There is something so comforting about curling up with a warm bowl of chili on a cold winter day. Fortunately, it’s also an easy meal, as chili is incredibly well suited to being made in a slow cooker. Prep it in the morning, put it in the crock pot, and let the slow simmer meld all the wonderful chili flavours together.
The spicy smell and heartiness of chili evoke memories of childhood.
There are many different styles of chili. For me, it has ground beef and kidney beans, the way my mom made when I was a kid. This version incorporates my childhood memories of chili. It has lots of chili flavour, but not heat, which makes it a family friendly meal.
When we were kids, mom served toast with our chili. Nowadays I prefer to have some vegetables with mine, so I made a winter slaw to accompany this hearty dish. The crispness of the vegetables and the tangy flavour of the dressing are a nice contrast to the warmth of the chili and its sauciness. The slaw recipe is available here.
If you have children or other family members that don’t like much heat in their food, go ahead and make the recipe as written below.
If on the other hand you want some heat, add one more tablespoon of chili powder, up to a half teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper and a jalapeno pepper.
Recipe – Family Friendly Meat and Bean Chili
Makes 8 to 10 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ cups onion, medium dice (about 1 large onion)
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 cans (796 mL, 28 oz) no salt added whole tomatoes
- 1 can (540 mL, 19 oz) no salt added red kidney beans
- 1 can (540 mL, 19 oz) no salt added white kidney beans
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons ground chili powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoon table salt
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
- Heat oil in large frying pan on medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove onions from pan, and place in crock pot.
- Add ground beef to pan and cook through until no pink remains. Drain fat if necessary. Add cooked beef to crock pot.
- Open tomato cans and use immersion blender to break down tomatoes.
- Add tomatoes, kidney beans, sugar, oregano, pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika and salt to crock pot. Give everything a good stir and cover.
- Cook chili in crock pot on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours.
- Ladle into bowls and sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top.
Recipe Note: For a chili with heat, add one extra tablespoon of chili pepper, up to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a jalapeno pepper to crock pot at same time as other spices.