Crock Pot Beer Chili from Natalie Chiles

Hi everyone!

I’m Natalie of nataliechiles.com, and I’m so happy to be helping Ashley out while she waits for her bundle of {sleepless-night-inducing} joy.  I’d love for you to stop by my site after you check out my chili; I blog about everything from Mod Podge to Juicing, and I’m also in the process of starting a photography business.

I love a good recipe for the crock pot, and I love a good chili.  Don’t you?  Especially this time of year when the weather is cooler, evenings are chilly and my stomach seems to be grumbling more and more because of all that online shopping.  What?  You don’t get hungry when you shop online?  *sheepish grin*

Regardless, you should check out my recipe.  I’ll list the whole thing in detail below, but before I do that I’ll walk you through the basics so you can see how yummy, delicious, and easy this recipe is.   Now, there are a few categories of chili in this world.  Mine falls into the “savory and flavorful” category.  If you want your mouth to be “on fiyah” like an Alicia Keys wanna-be, this is not the chili for you.  But there are many flavors in this one, and you could add spicy heat to it very easily by throwing in more chili powder, Tabasco sauce, more oregano… jalapenos….. you’re smart- put your own twist on it.  Just don’t leave out the beer.  Yup.  Beer.

The first thing to do is prep your veggies.  You might notice in my photo below that my onions look a little….mushy.  I had a new food processor to try out, and I got a little over-zealous with the chopping so they…turned to mush.  But it actually turned out lovely because there weren’t any huge chunks’o’onion getting in the way of the other deliciousness, but onion flavor was still there.  After prepping veggies, I open all my cans and drain what needs draining.  Then I start browning the onions and meat.  This time I used a bit of coconut oil, mainly because it was right there on the counter.  It did not affect the flavor at all- rad!

chiliingredients1

For my meat choices, I used 1 pound of Italian sausage and 2 pounds of ground beef.  For this recipe I choose to get a bit higher fat content in my beef- it’s more flavorful with more fat.  More fat=more flavor.  Not something I usually do, but this is chili- it’s special.

Do you have one of those flat wooden spoons?  For a while I never used them.  Then I realized they are perfect… PERFECT for cooking up ground meat of any kind.  The flat edge of the spoon helps you get everything broken up, and then you can easily shove stuff around the pan.  Love it.

While the meat cooks, I dump all of the canned stuff, the tomato paste, the cooked bacon, and the carrots & celery into the crock pot.

Then I add in the spices.  The spices shown below have specific measurements.  And be sure, when you’re measuring out the Worcestershire Sauce to say it the funny way- Worshtershire Shaushe.  :)

 

Stir it all up, and add your cooked meat.  I don’t necessarily drain the fat off the meat- I just spoon the meat into the crock pot and leave most of the grease behind.  After the meat is all incorporated, I do the “to taste” spices- and I totally eyeball it.  Sometimes I’m in the mood for basil, sometimes I’m not.  I’ll make a nice layer of spice on top, and then once I’ve checked them all off the list, I stir up the meaty, spicy goodness.

Here’s the best part:  the beer.  Pick a nice wheaty beer- I like any Hefeweizen variety.  I put in a whole bottle.  Yup.  The whole thing.

Savor the smells for a moment or two, and then stir it up. Turn on your crock pot, clean up your mess, and walk away.  RAD!

I think the most important thing is to give this chili enough time to cook down.  With a whole beer in there, it will be very “wet” and you want it to reduce to a nice, thick consistency.  This takes patience and time.  I would say this chili cooked for at least twelve hours before the beer was totally cooked off and worked into the meat.  You could easily make this at bedtime, set it to cook overnight, and then keep it warm for the rest of the day once it’s cooked down.  I would not, however, make this the day of, unless you want to cook it on the stove to just boil it down instead of going the slow route.

When your chili is done, you can top it with whatever you like.  I do not like a naked bowl of chili, but it’s really up to you.  Our family has started replacing sour cream with Greek yogurt.  We also put shredded cheese on our chili.  Yum.

And since you had plenty of time to be lazy while that chili cooked, you can whip up some corn muffins to go with it.  Jiffy is my favorite mix to use, or you can just make your own from scratch if you want to be super cool.

 

This chili is savory with lots of flavors.  It’s fun because every bite is different, too.

And now, here’s the real scoop with the whole recipe!

The Real Deal:  The Recipe

Natalie’s Crockpot Beer Chili

Oil for cooking meat (I used coconut, and no, my chili did not taste like coconut)

2 pounds ground beef

1 pound Italian Sausage

3 cans of beans, you pick ‘em (I used black, pinto and white), drained

2 cans of diced tomatoes with juice (do not drain)

1 can of corn, drained

3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and diced

1 large onion, diced

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

2-3 carrots, peeled & sliced

4-5 slices of cooked bacon

1 wheat beer (Hefeweizen or something along those lines)

4 tbsp Chili Powder

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. dry Oregano

2 tsp. Cumin

1 tbsp. yellow or Dijon mustard (whatever you have on hand)

 

To taste:

basil, salt, pepper, parsley, dry onion powder (not onion salt), ground mustard, white pepper

Optional:

1 (or more) box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, plus milk and eggs needed (see box recipe)

Greek Yogurt (or sour cream- they have the same effect but Greek Yogurt is way better for you)

Shredded Cheese

 

Instructions

(These are loose- it’s hard to mess this up):

Heat your oil in a large skillet and then throw in your onions.  Cook them until tender and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add your meats and cook them until brown, helping them mix and crumble into small, bite-size pieces of deliciousness.

While the meat cooks, open all of your cans, drain what you need to, and throw it all in the crock pot.  Stir it up.  Measure out your chili powder, cumin, oregano, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.  Put that in there, too.  Add your meat, bacon, carrots, celery, and stir.  Stir some more.  Stir it really, really well.  Add all of the “to taste” spices to your liking.  I eyeball it.

Pour in the beer.  Revel in how delicious this is going to taste.

Set your slow cooker.  How long you cook this depends on when you start, and when you want to eat it.  If you indeed pour in an entire Hefeweizen, it will take a while for it to cook down- at least 12 hours.   I would advise that you make this the evening before you are going to eat it.  Set it to cook on low all night, and in the morning check it- if the beer has cooked off and it’s not too wet looking, then just keep it warm all day.   If it’s still pretty wet, you can cook it on low for the morning and check it- as soon as it looks more like chili and less like soup, stop cooking it and just keep it warm.

Top that bowl with whatever fixin’s you like- sour cream/greek yogurt, cheese, Fritos…  And don’t forget your cornbread muffins!

What do YOU put on your chili?  I’d love to hear!