort of... bland. I like lots of flavour and a fair bit of heat.

Thanks in advance!
posted by torisaur to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
How about this one? (Or this variation?)
posted by holgate at 7:37 AM on May 26, 2011

Are you wedded to the slow-cooker idea? Would you be willing to brown the beef and cook the spices a bit in a skillet before transferring it to the slow-cooker for finishing? Do you have a Mexican grocery in your neighborhood?

This recipe uses lamb and chorizo, but could be adapted. It's one of my favorites.
posted by jon1270 at 7:44 AM on May 26, 2011

No recipe, but here are some thoughts: I always go 1:1 with ground beef and hot Italian sausage (casings removed), and brown both before stewing. Ups the flavor ante right away. Bitter ingredients are great too-- coffee, beer, chocolate, or some combination thereof. Chipotles in adobo sauce give a great smokiness, but can overwhelm if you have too many.
posted by supercres at 7:54 AM on May 26, 2011

Mine doesn't require a slow cooker, though I guess you could use it. It only takes about 30 min to cook, though the longer it sits, the better flavor you get. My husband and his friends at least seem to like it a lot.

1lb ground hamburger
2, 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
2, 15oz cans of chili magic beans or beans in chili gravy (if you can’t find these, you can use kidney beans and they you will have to add more of the spices below)
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 small can of chopped green chilies
2-3 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried cilantro
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/3 cup white vinegar
dash of Tabasco sauce
1 can of refried beans

Brown the hamburger. Sautee onions and garlic. Put everything in 1 pot and heat, stirring occasionally for at least 30 min. Top with cheese if you like.
posted by katers890 at 7:55 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

brown the beef first.

1 can rotel tomato with juice
1 beer
reduce by half

then add
2 lbs browned meat
2 cans chili beans
2 cans kidney beans - rinsed
2 cans black beans -rinsed
1 can Ranch style beans with jalepeno
15 oz tomato sauce
1 can white beans -rinsed

1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground chipotle
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
some chopped cilantro

all ingredients/amounts are negotiable
posted by jockc at 8:02 AM on May 26, 2011

My slow-cooker recipe (brands don't matter- they're just what my grocery store happens to carry)
-28 oz Ro Tel Hot Diced tomatoes with haberneros
-2x Mrs. Grimes spicy hot chili beans
-1x 8 oz. tomatoe sauce
-1x 12 oz. tomotoe paste
-1-2 bottles dark beer
-2x pre-sliced fresh mushrooms (2 lbs), sauteed.
-1 package of 4-pack peppers (add 1/2 hour before finished so still have some crispiness), sauteed.
-2 onions, sauteed.
-3lbs meat (1x ground turkey, 1x ground pork, 1x stew beef)
--I've started substituting with 3 lbs ground turkey for a different flavor. I love it with the ground turkey.
-Throw in a metric ton of chili powder/whatever spices I feel like at the time. Note that with this much stuff, it will require a lot of chili powder. I also use papakira, cumin, garlic powder, and steak seasoning.
-Cook on low for about 8 hours.
-On eating days, I throw in some habernero or pepper jack cheese, a little sour cream, and something crispy. And more spicy spices.
posted by jmd82 at 8:03 AM on May 26, 2011

I found that one of my pots fits nicely inside my slow cooker (replacing the ceramic insert) so that when I have to do browning/sautéing steps I can still retain the "one-pot" nature of slow cooker recipes.
posted by secretseasons at 8:34 AM on May 26, 2011

Thanks all! I'm not totally committed to the slow cooker, it just seems like a convenient way to do it. I've never seen Ro Tel tomatoes where I live (and I've looked!) but perhaps I can cobble together some equivalent.

I never thought of adding beer, that sounds glorious!
posted by torisaur at 8:47 AM on May 26, 2011

Chili uses cubed beef, not ground beef.

In a pinch you can use ground beef and beans instead.

