Three-Bean Slow-Cooker Chili

  • 2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 green or yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1/2 can whole tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1/2 cup bacon grease
  • whole cumin
  • oregano
  • basil
  • splash vegetable oil
  • about 1 cup water, maybe less
  • grated cheddar for garnish
  1. Day 1, morning: Put 2 cups pinto beans in a large mason jar (1/2 gallon) or bowl. Cover with water. Soak all day.
  2. Day 1, evening: Drain the pinto beans and put in a large pot, covered with water plus at least 1 inch more. Bring to a simmer and boil for about an hour.
  3. Also, prep vegetables and put them in the slow cooker. Put puree in slow cooker. Refrigerate. Chop the onion and reserve.
  4. Day 2, morning: Sauté the onion in the vegetable oil. When it starts to get glassy and soft, add the ground turkey or beef. Stir to break up chunks of meat.
  5. Add chili powder, be liberal about it. It should smell like chili. Then, add the bacon grease. Stir until melted and everything is coated. Pour into slow cooker.
  6. Add the herbs and spices. Stir.
  7. Last, add enough water so the chili will not dry out and singe. This may take practice with your particular slow cooker. Mine calls for maybe a cup of water or less. You don't want to submerge the beans/meat/veggies in water, but have liquid at least halfway up.
  8. Set on low and cook all day (for me that's about 10 hours). If someone is home, it can be stirred 2-3 times during the day.
I find the result to be an amazingly creamy, hearty dish with nice chunks of beans and meat and carrot, also a great smooth sauce with a superb mouthfeel. That would be from the bacon grease. Lately we have used Vermont Smoke & Cure bacon for our grease source, and when used in chili it imparts a subtle, smoky flavor that is quite a treat.


ValleyWriter said...

Wow - I bet the bacon flavor is just amazing!

"Prof. Kitty" said...

It is so good with the secret bacon! I think it helps me get away with leaner meats for the bulk of the chili, namely turkey. Smoooooth.