Chili is one of those foods that can be made in many ways..... it is so versatile. You can replace beef with turkey, white beans with pintos and add other veggies such as green peppers and corn. Or go completely vegetarian and exclude the ground beef. It's one recipe that can be tailored to your own families food preferences. And, you can make a big batch and freeze half for a later time. How nice is that when you can have homemade chili in a snap?
This chili recipe is not the quick kind, in fact it's more like a two day event! I like to use dry beans since canned contain so many ingredients I cannot pronounce and there can be too much sodium. Plus, using dry allows me to season them as they soak and subsequently cook.
Lori's Chili Recipe
1 cup dry kidney beans
1 cup dry black beans
1 cup dry pinto beans
1.5 pounds lean ground beef
2 whole jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and diced (less if you don't like it too hot)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 large roma tomatoes, diced
1 15oz can tomato sauce
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoons salt
1Tablespoon Chalula sauce
First, rinse the beans thoroughly and place in the slow cooker. Cover with water 2 inches above the beans and let soak overnight.
The next morning, thoroughly rinse the beans, put them back in the slow cooker and cover again with water two to three inches above the beans. Set on low for 5-6 hours until just tender. I say 5 to 6 hours since some slow cookers are, well, slower then others. I had mine simmering while I was at church.
When the beans are done, remove most of the water from the crock pot. I leave about a cup of the liquid in there for flavor. If you leave it all in there, you will have pretty runny chili. Everyone is different. I like mine so thick you can stand a fork it in, but leave enough to suit your taste. Add in all the remaining ingredients except the beef.
Brown the ground beef in a large sauce pan, drain and put in the slow cooker. I used 97% lean ground beef. It is more expensive, but I think the flavor is worth it. Stir in the beef and simmer for another 2 hours before serving. Every 30 minutes or so, take a bite to see if it's to your liking. Some of the flavors, especially jalapenos, get hotter as they cook so taste test it initially and then as you go along. You may need to add a bit more Chalula, water if it's too thick, salt or pepper. It's up to you.
Serve with your favorite corn bread, french bread or even in a bread bowl. I topped it off with some shredded cheddar cheese.