Who doesn’t love a good slow cooker? Having the ability to have your tea ready as soon as you walk in the door, after work is one of the very few delights that everyone, across the board, can enjoy. They can help make the toughest of meats tantalizingly tender and help the most nutritious parts of your meal keep their goodness locked away. Better still, slow-cooker recipes only require the one pot- meaning less clean-up. Interested in reading more about benefits of a slow cooker? Check out our article, below!
The Best Chili Recipe for Slow Cookers
If you haven’t used a slow cooker before, this is the ideal recipe to begin. It’s simple, it’s affordable and it’s absolutely delicious. With over 1,000 positive reviews on All Recipes, this is a recipe that’s been tried and tested across the board- so you know it will be fantastic quality and a hit with guests. Even better, this is a recipe that is fully customisable and can be chopped and changed to suit both dietary requirements- and picky eaters, of course.
- Minced beef- 500g OR 1 1/4 lb OR 14oz
- Onion, diced- 1 whole, medium
- Celery, diced- 2 stalks
- Green pepper, diced- 1 whole
- Garlic, minced- 2 cloves
- Passata – 600g OR 1 2/3 lb OR 21oz
- Kidney beans – 2 tins OR 400g
- Cannellini beans – 1 tin OR 400g
- Chilli powder- 1/2 tablespoon
- Dried parsley- 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt- 1 teaspoon
- Dried basil- 3/4 teaspoon
- Dried oregano- 3/4 teaspoon
- Ground black pepper- 1/4 teaspoon
Method for Cooking Chili in a Slow Cooker
- Pop your slow cooker on warm, before prepping. This will ensure your beef won’t cool down and end up being reheated during preparation.
- Place the mince in a frying pan over medium heat and cook until evenly brown, being careful to stir, so as not to burn the mince.
- Drain the fat from the pan, then add the mince into your slow cooker.
- Chop up your celery stalks, green pepper and onions (pro tip: for fussy eaters who aren’t keen on their veg, you can cut your veggies as fine as you prefer- or miss out a particular type altogether!)
- Add your veg into the slow cooker and mix in with your mince
- Take your kidney beans and cannellini beans and add them to your slow cooker- including the liquid if you chose the tinned variety
- Using the passata as a base, mix in the remaining ingredients until evenly distributed and, finally, add this to your slow cooker, too!
- Mix well so the mince, vegetables and beans are evenly coated in sauce
- Cover, and cook 8 hours on Low.
- Serve up with some of your favourites- whether that’s rice, avocado, tacos or bread- and enjoy!
A Short History of Chili
Contrary to popular belief, chili con carne is not actually of Mexican origin. In fact, one of the earliest tellings of chili is from 17th Century Spain, while the first written recipe came to be known in 1926. Supposedly, the meal was made popular in Texas and spread through North America from there. Like most soups, stews and broths, chili was thought to be made by those who were poor, as well as for those who travelled a lot such as cowboys and those taking the Oregon trail.
However, instead of using minced meat as is preferred today, they pounded dried beef, fat, pepper, salt, and the chili peppers together- turning them into stackable rectangles which could be rehydrated with boiling water, easily. This was perfect for those on the road- and later in prisons, as well as for rangers and many others who were on the road. Chili was even eventually canned and sold to these markets by William Gerard Tobin, who had an eye for a great investment.
Due to it’s adaptability and affordability, chili joints boomed during the depression, when nearly every town boasted a joint that sold cheap chili to anyone who was hungry. Of course, these came in various formats- from established café types to sheds with a few stools and a warm blanket. Later, in 1952, the competitions began to spring up, which led to some tasty variations on an old classic as well as raising the status of the meal itself, to be recognised as a staple of American cuisine.
Why Use a Slow Cooker?
We’ve already briefly spoken about some of the benefits of using a slow cooker in place of the traditional hob cooking methods but there’s always so much more that you could be missing out on, if you’ve never used a slow cooker before.
For example, since one of the main reasons we all feel the need to get a take out is having the ability to eliminate the need to cook after a hard day’s work, it’s super handy to have everything you need in a slow cooker, ready and waiting for you, when you get home. All you need to do is throw in all the ingredients necessary in your recipe and stick your cooker on to the right heat. Then, when you get in at night, your food will be ready and waiting for you.
As well as that, most cookers are designed for larger groups (although you can buy pots for just one or two people), which makes them ideal for larger families without all of the pots and pans to clean up, after. This can make your meal times much easier, faster and- given that you can buy and create food in bulk- cheaper.
Finally, it’s completely safe to leave your slow cooker on all day (or night, if making something for the morning). It can seem pretty daunting to leave an appliance on for such a long time- especially one that concerns heating food- but they’re designed to give a slow, even heating process that means there’s no risk of burning food or cooking-related fires.