Chili for a Crowd

chili.jpgChili is an easy meal

…to toss into the slow cooker for dinner on a cold, dreary winter’s evening, and it can easily be customized to your family’s preference. This recipe makes a very large amount, but don’t be alarmed – leftovers freeze very well, and make a great last minute meal. Leftovers are also delicious over pasta or baked potatoes. You can even top your eggs in the morning with a scoop of chili!

The key to this recipe is using dried beans.  It takes very little extra prep work, but has a huge impact on taste!  Due to the dry beans it has an extra long cooking time. Be sure to start your chili early in the morning, or the night before if you are planning a Sunday lunch.


4 cups dried pinto beans (can also use cranberry beans)
1- 1/12 lbs of ground beef or venison
1 large onion diced
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1 jalapeño diced  or half a poblano pepper diced
Additional hot peppers of choice: poblano, jalapeño, serrano, habanero, ghost peppers
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (fire roasted diced tomatoes are also nice)
2-3 Tlbs chili powder
Salt to taste
Toppings of choice: sour cream, cheddar cheese, sliced scallions.



Wash and soak 4 cups of dried pinto beans in a large bowl of water overnight. In the morning, drain water and rinse beans.

Place in large 6 quart slow cooker.

Brown ground beef in skillet.

Add ground beef, onion, garlic, jalapeño and any additional hot peppers to slow cooker.

Add canned tomatoes, then add enough boiling water to cover beans by 1 inch.

Add 2 tablespoons of chili powder.

Stir to combine and cook on high 8-10 hrs.

When ready to serve, add desired amount of salt and extra chili powder if needed. If you wish to make this for a Sunday lunch, you can cook it on low for 12-14 hours, starting it the evening before.

Top with sour cream, cheddar cheese and sliced scallions and enjoy with cornbread.

A note on hot peppers:

Even if you don’t like spicy food, I highly recommend adding a jalapeño for depth of flavor. It shouldn’t taste spicy. If you are hesitant about adding a jalapeño, poblano peppers are more mild than jalapeños and have a  wonderful taste, thus making them a great substitute. If you are aiming for a spicy chili using a variety of different peppers will give you both a great taste and depth of flavor as well as a big kick!


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