Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Slow Cooker Chili & Corn Bread

To me nothing is more comforting in the fall than a hearty, filling meal.  One family fave is Chili.  This is the way my mom made it growing up, almost like a refrigerator surprise type dish, a way to clean out the crisper! With the addition of whatever vegetables were nearing their demise, use mushy tomatoes in lieu of canned, add carrots, or squash, whatever!   It never turns out the exact same way twice!  Our family recipe is chock full of vegetables and beans, so much so, that you could easily omit the meat, and go full force vegetarian.
This recipe is very adaptable and could even stay on the stove top, rather than transferring to the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Chili

1 lb lean ground beef, or ground turkey, or chicken, or no meat!
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 green peppers, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2-3 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon  ground black pepper
1 can (28 oz/796 ml) whole tomatoes (break up tomatoes with spoon, or squeeze in hand)
1 can (19 oz/540 ml) mixed beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (19 oz/540 ml) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (19 oz/540 ml) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (19 oz/540 ml) garbanzo bean or navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (11.5oz/341 ml) corn niblets, or about 1 cup frozen corn 
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

Top of Form
Bottom of Form
In a large pan on medium high heat, brown your beef (or chicken or turkey).  Drain the grease, and then transfer beef to your slow cooker.  In same pan (no need to wash pan!) add celery, onion, garlic, red and green peppers, and saute for a minute or two until softened.  Add to vegetable your spices: chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt & pepper. Transfer veg to slow cooker.  Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas, and all your beans.
Cover and cook on low until vegetables are tender, 6 to 8 hours.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary, if you find it too acidic - add a Tablespoon of sugar!
Serve topped with Cheddar cheese, or sour cream and fresh chopped cilantro, and of course fresh baked corn bread.

We didn't serve it with cornbread growing up, but in my home, it must always be served with this sweet and light version of cornbread, or I'll never hear the end of it!

Corn Bread

1 cup milk or buttermilk (I add a tablespoon or 2 of lemon juice to 2% milk, as cheater buttermilk)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Prepare an 8x8 dish, or muffin tins, by greasing with butter or spray with oil.
In a large bowl beat together cooled butter, with milk and eggs.  Add all remaining ingredients to bowl, and stir all at once until flour is just moistened.  Batter will be lumpy!  Pour batter into prepared dish or tins, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.


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