Here is a great-tasting, stick-to-the-ribs chili that is perfect for a family dinner or casual evening with friends. The combination of milder New Mexico and ancho chili peppers gives the mix unique flavoring, and the optional fresh chili peppers will satisfy any heat seekers in your group. Serve this with crusty country bread, a big green salad and robust red wine or ice cold beer.
1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add beef, in batches, and cook, stirring, adding a bit more oil if necessary, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, peppercorns and salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and cook, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until desired consistency is achieved. Add 1 cup of the beer and bring to a boil.
3. Pour mixture over beef. Add beans and stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours, until beef is tender.
4. Half an hour before recipe is finished cooking, in a heatproof bowl, soak ancho and New Mexico chiles in 4 cups boiling water for 30 minutes, weighing down with a cup to ensure they remain submerged. Drain, discarding soaking liquid and stems and chop coarsely. Transfer to a blender. Add cilantro, jalapeño, if using, and remaining beer. Purée.
5. Add chile mixture to stoneware and stir well. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes until mixture is hot and bubbly and flavors meld. To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish.
This dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked. Complete Steps 2 and 4, heating 1 tablespoon oil in pan before softening the onions. Cover and refrigerate tomato and chile mixtures separately for up to 2 days, being aware that chile mixture will lose some of its vibrancy if held for this long. (For best results, rehydrate chiles while the chili is cooking or no sooner than the night before you plan to cook.) When you're ready to cook, brown the beef, or if you're pressed for time, omit this step. Continue with the recipe.
Judith Finlayson is a bestselling author whose lifelong love of food and passion for cooking has translated into sales of more than one million cookbooks. In 1994, she received the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for her work in communications. Judith and her husband reside in Toronto, Ontario. Visit her at judithfinlayson.com.
Author: Judith Finlayson
Other Works: The Healthy Slow Cooker, Slow Cooker Comfort Food, The Vegetarian Slow Cooker, 125 Best Rotisserie Oven Recipes, The Convenience Cook, The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook and more.
What's Inside: Slow-cooker recipes to help you prepare delicious and nutritious homemade meals, even on the most hectic days. This handy guide contains 60 recipes created especially for this volume plus many favorites from the author's earlier slow-cooker books. These ideas range from everyday delights (like Mom's Meat Loaf) to company-worthy treats (think Delectable Apple Cranberry Coconut Crisp).
You'll find yummy vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options, suggestions for getting a head start, creative variations and many other insightful tips. Perfect for busy families, this easy-to-follow collection is designed to produce outstanding results with a minimum amount of effort.
Time Out: 320 pages
Available: $24.95 hard cover at Amazon and other book retailers
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