I made crock pot chili last weekend and had a couple general questions:
1. Every chili recipe I have found, whether it be for a crock pot or traditional stovetop pot, instructs you to brown, or at least partially brown, the meat before adding it to the pot.
Is this really necessary, particularly for the crock pot? I've added whole raw roasts to a crock pot before and they end up cooked all the way through.
It would save me a lot of time making chili if I didn't have to brown 4 lbs of ground beef in a skillet before adding it to the crock pot. It's not as if I'm trying to sear it first or anything.
2. What is the ideal cooking time for crock pot chili, and does it matter much if you go over this amount? I have seen recipes calling for anywhere from 4-10 hours of cooking on low. If it's cooking on low, is there really any risk of overcooking?