Homemade Chili | 15 Hour Slow Cooked
Chili is a comfort food suitable for cold days as well as blistering hot ones. For cold days, a nice hot bowl of Chili provides a shot of warmth to the body. For those days of heat, chili is still a go to as you do not need to fire up the oven to further heat your home up. You only need to use your slow cooker to make this delicious group of ingredients.
This recipe was handed down to me by my parents as I grew up eating this since I was a wee little whipper snapper. There are a few variations that I often make, but this recipe here is as close to the original as it gets.
Let's dive in!
First things first, you get your lean ground beef out and get a start with frying it until browned. If you are frying the beef from frozen, it is wise to add roughly 1/2" of water to the pan and cover it with the lid while frying. This will distribute the heat to the outer areas that are not touching the base of the pan far faster; therefore it will de-thaw faster as well.
Continue to flip the beef from side to side while peeling away at the browned meet from the uncooked portions.
Now that the beef is starting, I would set up another pan to cook some bacon at the same time.
For this Chili, I use a combination of the following:
- pork and molasses
- in tomato sauce
- in pork and tomato sauce
- maple brown sugar
- red kidney beans
- can of diced tomatoes
While the meats are cooking, zip off the cans of all of the beans and get them into the slow cooker. I recommend setting the slow cooker to the lower of the two main settings.
Go ahead and throw the beef into the cooker when it is ready. The beef does not need to be fully cooked when added it to the pot. This will be cooking for 15 hours, with plenty of time to get fully cooked.
The next two ingredients are of utmost importance to achieve the right flavour in this dish. Mushrooms and onion in raw form will not cut it either.
After chopping up your onion and mushrooms, it is imperative that you saute them in the pan for 5 minutes or so along with some olive oil. Skipping this step misses out on such added flavour. The sauteing process gives a sweetness to the onion while the mushrooms explode with flavour.
By now, hopefully, the bacon is fully cooked! Pat it down with paper towel to remove any excess grease and chop it into desired bite-sized chunks.
For my Filipino friends, sweet Tocino is a nice substitute for bacon as well!
At this point, I cut up an extra tomato and tossed it into the pot with the bacon chunks.
This is the time to put in the seasonings. The only 2 seasonings that I put into the dish are chili powder and cayenne pepper. Everybody has different tastes, but more often than not, you put nearly double the chili powder in compared to the cayenne pepper.
At this point, nothing gets added again for a while. You stir the pot, put the lid on and set the timer for 3 hours. This time will allow the ingredients that won't easily break down a chance for a head start on the lighter additions.
In a few small bowls, take your frozen peas, frozen corn and chopped celery and put them in the refrigerator. Once the timer goes off after the 3 hours, add these remaining vegetables to the pot. This is especially important for the celery as it can break down to nothing if put in too early.
My recommendation from this point on is to close the lid, maintain the 1st (lower) setting on the slow cooker, and set the timer for 12 hours.
Stir every hour or so. We often cook this meal overnight so that it is ready for lunch the following day. If you go this route, it is okay if you cannot stir until morning. In the worst case, there would be some dried-up Chili stuck at the bottom of the pot but it will not affect the quality of the Chili.
As always, butter up some bread or buns of your choice with some garlic variation and broil quickly in your oven for a few minutes to make the top golden.
There you have it. After 15 hours in the slow cooker on the lower setting, these flavours will blend together wonderfully. One of my favourite things about cooking this dish is that your home smells amazing with it for a couple of days.
Some people like putting a scoop of sour cream or plain yogurt into the middle of their bowl. I have tried this and it tastes great, but I find it more suitable for a spicier version. Since I have a 4 year old, this dish does not get too spicy.
Give it a try, it will not disappoint.
Thanks for reading!