This is my favorite recipe for classic chili. What constitutes classic chili may vary from person-to-person, depending on what region you’re from.
For example, in the southwest… Pork, chili peppers and tomatillos come together to make chili verde, a regional specialty. Texas favors the bean-less, vegetable-free, chili con carne. Vegetarians everywhere rejoice when tofu chili is served. Which, by the way, is just as tasty as any meaty version. The common thread with all these regional varieties? Any chili, when prepared properly, is good chili.
I grew up eating beef chili with a tomato base that was overflowing with kidney beans. I am a huge proponent of beans in chili. I love the texture, flavor and health benefits beans bring to the table. They are hearty and go perfectly in a pot of chili, helping balance the spices, tomato and meaty flavors. When I make classic chili, I just use kidney beans, but black beans are a great addition as well.
This chili has a low-medium spice level that increases the more you eat. This recipe is simple, classic, easy and delicious. Make some for an easy weeknight meal or please a crowd on football Sunday!
Slow Cooker Chili
Adapted from Better Homes & Garden Cookbook
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
1 cup green pepper, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3/4 lb dry kidney beans – soak the night before
2 14 1/2 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 14 1/2 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
6-8 teaspoons chili powder
2-3 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
Soak the kidney beans overnight in a pot of water. You can also use 2 cans of dark red kidney beans in place of dried.
Turn your slow cooker on low and cook for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
Add the kidney beans, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano and black pepper to the slow cooker.
Over medium-high heat, cook the beef until almost done. Add the onions, bell peppers and garlic to the pan. Cook for 3-4 additional minutes and add to the slow cooker. Mix until everything is thoroughly combined, cover with the lid and leave it alone. Stir every few hours, if you are around.
The chili is done when it reaches your desired consistency, somewhere around 5-6 hours when cooked on high.
You can freeze any leftover chili for 2-3 months.
Serve with sour cream, cheddar, green onion, bread, saltines or oyster crackers.