Monday, March 28, 2011

Slow Cooked Chili with a secret ingredient

This is one of my favorite prepare-and-forget dishes, because the prep time is, at most, 15 minutes. The crockpot does the rest. It’s a dish that can be slow-cooked for 6 to 8 hours.
I’ve been making chili in crockpots for years now, but this is a recipe I got from my brother when I went to Columbus for Thanksgiving week last year. The secret ingredient is cilantro as a garnish, but I know people either love cilantro or hate it, so it is optional. It’s also the first time I’ve had garbanzo beans in chili (now I’m addicted to it) so I guess there are really two secret ingredients.
The picture above was taken with chili I made with beef. The intent was to use ground turkey, but I defrosted the wrong meat so I used that instead.
Chili makes for excellent leftovers. In fact, I sometimes think the chili tastes better after a day or two in the fridge. You can even use it to make Frito pies or chili dogs.
I also make chili completely from scratch. I’ll share that recipe with you in the future.

3 or 4 cans of beans:
Any beans will do; the quantity depends on the size of your crockpot. For this recipe I used:
  • 1 can low-sodium garbanzo beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can mayocoba Peruvian beans 
1 1/2 large white onion
1 jalapeño
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 package McCormick Mild Chili Spice
1/2 package McCormick Hot Chili Spice
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 bunch green onions diced
1 can stewed or diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
2 tsp tomato paste (optional)

Dice the onions, garlic and the jalapeño. Add these to the bottom of the crockpot, then add the raw beef or turkey and about 3/4 of the spices and the can of stewed/diced tomatoes. Stir a couple of times then cover and cook for the first 3 to 4 hours on high, then turn the heat to low and add the rest of the spices and the beans. Cover and finish the cooking; if you have time, stir it occasionally. About 30 minutes before the chili is done, add about half the green onions.

If the consistency after cooking is too runny, add about 2 teaspoons of tomato paste to thicken the chili.

If you like cilantro as much as I do, use it as a garnish to get a whole new twist to the chili flavor (one I’ll be using for years to come). Whether or not you use cilantro, top the chili with remaining green onions. Other fun toppings are cheese, croutons and sour cream.
I usually serve my chili on rice, but you can just serve it in a bowl.

Prepared on 2011-03-18 (Tulsa, OK), Photograph by Michael Findley


  1. Looks totally yummy! You are a great food photographer!

  2. I am really impressed with the recipes and the pictures! Can't wait to try some of your recipes...think I will try the crock-pot chili first.(And I love cilantro!)

  3. I love cilantro too, I use it every chance I get.