Uncle GhettoAardvark's Wizard Chili
In a continual quest to cook a major dish at least once a week, I looked at my little slow cooker perched on the top of the cupboards and decided it was getting a bit dusty up there. I have a deep love for chili, and like most people, feel that while everyone else has a pretty good recipe, I could certainly do better. This is my first attempt.
"But wait, Uncle GhettoAardvark, why are you calling it 'Wizard Chili'?" you ask. "That's a good question, sport! It's called Wizard Chili because I was making it on Thursday, which is the day that I and the rest of the E2 Dice Nerds play Dungeons and Dragons online. I figured I'd call it 'Wizard Chili' because I wanted it to be a bit fiery."
- Place the beans in water and leave to soak overnight.
Don't forget to cover the pot; I caught Princess Josephine trying to drink out of the dirty bean water at least once. If you're using canned beans I hear you can skip this step.
- Drain the beans and put them in your slow cooker.
"Gee whiz," I thought. "Two pounds of beans sure fill up a slow cooker pretty quick."
- Brown your meat, then sweat the onions and garlic and add all of it to your pot.
Doesn't matter very much how you cut your onions; I diced them into medium-sized pieces and rolled with it. Once that was all done, I dumped it all into the slow cooker...
...and promptly realized I had overestimated my quantities. Fortunately, I had a backup plan: my roommate also owns a crock pot, so I got that down and evened things out a bit.
- Add the chipotle peppers, tomato sauce, beef broth, cilantro, and spices to the slow cooker.
- Stir everything togther, then put the lid on and leave it set to high for at a few hours.
I had it all together and turned on around 2 PM or so. I tasted it about four hours in, and decided it wasn't nearly where I wanted it to be, so I added more of the various spices in a rough approximation and left the lid on for a couple more hours. About an hour or so before I called it done, it was looking a bit thin, so I left the lid off for about an hour to let it thicken up. Around 7PM, I finally had a bowl.
Good, but not the chili I set out to make. My mental concept was something a lot more meat-heavy and a lot more savory. I vastly overestimated the amount of beans I was going to need, and I think I messed something up when adding stuff in because they weren't as soft as they should have been; I'm not sure if I just didn't let them cook long enough, or if I may have done something to the mix that caused it to happen. Barring that, this would make a pretty good vegetarian chili if you dropped the meat (I forgot I'd even put any in there, to be honest) and changed out the beef broth to vegetable stock.
This made me about 2-3 quarts of chili. I'm still trying to eat the leftovers myself, since my roommate doesn't care for it at all. Definitely not going to make as much next time.
If I made this again, here's what I'd do differently:
- Reduce the amount of beans by at least half
- Double (triple?) the amount of meat, and use a coarser and cheaper cut
- Add more garlic, maybe another onion
- More chipotle peppers; the smokiness was really good but not as strong as it should have been
- Go easy with the cayenne, and possibly get pepper flakes next time
- Let it cook for at least an another hour or so, and leave the lid on the entire time
- Use real stock
- Use canned tomatoes instead of regular sauce