Fact: chilis and slow cookers are a match made in heaven. Chili cooked on the stove is great but the slow cooker really does bring it to new heights. On the stove, I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to burn and due to the thickness it’s hard to get it heated evenly without stirring fairly often. That’s where the slow cooker comes in. You get a nice even cook with no burning on the bottom, plus you get a much more tender meat that falls apart easily and the beans are always fully cooked. This chili has a lot of great stuff going for it, even before you begin the process of slow cooking. Ground beef meets crumbled bacon meets smoky chipotle spices. The secret ingredient in this one is apple cider vinegar, which adds just a hint of tanginess. This is THE “Game Day” chili, folks. Serve it with rice or Corn Muffins on the side or have it as is. Garnish with whatever fixin’s you like: grated cheddar, avocado slices, chopped green onion, sour cream and sliced nacho style jalapenos are all great choices.
Slow Cooker Beef & Bacon Chili
(Makes 8-10 servings)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 6 slices bacon
- 2 green peppers, broiled with skins removed and diced
- 15 oz. dark red kidney beans, washed and drained
- 30 oz. pinto beans, washed and drained
- 30 oz black beans, washed and drained
- 45 oz. tomato sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 30 oz. beef broth
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp chipotle chile powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 handful (about 1/2 cup) nacho style jalapenos, diced
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rice (optional)
- cheddar cheese, grated for garnish (optional)
- sour cream, for garnish (optional)
- green onions, chopped for garnish (optional)
- cilantro, chopped for garnish (optional)
- avocados, sliced (optional)
- Nacho style sliced jalapenos, for garnish (optional)
- Cut the green peppers in half, lay them cut side down on a cooking sheet. Broil in the oven until the skins are charred, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a saute pan, cook the bacon until lightly crispy, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and chop into small pieces. Transfer bacon into a 6 qt. crock pot. Drain some of the leftover grease from the pan and set aside in a small bowl.
- Add the ground beef into the same saute pan used to cook the bacon. Brown the beef and crumble apart as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Transfer the beef into the crock pot.
- Pour the reserved bacon grease* back into the saute pan and add in the chopped onions. Cook covered on medium high heat until onions are translucent, about 7-8 minutes.
- Stir in the minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
- While the onions are cooking, pinch off the charred skins from the green peppers. Dice and transfer into the crock pot.
- Add the onion/garlic mixture, tomato sauce, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, beef broth, diced jalapeno, chili powder, chipotle chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and apple cider vinegar into the crock pot. Stir well to combine all ingredients.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high 4-5 hours. Serve with rice, corn muffins/bread, and garnish with cheese, sour cream, avocado, green onions or sliced jalapenos.
* Or you can sub in olive oil, butter or whatever cooking oil desired instead of bacon fat.