Friday, October 5, 2012

Crock Pot Mexican Black Bean Chili

There's just something about chili in the fall. It's not quite winter, but the cold air is definitely on it's way so sometimes you just need that comforting warm up to remind you of the previous months. And when that warm up is in chili form, well, it just makes it that much better. And when it's a healthy chili it's like a double bonus!

I never used to be a fan of chili, but I've changed my mind over the years. Maybe that's because I don't eat your standard 'ground beef' chili. I think it's the texture that I can't quite get past. Mush maybe? Well, I first started liking chili when I had a spicy pork tenderloin version years ago. It was from one of the shows on the Food Network and I can't even remember what it was called. That chili changed how I look at the dish as a whole and will forever be an influence in the kind I prepare.

That's kind of how this version came about. As you can see from the picture, it has vegetables you can actually see, non-mushy beans, and chunks of meat. So - get this - you can actually taste all the different elements that make up this beautiful bowl of goodness. If you're in the mood, top it off with a little sour cream, shredded cheddar, green know, whatever floats your food boat. It's also exceptional when paired with my JalapeƱo Cheddar Cornbread. And yes, you will feel the need to dunk the cornbread. Go ahead and do it. 

It's also perfectly acceptable to lick the bowl for this one, too.

Crock Pot
Mexican Black Bean Chili

 1/2 c beef broth
 1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz)
 1 can crushed tomatoes (24 oz)
 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
 1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
 2 lbs cubed meat (stew meat or cut up round steak)
 1 can corn, drained
 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (membranes removed if you want less heat)
 1 md red pepper, diced
 1 med green pepper, diced
 1 lg onion, diced
 2 - 4 garlic cloves, minced
 1 tsp salt
 1/2 tsp pepper
 1/2 tsp cumin
 2 TB chili powder
 1/4 tsp smoked paprika


Fresh Method:
1. Put all ingredients into crock pot and cook for 4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low.

Freezer Method:
1. Put everything* but the beans in a freezer bag and throw it in the freezer.
2. When ready to cook, add frozen ingredients and beans into crock pot.
3. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours.
(*There will be extra moisture from the vegetables when you do the frozen method and they may become softer than the fresh version while cooking. I'd suggest chopping up the peppers and onion and keeping them in a zip-top bag in the fridge until ready to add them to the pot rather than freezing them with everything else. They'll stay fresh for about a week in the bag in the fridge.)

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