In my neck of the woods, we’ve been hit by an Arctic blast of ice, snow, and sub-freezing temps. Maybe I should be jumping up and down, shouting, “Yay! It’s finally winter!” or cheerily putting off complainers with a, “Well, Toto, I don’t think we’re in Miami anymore,” but — truthfully, I’m not thrilled with the weather outside, which is frightful. Nonetheless, it’s January, and cold is what it’s supposed to be here in Colorado at this point on the calendar. And because the fluffy white stuff is providing great soaking benefits to our new lawn without having to lift a finger or drag a hose (the irony of winter in Colorado some years), what my weather app shows provides me with the perfect excuse to pull out the crockpot and simmer up a batch of Smoking Hot Chili.
Cold is why chili was invented. The friend of outdoor sports enthusiasts and Super Bowl potlucks alike, this one is guaranteed to set you on fire — and intrigue your tastebuds — thanks to the addition of sweet and raisin-y Aleppo pepper. So put another log on the fire, pull out your crockpot and down booties, and get cookin’.
Crockpot Smoking Hot Chili Recipe
2 lbs ninety percent lean ground beef
1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
3 T medium hot chili powder
2 T Aleppo pepper
Note: Aleppo pepper, commonly found in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, is available through Penzey’s Spices. Although it ranks moderately on the Scoville scale, its charm comes with its latent heat, which develops slowly. I think of it as a subtle burn.
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
1 28 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 28 oz cans chunky tomato sauce
1 14 oz can pinto beans, drained
1 14 oz can black beans, drained
Shredded reduced fat 2% milk 4 Cheese Mexican
In large, heavy skillet, brown beef over medium high heat, breaking into small pieces, until no longer pink.
Add beef to crockpot and turn unit on low heat.
Add onion and spices, stirring to combine with beef.
Add tomatoes and beans, stirring gently to combine.
Place lid on crockpot and let simmer for 6 to 8 hours.
Serve in warmed bowls, topped with one tablespoon shredded cheese per person. Serves 8.
Stephanie Davis, CWE and “The Wine Heroine” wants to give Nero d’Avola, the “black beauty” a chance to shine with this spicy chili. One of Sicily’s prime red grapes that doesn’t get a lot of attention in the United States, Nero d’Avola is a wonderful food-pairing wine with light body, expressing notes of black cherry, blueberry, and earth. Stephanie recommends this bottle from Cusumano, priced under $20/bottle.
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