Thursday, January 7, 2010

Recipe #4: Chili MY Way

The reason I have two crock pots is simple: to make more chili. My first crock pot is a 3.5 quart Rival crock pot that was given to me when I was in college by my parents as a birthday gift.

I didn't really use it much until recent years, when I discovered how fun it is to make chili. Eventually, I started making batches of it to take to work for the guys, but the small pot sloshed in the car because the chili barely fit. The other problem was having enough chili left for for home too. Eventually I decided it was time for another, bigger crock pot. Behold, my 6.5 quart crock pot:

From then on, I made one batch for home in the small crock pot, and a spicy version in the big one to take to work. I started with a base recipe that I found on, and over the course of many batches, I've changed and added to it. I've decided to share my secret recipe, so here it is!

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef, browned and drained
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage (sweet, or hot if you like hot chili), browned
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (petite diced work well for those who don't like big tomato chunks)
  • 1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or more….)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or to taste, I sometimes double it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (or more…)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chili powder (or more…)
  • Extra dehydrated powdered hot peppers, jalapenos, or anything else to make it hot according to your tastes
Place everything in a large (6qt or bigger) crock pot on LOW for 8 hours.

Top with sour cream, crackers, cheese, jalapenos, or put on spaghetti or rice. Makes great leftovers.
My favorite change that I've made to this recipe is the addition of italian sausage. It creates a fuller flavor and a meatier chili. You can easily change the spices and the types of tomatoes and beans being used.
TO SAVE ON CLEANUP: I've recently tried and fallen in love with crock pot liners. They don't make your food taste weird, or burn, or anything that I'd previously thought might happen. They save so much time, especially for recipes that create a ring of burned food at the top.


  1. Holy crap - we need to get some of those liners! And the sausage seems like a pretty great twist on the classic chili formula. We'll have to try that out next time we make chili.

  2. Yeah it doesn't overpower it- it's subtle but makes a big difference at the same time.

  3. I add sausage to my meatloafs and spaghetti too. Also, you should try using San Marzano whole tomatoes in puree in your recipes. Just crush them up with a hand blender or whatever. They are the best canned tomatoes I have ever tasted.