"Crockpot Chili"

Crockpot Chili

So my mother will probably delight in the fact that something she bought on sale “for herself” (most likely circa 1970) and then gave to me is still in use and a valuable part of my kitchen equipment today.  It is, of course, the classic Crock-Pot.  And although there were years where I questioned whether this item was worth packing and unpacking each time I moved to a new place, I eventually came to appreciate it as much as the recipes in the accompanying cookbook. 

One of the recipes included in that cookbook for Favorite Chili is also listed on the Crock-Pot website but with slightly different ingredient proportions.  I am going to assume that either recipe will do, but in case you want the original in all it’s glory, try the version below.  I am also including another family favorite – Minestrone – which doesn’t seem to bear much resemblance to the real deal (but is really delicious!)

Favorite chili

  • ½ pound dry pinto or kidney beans
  • 2 – 14 ½ oz. cans tomatoes
  • 2 pounds coarsely ground chuck, browned and drained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • green pepper, chopped
  • cloves garlic, crushed
  • to 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt, to taste 

Completely soften beans before adding to the crock pot (sugar and acid have a hardening effect on bean and will prevent softening.)  Put all ingredients in the Crock-Pot in order listed.  Cover and cook on low 10 to 12 hours.   Cooks notes:

  • You can substitute 2 – 16oz. cans of beans, drained.
  • Green pepper – I can take or leave (usually leave) without drastic results
  • Ground turkey is, of course, a good alternative to the chuck 

Minestrone

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ pounds beef shank
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery with tops, sliced
  • 1 - 14 ½ oz. can tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen vegetables
  • ½ cup shredded cabbage (optional, in my opinion)
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup vermicelli or garbanzo beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 zucchini, sliced 

Place all ingredients in Crock-Pot except zucchini and pasta.  Stir to mix thoroughly.  Cover and cook on Low 10 to 16 hours.  During the last hour, remove meat from bones.  Cut meat and return to soup.   Add the zucchini.  Turn Crock-Pot to high and cook one hour.  Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Serve with crusty French bread.

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