Monday, September 8, 2014

Mama Bear's Chili

Yesterday marked, for us, the official start of football season! I know there was a game Thursday but Sunday football is what it's all about. I never watched or cared about football until I met my husband. He LOVES football. After we got married we spent many Sundays and Monday nights cuddled on the couch watching football, him teaching and me learning. Somehow I became addicted and now I'm as excited as he is for the start of the season. Go Giants! (you'll get them next week...)

Of course, you can't have football without food. And the best fall-winter-football food in our opinion? Chili! So even though it's not quite cool-weathered fall yet, I pulled out the Crock Pot yesterday and got cooking.

Is it ready yet? That's always the worst part about slow cooking - it starts smelling so delicious long before it's ready and it honestly is torturous! Luckily chili is good to eat fairly quickly, although it definitely gets better over time and is the best the next day when it's really thick and flavorful. I'm sharing my recipe with you, but keep in mind that chili is a personal dish and though I give you the basics, it's up to you to make it yours.

Mama Bear's Chili

  • 4 bell peppers, chopped
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 5-8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 lbs ground meat or Italian sausage
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 3 cups cooked beans of choice
  • 2 14-15oz cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 3 tbsp pureed chipotles in adobo
  • 8oz can tomato sauce, no salt added
  • 1 cup bbq sauce (plain recommended but I'm working on my own recipe!)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp cider vinegar
  • Seasonings of choice - I usually include chili powder, garlic, onion, oregano, paprika and cumin and don't measure :-)
Special Equipment
6-quart slow cooker (I'm fairly certain this is a newer version of the Crock Pot I have)
  1. Cook ground meat in skillet. If using Italian sausage you can either cut off the casing and cook it like the ground meat or brown the whole sausages and then let them finish cooking in the slow cooker.
  2. Add all ingredients through canned tomatoes to your slow cooker. If your chipotle puree is frozen like mine, toss a few cubes into the slow cooker now. Otherwise add it to your sauce ingredients.
  3. Combine the tomato sauce, bbq sauce, brown sugar and cider vinegar in a large bowl or measuring cup. Add your seasonings and stir together. Pour the sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker.
  4. Cover the slow cooker, set it on HIGH and cook at least 3-5 hours. *If you left the Italian sausages whole, remove them after 3 hours, cut into chunks and return to the chili* After that point you can turn it to LOW or KEEP WARM and leave it all day as you steal little bits during the games.
  5. We like to serve it best with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar, a dollop of sour cream and a pile of Fritos for dipping.


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