Sunday, January 6, 2013

Eat Something Sunday: Crockpot Cowpoke Chili

Welcome to a new feature! As I love to cook and love to bake (and have a healthy enjoyment of eating), I've decided that I'll be sharing a recipe each Sunday. I'm starting out with one of my favorite winter (and occasional summer) meals: chili. This recipe is done in a crockpot and is easy peasy and amazingly delicious. It makes a hearty dinner, perfect for a simple night in.

I'll preface my first recipe post with a little hello to my British (and other non-US) readers. Hi! I'm American! Even when living in the UK, I cook and bake with US Customary Units. They are similar to, but not identical to, Imperial Units. One of these days I might start weighing everything on a scale all Nigella-esque, but let's not hold our breaths. Conversions are easily available, and/or you could just pick up a set of American-style measuring cups and spoons.

Crockpot Cowpoke Chili
Crockpot Cowpoke Chili**
adapted by me from a stovetop recipe my mom jotted down from memory of seeing it on a cooking program a while back.

fills a 4.5 quart CrockPot (or similar slow cooker) to the brim

1 - 1.5 lb. ground beef, browned (that pack in the photo is about 2.5lbs - I froze the rest)
1 medium onion, chopped (today I had 2 small ones - it works out the same)
2 or 3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
salt and pepper to taste (I prefer to add these, if at all, just before serving)

2 qts tomatoes w/the juice - chop if whole (I like peeled Italian plum tomatoes the best)
8 - 12oz tomato sauce (either size is fine - it just adds a bit more punch of tomato taste)
12 oz tomato paste
14 oz (1 standard can) beef broth or stock (in this case I used about half of a large carton).
1 - 2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
3+ Tbsp chili powder (to taste)

optional: 1 can red beans (if you like beans in your chili. I think it's an abomination).

**again, British friends, this is nothing like the weird concoction you call Chili con Carne and serve over rice. I have no idea what that is. But it isn't Chili. :(

1 - Toss all your tomato products into your slow cooker. If your peeled tomatoes are whole, gently slice them into smaller pieces with a knife (this can easily be done in the pot).

2 - Brown the ground beef and drain off any fat.
My stove is not pretty. It is old, worn, and stained. A peril of renting.

3 - Stir the beef into the tomatoey goodness.

4 - Chop up your veggies. If I have any on hand, I like to add a bit of chopped jalapeno. If you want a bit of a softer pepper taste, yellow or red bell peppers can be nice, too. Once chopped, toss them in the pot. (If you know you can't leave your chili cooking for as many hours, you might like to soften your veggies a touch in a pan before adding to the pot).

5 - Pour in your beef broth/stock (honestly, either work fine - I find Swanson's stock to be rather nice and flavorful) and add the herbs & spices. (If you're unsure of how strong your chili powder is, start with less and add more in a couple hours to taste).

6 - Stir, stir, stir! (If you're a bean-lover, this is when you'd add in a can of drained red beans....eww).

7 - Pop the lid on that pot, set it on high, and leave it for at least 4 hours. I recommend 6-8 for the most flavor. The longer it sits, the more complex the flavors become and the more developed the chili powder tastes. Stir it every couple of hours and give it a taste. If you want to amp up the flavors a bit, add more seasoning. Make it your own! Yes, my Crockpot has some stains. It happens. I give her a scrub as I can, but I use this little workhorse a lot.

8 - Enjoy! We like ours around here with shredded cheese and corn chips.

Next Sunday I'll be sharing a baked something. Leave a comment if you give the chili a try, I'd love to know what you think!


Meryl said...

You've just reminded me that we haven't had a good pot of chili yet this winter. Must remedy soon!

laura kate said...

@Meryl - it really is so lovely when it's cold and dark. We've been having it about twice a month since November. :)

trishie said...

That looks awesome, saving this recipe for when the weather turns cool here.

Erica said...

I usually make my chili on the stove, but now I want to try out doing it in the crock pot. Love the name... 'cowpoke' makes me giggle!

laura kate said...

@Trishie - even if you're in the dead of summer down there, it's makes for a tasty dinner! :p

@Erica - I grew up doing it on the stove, but found that going the slow cooker route makes it so much easier and you get less of that gooey tomato mess stuck to the bottom. Plus, you can then have weekday chili if you work outside the home! Leave it on all day and come home to awesomeness!

Candy Pop said...

Yummy. I like the look of those big tins of tomatoes! :)

laura kate said...

@Natasha - Large quantities of plum tomatoes = the best. I grew up having the joy of the home-canned variety in mason jars which is even better. I might get to transport some back with us next time I visit my parents. :)

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