After church, we had our families over for a casual lunch. I like to keep these kinds of events relaxed and low-key, so I planned a simple and seasonal menu:
Chicken Chili Verde
Baked Ham & Cheese Sliders
Fall Harvest Pear Salad
Various toppings and garnishes for the chili
I'm especially glad that I kept things pretty simple, because we had some unexpected home issues to deal with most of the day prior to the lunch, which kept me out of the kitchen almost all day. I had to nix my plans for a mini dessert bar, however, and ended up ordering a cake from a local bakery. It all worked out in the end, and the day was a big success.
In large part of course, thanks to this chili. Joey and I searched and browsed through countless cookbooks and websites trying to choose a chili to serve. In the end, we chose this one, because it's a little different than the standard ground beef chili, but still familiar.
This chili has big chunks of beef, a chile-infused sauce, kidney beans, and just enough spice to keep things interesting. It was a big hit with our families, and it is now officially our "go-to" chili. I know that Texas chili purists will point out that Texas-style chili doesn't have beans in it.... but well... I just like beans in my chili, so sorry not sorry. ;-)
Beef chuck is the meat of choice here, and while it is typically kind of tough, after 9 hours in the crock pot, it is melt-in-your-mouth-tender. It's super easy to prep, and then the longer it cooks, the better it gets. This was the perfect blend of spicy, smoky, and savory. Everyone loved it; so much so that I was kind of sad that there were barely any leftovers. It was 29 degrees this morning, and a big bowl of this would be have been perfect for dinner tonight. I think that will happen sooner, rather than later.
Crockpot Texas-Style Chili
barely adapted from America's Test Kitchen, Slow Cooker Revolution
serves 8 to 10
- 3 medium onion, minced
- 2 jalapeños, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3 Tbs vegetable oil
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbs cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 (15-oz) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
- 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup Minute tapioca
- 3 Tbs soy sauce
- 1 Tbs minced canned chipotle in adobo sauce
- 2 Tbs brown sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 (5-lb) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-2 inch chunks
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
In a microwave-safe glass bowl, combine the onions, jalapeño, chili powder, tomato paste, vegetable oil, garlic, cumin, and oregano. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring every 1-2 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker.
Stir the beans, tomatoes, broth, tapioca, soy sauce, chipotles, sugar, and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper, and stir into the bean mixture. Cover and cook on low until the beef is tender, 9 to 11 hours on low, or 5 to 7 hours on high.
Turn off the heat, uncover, and allow the mixture to settle 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the fat from the surface using a large spoon, discard the bay leaves, and taste. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the cilantro, and serve.