Slow Cooker Three Bean Chili

This recipe is one I made up based on what I had on hand and ideas from several recipes on the internet – I experimented with mole sauce a while ago which uses cocoa powder without sweetness for a savory seasoning, and wanted to try it with a chili.  I used a 6.5 quart slow cooker (the largest type to my knowledge) and it was actually a bit too full, so I would cut back on the beans and the vegetables a bit to make it fit better another time.  My carrot was huge, probably the size of 3 normal carrots – it was a nice yellow heirloom carrot though!

Also sorry about the blurry pictures, some setting got changed on my camera, have to figure that out soon!

Slow Cooker Three Bean Chili
Spice Mix:
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika (hot or sweet or a mix)
1 tsp celery salt (or plain salt)

Chili ingredients:
1 cup coffee (leftover is fine)
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons tomato paste (about half a small can)1 can diced tomatoes, or whole tomatoes cut up
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 cups cooked white beans (or one large can)
1 can black beans (or 2 cups cooked)
1 can kidney beans (or 2 cups cooked)
1 small can (127 ml) chopped green chilies (with liquid)
1 pound ground beef (optional)
2 large onions, chopped
1 head garlic (about 16 cloves or use less if you prefer) minced or grated
2 rainbow peppers, chopped (I had red and orange)
2 carrots finely chopped (I used the food processor)
1 sweet potatoe, peeled and finely chopped (processor again!)

Gather the spice mix ingredients and stir to combine.chili 004

Mix coffee, molasses and tomato pasted and stir until combined.chili 001

Grease slow cooker insert and dump 2 cans of tomatoes, all the beans, and the chilies, then stir to combine. chili 002 I also added some fresh oregano and sage I picked when I was last at my parent’s place from their garden.

Brown ground beef (if using) in skillet over medium high heat.  Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the spice mix onto the meat for seasoning.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef and add to the slow cooker.  Stir to combine.  If necessary, remove some of the fat from the skillet, leaving enough to saute the remaining vegetables.

Saute the onion until it begins to brown.  Season with the remaining spice mix.  Add the mined garlic, peppers, carrot and sweet potato.  chili 005Saute until fragrant and vegetables begin to colour.  Scrape the vegetable and spice mix into the cooker.chili 006

Return the skillet to the heat and pour in the coffee liquid.  Scrape up any brown bits from the skillet and let the liquid simmer until reduced.  Pour into the cooker and stir.chili

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5.  You can definitely let it cook longer if you prefer! As you can see this was really too full – there should be at least 1 1/2″ space a the top for the best results in a slow cooker, but I’m hoping it will collapse a bit as the vegetables soften, and with this dish everything is previously cooked so I’m not too worried!

Result:  This turned out really well, you couldn’t specifically taste cocoa or coffee, but it did taste richer and more interesting than my normal chili.  I did turn it on high and leave the lid open a crack to reduce some of the thin liquid that cooked out of the vegetables, and it turned out nice and thick.  I also adjusted the spices to add some chili flakes and cayenne pepper for heat.  I will make this one again for sure!