Slow cooker chilli con carne with big chunks of beef & a heady combination of different chillies that create a deep, rich & bold flavour.
This is a rare recipe from me that serves 4 but it is a dish that can be made in advance and will store well in the fridge for a few days and always tastes better on day 2 or 3!
Crockpot Chili Con Carne
This is my slow cooker chilli con carne recipe, there are many like it, but this one is mine. Hot and spicy, with a hint of sweetness and of course, very beefy and beany.
I do not, however, view it as either my best friend or my life! More a warm and welcoming friend that just makes things a little bit better. Sorry, I couldn’t resist a bit of a movie reference!
I don’t play around with Mexican or “Tex Mex” influences very often, because food travels with people there has been little migration from that part of the world to Northern Europe.
However, chili con carne was a recipe that I remember my Mom making as a child. Although that version was a packet spice mix, a bit of minced beef and a tin of baked beans.
Of course, it is spicy, it is a chilli after all, but using a combination of chillies, dried, fresh and in a paste adds a wonderful fruity, smokey complexity to the dish.
It is also a rare recipe that is not made for two, but for 4. But just like most chilli recipes they always taste better on day two! It also freezes very well and will store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
What cut of beef should I use?
You can use anything labelled “stewing or braising” steak or beef. I personally prefer to buy something that is not already cubed because store-bought cubed beef is often too small.
If you are headed to the butter ask for some chuck steak, shin or neck.
The neck has the most fat and this will break down and give the dish a rich mouth feel where as the shin has more connective tissue which breaks down and makes the dish incredibly silky.
Do I have to use so many types of chilli?
No, but they do all serve a different purpose and add a different flavour to the dish.
The mild fresh chillies add a sweetness to the dish, the ancho chilli adds a spicy fruitiness to the mix and the combination of chipotle products adds a wonderful smokiness.
Can I use chipotle in adobo?
You can, I use a combination of chipotle chilli flakes and chipotle paste to emulate this because they are easy to find here in the UK.
Don’t worry about leftovers, I use chipotle paste in dishes like my spicy black bean soup, Mexican chicken stew and spicy sweetcorn soup.
Chipotle in adobo is more difficult to find and once you open the tin it has a shorter shelf life than the two products that I use, but you can add a couple of chillies if you prefer.
What does the polenta or cornmeal do?
It thickens the chill, but it does it in a very different way to cornflour or regular flour which will make your chilli a little “claggy”.
Do I have to add the beans?
No, in some circles the addition of beans in a chilli is “controversial”, I like them, in fact, I love them, but if you don’t omit them it is fine.
I’ve served my slow cooker chilli con carne in these pictures with some simply cooked brown rice, then garnished it with coriander, jalapeno peppers, lime wedges and some sour cream.
However, you can play around with garnish for this recipe a lot! It’s great with tortilla chips, avocado, grated cheddar, queso fresco, spring onions or red onion to name a few.
Cornbread is an incredibly popular side for chilli in its “homeland”, although I play slightly differently and love serving it with polenta!
I only mention specific brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- Slow cooker, I use a 3.5 litre Crockpot.
- 28cm or 11″ frying pan, not nonstick if possible.
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen knife.
- Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
- Kitchen tongs and stirring spoons.
We all have a beef chili recipe right? Well this is mine a wonderfully rich and deeply flavoured slow cooker chilli con carne that is super easy to cook but has big bold and complex flavours and plenty of punch in the spice department!
- 650g (22oz) Stewing Beef
- 400g (2⅔ Cups) Onion
- 1 Green Pepper
- 2 Mild Red Chilli Peppers
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 50g (4 Tbsp) Polenta or Cornmeal
- ½ Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 Tbsp Ground Oregano
- 1 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 Tsp Ancho Chilli Flakes
- ½ Tsp Chipotle Chilli Flakes
- 1 Tbsp Chipotle Chilli Paste
- 3 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 500ml (2 Cups) Beef Stock
- 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil (You may need an extra tablespoon to sear the beef)
- 1-1½ Tsp Salt
- 400g (14oz) Tin of Kidney Beans
- If the beef is not diced cut it into a 25mm (1") dice.
- Cut the onions in half, peel them and then cut them into 15mm (½") dice.
- Remove the stalk and stem from the green pepper and cut it into a 15mm (½") dice.
- Cut the red chilli peppers into rounds 2-3mm thick.
- Peel and cut the garlic into a medium dice.
- Heat a 28cm or 11" frying pan or skillet (not nonstick if possible) over a high heat.
- Add half of the cooking oil to the pan when it is hot and then sear the beef in two batches until it is nicely coloured on all sides, then transfer it to the slow cooker.
- Return the pan to a medium heat, add the remaining oil, green peppers and onions and cook for 5-6 minutes stirring regularly until the onions begin to soften, scrape the pan as you go to remove the cooking residue from the beef.
- Add the garlic and sliced red chilli peppers, then cook for another minute.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir to get the final bits of residue from the base of the pan and then add this mix to the slow cooker.
- Throw in the polenta, cocoa powder, cumin, oregano, brown sugar, both types of chilli flakes and chipotle chilli flakes and give everything a stir.
- Pour the beef stock into the slow cooker, give everything another stir, have a taste and add salt if required, then add a lid and cook on low for 5½ hours.
- After 5½ hours drain the kidney beans, do not bother to wash them, and add them to the slow cooker, then cook for another 30 minutes before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 699Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 2268mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 13gSugar: 16gProtein: 39g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.