Easy Slow Cooker Chili
Ah, the crockpot, our favorite appliance for patient, no-stress, flavor-building cooking. Chili is one of the best things to make in the slow cooker, pretty much the easiest way to get the richness of a long-simmering stovetop chili. To start developing the flavors, sauté the vegetables, ground beef, and spices, then put the mixture into the crockpot along with tomatoes and kidney beans. Let it do its thing overnight or all day until it’s thickened and has a nice beefy flavor, then stir in jalapeños for a kick of heat. Serve with Skillet Cornbread or Buttermilk Biscuits, or as the essential component of Chili-Cheese Nachos.
Note: To use dried beans in place of canned, start with 1 cup dried beans, soaked and cooked to yield 3 cups.
Game plan: The flavors continue to develop as the chili sits, so go ahead and make it up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate it in a container with a tightfitting lid. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.
For the chili:
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, medium dice
- 1 medium red bell pepper, medium dice
- 6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pickled jalapeños or green chiles, drained
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Thinly sliced scallions
- Sour cream
- 1Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and bell pepper, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
- 2Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin, stir to coat the vegetables, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and measured salt and cook, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the beef is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.
- 3Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker, add the diced tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce, and beans, and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the chili thickens and the flavors meld, about 8 hours on low or 6 hours on high.
- 4Stir in the jalapeños or green chiles. Taste and season with salt as needed, and serve with the cheese, scallions, and sour cream.
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