Slow Cooker Chili From Around the US
The Philly Cheese steak, the Chicago-style hot dog, New York pizza - it seems like every region has some special food celebrating its namesake, but did you know that chili is the same way? Across America, chili is made with a few subtle differences that make for some incredible flavor changes.
The next time you're craving a hearty, meaty dish, fix up some chili with some regional flair using your Crock-Pot® 4.5-Quart Manual Slow Cooker.
The Texas Twist - Beer, Chocolate and Chiles
Everything is bigger in Texas, and that goes double for the bold flavor combinations they use in a chili. The real magic of Texas chili comes from picking the right meat first. Always go for cubes of steak. Try searing them with a little oil and coriander before tossing them in the slow cooker.
All the other prep details are pretty by the book in terms of chili. Canned tomatoes, chili powder, onion, diced peppers - everything is standard except for three big ingredients. First, pour in one of your favorite beers while adding all the ingredients to the slow cooker. After applying heat, add in two last ingredients - guajillo or ancho chiles and a sliver of dark chocolate. The punch of the chiles is given a cooler flavor thanks to the beer and the chocolate adds a little more dimension to the sauce.
California Style - Turkey Chili Over Quinoa
California chili takes a different approach. It replaces the heat of the chiles with mellow poblano peppers and a hearty and healthy ground turkey. Chili powder, cumin, onion, bell peppers, white kidney beans and canned tomatoes are thrown into the slow cooker after browning the ground turkey in a skillet. Then, add a teaspoon of honey for flavor and a tablespoon of flour for consistency.
Before serving, prepare some quinoa and toss a little in each bowl, serving the chili over the top. Garnish with cheese, crumbled tortilla chips or pickled jalapenos.
The New England Burner - A Hot Pepper Medley
It takes something with a little extra oomph to get through the harsh New England winters. That's what spawned this classic, which has become a year-round crowd pleaser. Just make sure you're serving it with a side of cornbread and a little milk for guests that can't take the heat.
Like the Texas chili, the New England style uses cubes of steaks along with a little spicy ground Italian sausage and lean ground beef. Brown both in a skillet before adding to the slow cooker. The real magic comes from the hot pepper puree, however.
Ultimately, you can get creative with what peppers you want to use, but here's a suggestion:
- Piquillo roasted peppers - between 4 and 6
- Hot Pepperdew Peppers - between 4 and 6
- Jarred chipotle peppers with sauce - only 1 or 2
- Habanero peppers - only 1 or 2.
Throw your medley into a food processor with a little sauce and add that puree over the meat in the slow cooker with a little salt, brown sugar and the canned tomatoes.