Chili is a staple in our house, especially in winter. I think if you looked up the definition of chili in the Chicago dictionary it would say something about watching Big 10 football on Saturdays, or maybe Bears games on Sundays (let’s not talk about yesterday’s game). Maybe also sweatpants.
We top ours with real tortilla chips, sour cream, and shredded cheese.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, we have a legume allergy in our house, which makes traditional three-bean chili off-limits for baby brother. Plus really, let’s think about what the beans actually add to chili – just a bit of fiber and texture (that’s a nice way of saying I have yet to meet a bean with any recognizable flavor).
So I bring you, Crock Pot (No Bean) Chili.
Let me start by saying there is really no wrong way to do chili. As long as you have some tomatoes, some chili powder, and some cumin, it probably will taste like … well, chili! So you can be creative with what fillers you put in yours. Make it your own.
The (genius, if I do say so myself) solution to fill beans’ shoes in chili? Hominy!!! (hom-in-y-hom-in-y hom-in-y; oh come on, you know you can’t help it.).
Hominy is treated maize, an ingredient that has been used for thousands of years in Central America and (what is now) Mexico. In addition to being ground into masa, hominy often pops up in its whole form in pozole and ceviche. For this reason, I thought it would be a great addition to chili (beans or no beans). Its slightly corny flavor profile matches well with the southwest flavors inherent in chili, while it manages to soak up some of the flavor of the chili itself. Hominy is high in fiber and gives some of that “texture” that I was wanting to replace in the absence of beans.
I had a little bit of leftover bacon from my CSA that I wanted to use … and I thought it might add some flavor. Totally optional but nice if you have it sitting around. I also added carrots to give some more texture and nutrition to the pot.
Let’s get cooking
Ok, so throw the uncooked diced bacon in the bottom of the crock pot and turn the crock pot on. Then pop the ground beef in a skillet to brown.
Add the carrots to soften (peppers too if you wish, but not necessary)
Then everything gets thrown into the crock pot.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 3/4 cup bacon, diced
- 2 bell peppers, roughly chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 can organic hominy (optional)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup water
- Chili Seasoning Mix:
- 1 TB cumin
- 1 TB chili powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 TB oregano
- 1/4 tsp cocoa
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Salt to taste (~1 tsp is a good place to start)
- Dash of cayenne (optional)
- Place diced bacon in the bottom of the crock pot and turn to low.
- Soften onion in a skillet.
- Add ground beef to pan with onion and brown.
- Near the end, add carrots just to soften slightly.
- Add everything in the skillet to the crock pot with the bacon.
- Add tomatoes, hominy, 1/4 cup water, and chili seasoning mix to crock pot.
- Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
P.S. If you want a vegetarian chili, we have you covered too … see this recipe.