Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Pepperoni Pizza Chili, version 2.6

A friend of mine recently discovered she and cumin don't get along at all, digestively. So the question was floated: is it possible to do chili without cumin? Challenge Accepted.

Pepperoni Pizza Chili (feeds 6)

3 pounds ground beef
1/2 bottle of beer (yes, the other half is supposed to go in the cook) or red wine
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained (did you know they pack kidney beans in corn syrup?)
2 cans tomato paste
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained (I used regular & flame-roasted)
1/2 bag frozen diced onion & bell pepper strips, or 1 onion + 2 bell peppers, diced
2 tsp italian seasoning
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper (skip if you use a can of rotel tomatoes)
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp garlic
1 pack pepperoni pieces, cut in thirds
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp smoked salt

Fills my 4-quart slow cooker to the top, so you may want to use a 6-quart slow cooker instead. Also, I like my chili thick enough to hold its shape when scooped out. If you like it thinner, don't drain the tomato juice from the cans, and put the rest of the beer in the crock pot instead of in the cook.

1. In batches small enough for your frying pan, brown the hamburger and fennel, black pepper, and red pepper. If you're not using a frozen stir-fry mix, saute the diced onion. Deglaze the pan with beer or wine (or water, if you don't have/want the alcohol.)

2. After dumping the ground beef in the crockpot (or inbetween batches), drain and rinse kidney beans. Add to crockpot.

3. Drain & add diced tomatoes. If you like it soupy, add without draining.

4. Add tomato paste, italian seasoning, oregano, garlic, and basil.

5. Add Worcestershire sauce and smoked salt. If you're using the frozen pepper & onion, add it now - if not, add diced green bell peppers.

6. Cut the pepperoni pieces into thirds, add.

7. Turn slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours. At some point, wander by and stir the dish, so the pepperoni pieces get broken up and everything is evenly distributed.

Serve with a salad or coleslaw or something, and garlic bread if you can stand the carbs. Goes great with a cabernet sauvignon, and the company of good friends.