I threw this together yesterday and it didn’t suck, yay! The portions and ingredients are flexible. I often cook like my mother – dig through fridge, freezer, cabinets, and throw together something with what I have on hand. I’ll consult a few recipes online for some direction, but I usually kind of wing it.

Steak Chili

2 pounds of chuck steak
4 onions
8 cloves of garlic
6 carrots
2 cans diced tomatoes (with basil & onion seasoning)
1 can black beans (with chili seasoning)
1 can (small) tomato paste
1 bottle pumpkin beer
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt & pepper
chili powder
cumin
paprika
ground red pepper

If you beef is frozen, remove from packaging into a zip lock freezer bag, fill bag with cold water, leave out. (In the sink in case your bag leaks, or put it in a bowl or something.)

Heat vegetable oil in a pan. Dice onions, sautee in the pan. Mince garlic in a press over the pan. Cook until onions just start to turn transparent. Move contents of pan to crock pot. Turn on crock pot – I have a programmable one, so I set it to high heat for 5 hours. Of course you could also do low for 8-10 hours.

In the same pan, brown steaks on each side. Cut into bite-size pieces. (OMG, this took forever and my hand was sore by the end. Maybe it would have been easier to cut up when still slightly frozen?) Put into bowl, sprinkle liberally with salt & pepper before moving into the crock pot.

(If you’re pressed for time, skip all the pre-cooking, and just dice/mince/cut everything raw and throw it in the crock.)

Open all the canned stuff and pour into crock pot. I did not drain anything, and used a little water to get the last bits of flavored goodness from each can into the crock pot. Pour beer into crock pot. (I went with pumpkin beer because I thought the spices in it would compliment the chlili. Feel free to use any beer.)

Dice carrots. Add to crock. (Or omit the carrots, or throw in another vegetable.)

Liberally add the spices. Stir. Let it cook 4-5 hours in the crock pot on high or 8-10 hours on low. Add more spices per your tastes. (I didn’t measure anything, OK?) If it’s too watery, dissolve some cornstrach in cold water (use a whisk), and stir into the chili.

Serve with whatever you like with your chili. I prefer oyster crackers, El Esposo prefers spaghetti (weirdo). I meant to throw some green onions (scallions if you’re fancy from the east coast) on this but forgot.

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I have a 6-quart crock pot, and this recipe filled mine. There are also only two of us, so just like mom, I froze a quart and a half. (And that is why I horde the pint- and quart-sized plastic containers you get for take out.)

What do you like in your chili? The last time I made “what do we need to use in the fridge?” chili, I made it with chicken and chorizo.