The nice thing about making chili in a slow cooker is that there’s less risk of burning the bottom of the pot and therefore less need to watch it closely. You can go about your afternoon and come home to a nice hot bowl of spicy, meaty goodness. It’s also pretty quick compared to other slow cooker recipes – 4 hours on high and you’re good.
In the winter, when fresh tomatoes are either not around or taste like cardboard, I like to use canned whole peeled tomatoes. A combination of beans is also a nice touch. Little adzuki beans are sweet and offer a nice contrast to larger red kidney beans in both taste and size. Another interesting modification is the use of ground lamb along with the beef.
A note to the chili purists out there: I totally get that this is not an authentic, rancher-style, traditional-type chili. Adzuki beans are from Japan, not Texas, and the addition of lamb could potentially raise an eyebrow, but whatevs. I make no claims.
Lamb and Adzuki Bean Chili – serves 4-6
1 T cooking oil (canola or olive)
1 onion, diced
1 T tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and minced
1 – 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
3/4 – 1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground beef
1 – 15 ounce can adzuki beans, rinsed and drained
1 – 15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 t paprika
1/2 t chili pepper flakes
1/4 – 1/2 t salt
cheddar cheese, grated
fresh parsley, finely chopped
Heat the oil in a skillet over a medium flame. Add the onion and begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, garlic and peppers with the onions and stir to combine. Lower heat and continue to cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion is caramelized and pepper is softened. Remove from heat.
Pour the liquid from the can of tomatoes into the slow cooker. Remove the stems from the tomatoes and loosely chop into 1/2 – 1 inch pieces. Add the chopped tomatoes with the kidney beans and adzuki beans to the slow cooker.
Combine the ground beef and lamb with the chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and chili pepper flakes. Add the meat mixture to the slow cooker. Set to low and cook for 4 hours or high.
Serve hot, topped with a good amount of grated cheddar cheese and parsley, and a nice piece of fresh crusty French bread.