If you’d rather be in front of the TV watching the big game than in the kitchen, here’s a hearty beef chili that makes good use of your slow cooker for a hassle-free supper. The flavour improves overnight, so if time permits, consider making it a day or two ahead and reheat in slow cooker. Serve with lots of crusty bread and cold beer.

Chipotles are dried smoked jalapeno peppers in a spicy tomato vinegar sauce (adobo sauce). They add a wonderfully rich, smoky flavour. Purée the entire can, including sauce, until smooth. Freeze the remaining in a resealable bag or freezer container for another use, such as my Cranberry Chipotle Glazed Meatballs at metronews.ca/alacarte (Nov. 27, 2008). For another game plan for super bowl supper, try Pulled Pork (Oct. 23, 2008).

Hearty Beef Chili

If you have a large crowd and a large slow cooker, double the recipe. If you like kidney beans in chili, add a can of drained beans during the last hour. Makes six servings.

• 2 lb (1 kg) stewing beef
• 1-2 tbsp (15 to 30 ml) vegetable oil
• 2 onions, chopped
• 1 red or green pepper, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 2 tbsp (30 ml) chili powder
• 1 tbsp (15 ml) ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp (2 ml) each salt and pepper
• 19 oz (540 ml) can stewed or diced tomatoes
• 1-2 tbsp (15 to 30 ml) puréed chipotle peppers in adobe sauce or 1 tsp (5 ml) hot pepper flakes
• 19 oz (540 ml) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (optional)


Trim any fat off meat and cut into chunks, if necessary. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil over medium-high heat. Brown meat in batches and transfer to slow cooker.

Add a little more oil to skillet and sauté onion, pepper and garlic until lightly softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and puréed chipotle peppers, bring to a simmer. Pour sauce over beef in slow cooker. Stir well, cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until meat is tender. If adding beans, add one hour before end of cooking.

Tip: For stove-top preparation: Prepare as above, increasing the liquid to cover the meat in a large Dutch oven or saucepan (beef broth, more tomatoes or beer). Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cook, covered for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender. Stir occasionally. Add beans for last 20 minutes.

– Barb Holland is a professional home economist and food writer who believes in shopping locally and in season.