January 30, 2009

Chili Parlor Queen Chili

2 lb very lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 whole, jarred pimiento, chopped
30 oz canned dark red kidney beans, drained
30 oz diced tomatoes in juice
3 tablespoons chili sauce (like Heinz)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Montreal seasoning
1 tablepoon yellow hot sauce (I used Miss Hatties)
2 teaspoons cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
1 teaspoon dried celery flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon hot Mexican chili powder
1 teaspoon ground jalapeno
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon ground chipotle
1 teaspoon ground cumin

serving suggestions:
tortilla chips
sour cream
chopped onion
sharp cheddar
diced avocado

In a skillet, lightly brown the ground beef. Drain off any excess fat. Place all ingredients (including the beef!) in the slow cooker and gently stir to distribute the spices. Place on low for 9-10 hours. Stir before serving.

Serves: about 6

My thoughts:
I think this is the best beef chili I have ever had. As I am sure you can tell by my recipes I really more of a pork person than a beef person but this was so good. I was amazed. Beef can really hold up to a long cooking time and becomes incredibly tender and tasty-perfect for chili. I wasn't sure what time we'd be eating dinner so I wanted something really forgiving. This chili more than fit the bill. The longer it cooked, the better it smelled and tasted.

The spices are fairly traditional but the chili sauce and chopped pimiento add a bit of depth of flavor while adding some moisture to the chili without needing additional water, broth or fat. This particular chili has sort of a lightly sweet+smoky+hot and spicy thing going on that left me wanting more. I think I had two bowls the first night then another big bowl the next morning and I've already made it a second time. It was that good!

Note: I know it can be tempting to use a higher fat ground beef (people find it tastier, it is cheaper) but using a lower fat beef-90-94% fat free-is best for chili in the slow cooker. Even if you drain the fat off after draining, the meat still releases some additional fat as it cooks. If the fat content is too high, your chili will probably end up being pretty greasy. The lower fat beef has tons of flavor and you don't get the oily chili issue.