Chili Con Carne

Wow.  Happy New Year!  It has been over two months since my last blog entry.  I’ve been SUPER busy entertaining, eating, and spending much needed quality time with family and friends during the holiday season.  It’s a new year and I have all these recipes I have in mind to cook and share with everyone.

When my buddy Tony and I traveled to Austin on a business trip in 2006, we decided to walk from the Capital Building to the University of Texas.  It was a much longer walk than we both anticipated, but worth it because we got to experience delicious Texas food. While walking 20 blocks in the hot and humid Texas weather, we stopped at a few bars along the way for a few iced cold drinks and food.  There was one bar in particular, Texas Chili Parlor, that served one of the best Chili I ever tasted.  The hearty chili was made with chunks of tender beef, served over a bed of delicious crunchy Fritos, and topped with all the imaginable fixings on chili.

While looking through my ATK cookbook, the recipe description reminded me of the chili I ate at Texas Chili Parlor. This chili con carne recipe is for the slow cooker.  Slow cooker recipes are great! You do minimum amount of prep work and leave it up to the slow cooker to do the rest of the work.  When using a slow cooker, make sure you keep the lid closed!  Go run, exercise, sleep, shop, or play video games – whatever you do, just don’t open the lid every 15 minute because it will slow down the cooking process even more.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
5 pounds chuck roast, cut in 1 1/2 inch cubes
salt and pepper
8 ounces of bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can chicken broth
1 12-ounce bottle of Negra Modelo (or any dark beer)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 jalapenos, minced
1 large onion, diced
3-4 canned chipotle peppers
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 6-inch corn tortillas, torn into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice

Optional Toppings:
Cilantro, minced
Red onions, diced
Sour cream
Scallions, chopped
Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Hot Sauce

Steps:

  1. On medium heat, cook bacon until crisp.  Add bacon to slow cooker, and pour rendered bacon fat into a small bowl. 
  2. Pat beef dry with paper towels.  Add a few teaspoons of bacon fat to skillet and brown half of the beef on medium high heat.  Add first batch of beef to the slow cooker.  Add a few more teaspoons of bacon fat to the skillet and finish browning the rest of the beef.
  3. Add remaining bacon fat to the skillet.   On medium heat, add onion, jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Cook onions until it softens and stir in garlic with about 30 seconds left of cooking.  Stir in crushed tomatoes and scrap up any brown bits at the bottom of the skillet.  Pour into slow cooker.
  4. Cut or rip tortillas into pieces and combine with 1 cup of chicken broth in a bowl.  Microwave for 2 minutes.  Puree the mixture in a blender until smooth.  Stir mixture into the slow cooker.  Add remaining chicken broth, beer, chipotle peppers, sugar, and honey into the slow cooker.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 9 to 10 hours. Squeeze in lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. With about 1 hour left in cooking, create a topping bar with all the toppings you like. 

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