Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Recipe #99: Paul's Winter Crock Pot Chili

By Paul Tatro

There’s nothing quite like the comfort and convenience of a good crock pot to warm you on an icy day.

Below is a list of suggested ingredients and basic steps for making a delicious chili using a standard crock pot; however, the beauty of crock pot cooking lies in its flexibility, so feel free to make changes as you see fit.

Paul's Winter Crock Pot Chili
(Serves 4-6)

Brown ground beef in skillet, drain. Put meat in crock pot. Add as many of the ingredients as you have. All quantities are approximations, so no need to be precise. Set to "High" for about 90 minutes, then turn to "Low" for 3-5 hours stirring occasionally.

1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 small can tomato paste
3 tomatoes (frozen or fresh, any kind)
2 cans of different kinds of beans (kidney, chili, red, black, garbanzo - you really can't miss)
2-3 bell peppers (mix and match colors if possible)
Fresh garlic cloves, chopped - as many as you like
2-3 chopped onions (any color is good)
1-2 shallots if available, chopped (optional)
Assorted other peppers if available (jalapeno, Serrano, banana, chili, dried or habeneros, be very careful with them!)

Spices and seasoning:
Chili powder -- lots of it, like at least 1/2 cup - add more if it still lacks "chili" flavor
Cumin -- generous amount, at least a tablespoon
Salt -- small pinch, add more if necessary
Sugar and/or honey -- 2 teaspoons or so
Pepper, black -- up to 1/2 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper and/or hot sauce -- use according to taste, slightly more than a pinch
Red wine (soured) or Vinegar -- quarter to half a cup
Olive oil -- drizzled in, not more than a tablespoon
Basil (fresh or dry) -- pinch
Oregano (fresh or dry) -- pinch

Suggested garnishes:
Sourdough bread
Corn bread
Corn chips
Cheddar cheese
Green onions/chives

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