Cauliflower + Beef Chili

1  1/4 lb cubed sirloin or stew meat
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 onion, diced
2-4 jalapenos, diced
15 oz fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
10 oz  (1 can) diced tomatoes with chopped chiles, drained
30 oz (2 cans) dark red kidney beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Spray a skillet with nonstick spray. Quickly saute the meat until the meat is just barely cooked on all sides. Add to a 4-quart slow cooker. Stir. In a small bowl, stir together the canned tomatoes, beans, vegetables, and spices. Pour over the meat mixture. Stir to evenly combine. Cook on low 7-8 hrs. Stir prior to serving.

Note: if the chili looks watery after 7-8 hours of cooking then turn the slow cooker up to high and leave the lid ajar for 30 minutes or until thickened.

My thoughts:
I do love a slow cooker chili! Lately, I’ve been trying to use less meat and bulk the chili up with vegetables. I do like vegetarian chili (this acorn squash chili is a favorite) but the meat makes it a bit more filling and it adds a richer flavor. I had a big cauliflower in the fridge so I thought I’d give it a shot. To my surprise, it really held its shape in the chili! It also sucked up a lot of flavor from the chili so it wasn’t like you were just biting into a bland piece of cauliflower. I used 4 whole jalapenos in my chili because they were not very spicy. They did add a lot of flavor though. Be careful if your chiles are spicier, you might only want to use two. 

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