Mick Telkamp

Mick Telkamp

Chili is a slow cooker fall favorite.

"Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili."

- Kit Carson’s dying words

There’s no better tool for warming the belly on a chilly day than the slow cooker. With a little preparation at the start of the day, the slow cooker does all the work, burbling the day away as it waits for your return. Soups, stews and roasts are all good candidates for a long, slow cook, but everything from apple butter to zucchini bread can benefit from the ease of crock pot cooking. The options are endless, but few dishes are better suited to the slow cooker than chili.

There are a number of theories regarding the origin of chili. There is some mention of a dish resembling chili as far back as the 17th century, when Sister Mary of Agreda of Spain penned a recipe calling for venison or antelope meat, tomatoes, onions and chile peppers. Jumping forward to the mid-1700s, we find a dish created by immigrants from the Canary Islands settled near Bexar (the settlement location is now known as San Antonio, Texas). By the 1880’s, “Chili Queens” (typically Latin women preparing their chili at home) canvassed the streets of San Antonio, selling bowls of the spicy stew to cattlemen and military personnel.

Chili (short for “Chili Con Carne”) simply means meat and peppers, but recipes for what we now call chili are so varied it is hard to find a consensus on what “real” chili is.

Whatever your recipe, slow cooker chili is a fall favorite and the perfect meal when hunkering down in front of the TV for an afternoon of football or coming home after a long day at work. This simple take on the classic dish includes the onions, peppers, and chiles Sister Mary called for and makes perfect use of the canned tomatoes we put up back in August. We have elected to substitute beef brisket for the antelope.

A note on cook time: This can be ready in as few as four hours, but a longer cook time will make the meat even more tender. Don’t rush. They don’t call it a slow cooker for nothing.

Slow Cooker Texas Brisket Chili

  • 3/4 cup dried kidney beans
  • 1/2 lb. bacon
  • 1.5 lb. beef brisket, cubed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 chile peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 quart canned tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cup beef broth

Soak beans overnight or quick soak.

In a skillet, cook bacon and set aside.

Sear beef in bacon fat.

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for at least 8 hours (or set to high for 4 hours).

Garnish with shredded cheese and avocado, as desired.

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