Kenny’s Kitchen: Zoot’s Slow Cooker “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” Chili

Happy FRY-day and welcome back to Kenny’s Kitchen! Football season is down to its final game and I don’t know about you, but I’m about to grub! So, it’s Tailgate time!!! This one is for this weekend or any other cold day during this harsh winter and beyond…

For the Superbowl, I’m sharing one of my all-time favorite dishes – Chili!!!.

I love chili, I live for chili! My father had an incredible recipe for it and my Aunt Dee, OMG – Aunt Dee made the greatest chili on the planet. My cousin John made the third greatest batch and sadly, all three have moved on to eternal greatness. Unfortunately, although I’ve watched each during various stages of their meal creation, I never once thought to ask for their recipes before it was too late.

So I’ve dibbled and dabbled over the years, combining things I’ve seen them do in the past in hopes of making a hybrid version (since it’s coming from three meals instead of two, I guess I should call it a “Tribrid”).

The good news? Although it’s not quite what they used to make, it did get me first prize at a chili cook-off contest at a restaurant here in Ohio (I’m glad because I had to provide 6 gallons for my entry and that did NOT go over well with my wife, who quickly took “taxes” from my $100 winnings for compensatory damages. But that’s ok, I’ve got house bragging rights which means, whenever she asks me to make chili, I get to reply with “what?” – just so I can watch her sigh and say, “Can you PLEASE make your AWARD-winning chili? Jeez!”

So let’s get into it. Time to make “Zoot’s Bear Down, Chicago Bears (award-winning) Chili!

This older photo contains additional ingredients like sausage and other cheeses.

Warning: Not responsible for weight gained as a result of gleeful gluttony, especially during this pandemic… (the lawyers make me say that)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2.5 to 3 pounds Ground Beef
  • 2 – 16 oz cans Kidney Beans; Rinsed & Drained
  • 1 – 16 oz can Pinto Beans; Rinsed & Drained
  • 2 – 14.5 oz cans Diced Tomatoes; Undrained
  • 1 – 24 oz can Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Medium Red Onion
  • 1/2 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 1 Green Pepper; Chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic; Minced
  • 1 stalk Celery; Chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper (I prefer it Ground)
  • Canadian Steak Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Yellow Mustard
  • Cheddar Cheese; Shredded
  • Sour Cream

Note: if you don’t have Chili Powder and Cumin, you can get away with 1 package of Chili Seasoning for every pound of ground beef you use.

PREPARATION:

  1. In a skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.
  2. Lightly season beef with Canadian Steak Seasoning (some people add seasoning during other stages, like before or during browning – it’s up to you)
  3. Transfer to a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients (minus the mustard, cheese and sour cream).
  4. Cover and cook on “low” for 8-10 hours (or on “high” for 4 hours).
  5. Add and stir mustard to taste, just before serving.
  6. Garnish individual servings with cheese and sour cream, if desired.

Note: Mustard is added to give it that hint of hamburger-like flavor. Kids love it.
You can add a few dashes of hot sauce or even part of a jalapeno pepper before slow-cooking, if you so desire.
I personally like to lay a few slices of Kraft American Cheese on top of the mix towards the end of the cooking, allowing it to melt onto and into the top.
Sour Cream and Oyster Crackers make for a great addition to the finished product.

Note: If you choose to make it in a pressure cooker (I use the Power Pressure Cooker XL), it’s ready in 18 minutes. Yeah, that quick. The only downside is that once the process starts, you can’t access it until it’s over, so no seasoning it along the way. For safety, you cannot remove the lid until the pot has fully depressurized. With a slow cooker, you have the freedom of adding or increasing ingredients along the way.

And that’s it!

Happy Superbowl! Chow Down!

Let me know how it all works out and if you tried/suggest any modifications.
Remember, there is no perfect meal and everyone has a great idea!

Let me know if there’s a recipe you’d like for any meal I’ve posted on social media.
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