Putting chili in the slow cooker is an easy way to get the richness of a long-simmering stovetop chili. To start developing the flavors, sauté vegetables, ground beef, and spices, then put the mixture into the slow cooker along with tomatoes and kidney beans. Let the chili cook overnight or all day until it’s thickened and has a nice beefy flavor, then stir in jalapeños for a kick of heat. Serve it with cornbread or atop tortilla chips and cheese.
What to buy: Dried beans can be substituted for the canned beans if you prefer. Use 3 cups cooked beans in place of the canned beans.
Game plan: The flavors continue to develop as the chili sits, so go ahead and make it up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate it in a container with a tightfitting lid. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.
For the chili:
3 tablespoonsvegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, medium dice
1 medium red bell pepper, medium dice
6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cupchili powder
1 tablespoonground cumin
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 1/2 teaspoonskosher salt, plus more as needed
1 (28-ounce) candiced tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) cantomato sauce
2 (15-ounce) canskidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pickled jalapeños or green chiles, drained
Shredded cheddar cheese
Thinly sliced scallions
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and bell pepper, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin, stir to coat the vegetables, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and measured salt and cook, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the beef is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker, add the diced tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce, and beans, and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the chili thickens and the flavors meld, about 8 hours on low or 6 hours on high.
Stir in the jalapeños or green chiles. Taste and season with salt as needed, and serve with the cheese, scallions, and sour cream.