Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Crockpot Wednesday: Chilly Day Chili

Chilly Day Chili
Rating: 5/5

Recently I was contacted by the folks at They wanted me to try one of their beef recipes for February which, apparently, was I ♥ Beef Month. Sorry. Didn’t quite make it. I made the recipe in February, but it’s posting in March.

When we had the crazy, cold, stormy weather last week my thoughts turned to stormy weather comfort food – stews and chilis. I checked out their website to find that they have a lot of excellent stuff on it. There are, of course, plenty of recipes that can be sorted by ingredients or even by cuts of beef. There is a nutritional section discussing what benefits there are from beef protein, a section explaining beef grading and labeling to help you when you are shopping, and cooking lessons to discuss different techniques of marinating, preparing, and cooking.

I searched through the recipes and found what I was looking for – a chili that was simple that I could do in the slow cooker. It was even aptly named – Chilly Day Chili. With only nine ingredients that you just throw in the slow cooker and walk away from, what could be easier?

The recipe calls for the beef to be cut into ½ inch pieces. Instead I went to La Superior supermarket on Stockton Boulevard. Ethnic supermarkets can often be cheaper than regular ones. They also often have more variety of cuts and types of meat. As luck would have it, La Superior had chopped beef on sale and it didn’t look bad either. I expected to see a lot of fat and gristle as they chopped up the worst bits of leftover beef carcass. Actually, there were few signs of fat and gristle and I was rather impressed by the look of it. This would be perfect for the chili.

For such a simple chili it is definitely hearty and flavorful. When I first threw the ingredients in the pot I was a little worried since it looked heavy on beans and light on tomatoes.  But the finished product came out great and I really enjoyed it. I like that the chopped beef gives it more meatiness and chew than ground beef.

Chilly Day Chili

2-1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck or round, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cans (15-1/2 ounces each) black beans, rinsed, drained
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) chili-style tomato sauce with diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup prepared thick-and-chunky salsa
Toppings: Shredded Cheddar cheese, diced red onion, diced green onion, diced avocado and dairy sour cream
Combine all ingredients except salsa and toppings in 4-1/2 to 5-1/2-quart slow cooker; mix well. Cover and cook on HIGH 5-1/2 to 6 hours, or on LOW 8 to 9 hours, or until beef is tender. (No stirring is necessary during cooking.)

Just before serving, stir in salsa; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through. Serve with toppings, as desired.

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