My one tip for making chili is to put in chilis, preferably fresh, for a large portion of your heat rather than ground red pepper. Here is a good recipe into which you could substitute ground beef and beans. The spicing is particularly nice.
posted by caddis at 8:50 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been using this recipe from the Texas Beef council for years, with a few tweaks:

* Instead of boring canned jalapenos, I usually dice two fresh poblanos (not a lot of heat, but wonderful flavor) and two fresh jalapenos (or one or two fresnos, or whatever looks good; you can dial the heat up or down here.)
* I use tomato puree instead of canned whole tomatoes; it makes for a nicer (IMO) overall consistency than big chunks of tomato
* I Leave out the oil and don't bother with sautéing the onions & garlic; they're going to be in a crock pot for hours, which gives them plenty of time to mellow out anyway.
* It calls for cubed sirloin but ground beef works just fine, as does ground turkey. I guess it doesn't technically require a slow cooker, but I'd rather use that than watch something on the stovetop for the 2 hours called for in the recipe. Longer is better.
* It works really well with chicken too, especially dark meat - when I use chicken I just throw it in raw and let it cook.
* I usually wait until about 1/2 an hour or so before I'm going to eat before throwing in the seasonings, so they don't break down/cook away and lose potency (I could swear I picked that up as a tip from some show or another, but I'm not finding much validation for this practice now that I look around online. It may be silly superstition on my part.)
posted by usonian at 9:08 AM on May 26, 2011

definitely brown the meat first, and in the future, use finely cubed beef mixed with ground bison and/or chorizo for best results. The more meat, the better -- even a bit of diced bacon! Everything should be ground/chopped as small as possible -- nothing should be identifiable in the final product except small chunks of meat and (if you add them) beans. I like to use fresh everything except tomatoes, especially chiles and peppers, finely minced. And beer always helps!
posted by Chris4d at 11:19 AM on May 26, 2011

I like a nice brown ale or stout in my chili, and I also add worcestershire sauce and a bit of honey. But then, I like to experiment with what's on hand.
posted by davismbagpiper at 2:03 PM on May 26, 2011

I always add about a tablespoon of cocoa powder. It adds a deep note of flavor.
posted by annsunny at 2:22 PM on May 26, 2011

brown 1lb ground beef, and add in 1 onion & 2-3 cloves garlic to the pan. Once the onion is soft, spoon everything except the grease into the slow cooker.

2 cans black beans
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3-4 celery stalks, diced.
1-2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne (or more, if you really like heat)
1.5 tsp oregano
4-5 chipotles en adobo, chopped up. (again, add more if you want more heat.)

Stir and cover - cook on low for 8 hours.
posted by chbrooks at 3:08 PM on May 26, 2011

Here is what we use:

Brown 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin or ground round
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans--drained
1 (14.5 oz) can pinto beans--drained
1 jar of Tabasco brand "chili starter" (it's a thick liquid). If you can't get this, I would use a can of tomato sauce, and substitute rotel tomatoes for the crushed tomatoes above
1 7 oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (use whole can and include sauce)
1 bottle beer
1/2 cup chopped onion

Brown beef and onion--drain off fat. Mix all ingredients in crock pot or stove top pot and simmer until done. We serve this on top of baked potatoes or rice. Put a dollop of sour cream on chili to offset the spiciness and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on it too.

I've never made this in the crock pot--I just simmer on the stove top for about a half hour, but I think the recipe would work well in the crock pot.
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 5:33 PM on May 26, 2011

This is so simple...replace all but one can of tomatoes with Rotel brand tomatoes (they come in a variety of flavors, mild to spicy, jalapeños to green chili's or vice versa...also a jar of your favorite salsa works well also. I never ever use the seasoning packets those are way too salty! My chili is very popular if that helps ;).
posted by gypseefire at 6:31 PM on May 26, 2011

I like to add a drained can of sweet corn, and/or pre-soaked garbanzo beans (about 8oz dry) to my chili.
posted by galadriel at 10:37 AM on May 27, 2011

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