Hello, all! Hope your Thanksgiving was as fun-, food-, and family-filled as ours. Well, maybe not quite as much “fun” — I certainly hope nobody else was stuck at the airport for 9 hours on Turkey Day. But that’s a story for another day. Today I want to talk to you guys about Crock Pot Chili and slow cookers**.
Does anyone else remember those Crock Pot infomercials from a while back? A raw chicken and some uncooked rice and vegetables are put into a pot, and then the next thing you see is a perfectly roasted, perfectly carved chicken, perfectly positioned on a bed of steaming rice. When I was a kid those commercials blew my mind. I could not fathom how a machine could turn a raw chicken into a roasted, carved chicken in just a few hours. Did the chicken get carved while it was still inside the slow cooker? How did the ingredients all get so perfectly mixed and portioned in the pot? Was it magic???
A few weeks ago, the good folks at Tesco Direct sent me a gorgeous, 6 quart stainless steel Crock Pot slow cooker to review. This was super exciting because 1) I’ve always wanted a proper slow cooker to make soups, roasts and other yummy dishes (the one I had before this is only 1.5 qt, and is basically a glorified dip heater/fondue pot), 2) I love getting free stuff, and 3) I wanted to satisfy 5-yr old Tina’s curiosity about the mysterious, magical, Crock Pot.
I don’t know if it has any magical properties, but my new Crock Pot slow cooker is certainly a thing of beauty — shiny, stainless steel exterior, gleaming black removable stoneware interior, and sturdy plastic handles + lock-in lid for easy portability. Just based on looks alone, I’m a fan. But, a product review can’t just be about appearances! So, to test this baby’s functionality, I decided to make a big pot of good ol’ fashioned chili. Mmm.
In case anyone is wondering, there were no elves hiding inside my Crock Pot waiting to chop my meat and season my chili (sorry, 5-year old me). The only magic that happened was that the steady, regulated heat generated by my slow cooker cooked everything in the pot to perfection. The meats and vegetables were cooked through evenly, and stayed tender despite the longer cooking time. And, because all the cooking took place in one pot, all of the juices released during the cooking process were simply soaked back in over time. The resulting chili was juicy, packed with flavor and unbelievably delicious. I can’t wait to try making roast chicken and pulled pork in this thing!
Post-cooking, this Crock Pot is still a winner. The removable stoneware pot, sturdy handles, and lock-in lid make it easy to transport it anywhere. This is perfect for pot luck parties and makes life easier for anyone who doesn’t feel like doing the dishes and just wants to slip the whole pot into the fridge after dinner. And, if you do get around to doing the dishes, the removable stoneware pot is dishwasher-friendly. It’s a win-win situation! I highly recommend that you guys give this Crock Pot slow cooker a try.
** This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tesco Direct. All opinions in this post are 100% mine.
Crock Pot Chili (Adapted from The Cooking Photographer’s recipe)
– 2 lbs ground beef
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 1 green or yellow bell pepper, diced
– 1 large onion, diced
– 3 cans diced tomatoes (I used the fire-roasted garlic kind)
– 1 15-oz can of tomato sauce
– 3 tbsp chili powder
– 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
– Salt/pepper to taste
– 2 cans pre-cooked pinto beans
(1) In a large skillet, cook diced onions until soft and fragrant.
(2) Add ground beef, breaking up large chunks, and cook until browned. Remove from heat.
(3) Transfer meat and onions to slow cooker.
(4) Add diced tomatoes + tomato sauce, and stir.
(5) Add diced peppers, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Stir to mix.
(6) Season with salt/pepper to taste.
(7) Set slow cooker to “high” and cook for about 4 hours.
(8) After 4 hours, stir your chili to re-incorporate released/caramelized juices.
(9) Drain beans and add them to the pot. Cook for another hour.
(10) Serve hot, with sour cream, grated cheddar, and corn bread.