Valentine’s Day Chili

Valentine's Day ChiliAs promised, here’s my great-grandfather’s recipe for beef and beans chili in the crockpot that I made for Valentine’s Day. You can also make it in a regular stockpot by simmering for an hour, but I prefer to set it and forget it.

Source: Great-Grandpa Czarnecki’s original chili recipe

Wow, a lot of ingredients. Use your own mix of spices, but keep in mind that the gravy will compensate for a lot of kick, so amp it up.

Set up all your cans, jars, spices, an onion, and your meat of choice – or omit the meat to make a vegetarian chili. Oatmeal, quinoa, and barley make good replacements and bring in the protein.

Price out the difference between baker's chocolate and the squares in the chocolate aisle. I found this one to be 50 cents cheaper than the 80% bakers chocolate.

Don’t forget the special ingredient: a square of dark chocolate. Anything over 60% cocoa works.

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Combine all ingredients (with can liquid!) into your crockpot or stock pot.

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Dice the onion and brown the meat. Drain off the fat.

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Add meat and onion to pot. Stir. Cook on low for 8 hours or simmer on stove for an hour.

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One of our favorite add-ins is macaroni noodles, about 1/2 cup dry per person. Start the water boiling about 20-30 minutes before serving.

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Set out other toppings like sour cream, cheese, or cornbread to help counter the heat, both temperature and spice.

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Serve hot!

My recipe:

  • 1 lb. lean beef
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped (about half of a medium onion)
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 can beef gravy (10 oz. can)
  • 1 square 72% Ghirardelli chocolate

Brown beef in pan and chop as it cooks. Add onion and cook until onion is transparent. Add all ingredients to pot (5 quart or larger) including liquid from beans and tomatoes. If desired, smash the tomatoes as they cook. Cook on low 8 hours/high 4 hours or simmer 1 hour on the stove.

Makes enough chili to serve 5-6 in 5-quart crockpot.

Optional additions:

  • Elbow noodles (make about 1/2 cup dry noodles for each person)
  • Crumbled cornbread or scalloped corn casserole
  • Sour cream, Greek yogurt, or any grated cheese
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