Note: This variation of my chili ran in an AgMag earlier this year. It’s funny, because I said in the column that I was “close to perfection” with this one, but the past two times I’ve made chili, it’s been dramatically different. We had so much zucchini in our garden, that I’ve been using it instead of beans in chili, and it’s a great substitute! Who knew?
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1.5 pound pork or beef boneless stew meat
2 green peppers, chopped
2 yellow or orange peppers, chopped
2 poblano peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, grated
2 12-ounce jars of chili sauce
2 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano (Aldi)
2 10-ounce cans of mild Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of hot sauce (your choice)
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
Other seasonings to taste: chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper
1. Set your slow cooker on low. Add the chili sauce, tomato paste and can of crushed tomatoes. Drain the cans of Rotel and diced tomatoes, and pour the contents into the slow cooker.
2. Separately, in a large skillet, cook the ground pork, ground beef and stew meat (in whatever order you’d like) over medium heat. I generally season each with salt and pepper, and add Worcestershire sauce while I’m cooking. After each is done, drain the fat and put them in the slow cooker.
3. While those are cooking, chop the vegetables and set them aside.
4. After the meat is done, in that same skillet pan, cook the veggies until they are tender. I usually cook the poblano and the green and jalapeno peppers together, seasoning with salt and pepper, and then the yellow/orange peppers and onion, with a few tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper. Grate some garlic over the pan when you’re nearly done. Pour that all in the slow cooker.
5. Now, it’s time to add all the seasonings or hot sauce you wish to include. The amount you use should be based on who you’re cooking for. If you’re like me, this is going to be cooking for at least 8 hours, so there’s always time to add more and adjust. If it gets too spicy, add a little more brown sugar.
6. Now, I hope you’ve made this a day before you plan to eat it, because that’s always the way to go. Maybe I should’ve said something before now, but ... surprise! Seriously though, chili is always best after it’s cooled down and been stored in the fridge overnight. Something magical happens. Then, the next day, put it back in the slow cooker and set it to low. When it’s nice and warm, enjoy!