Last fall, I participated in our neighborhood chili cook-off and my Chorizo and Black Bean Chili with Cornbread Croutons took first place! Never mind that there were only four entries and that each recipe was within a point or two of each other…I can still call it award winning! 😉
It’s been a minute since I’ve made chili, but with the cooler temps, that desire for a bowl of spicy goodness emerges. The original recipe comes together in under two hours on the stovetop, but I decided to adapt it for the slow cooker.
My family is not usually a fan of slow cooker meals, but this recipe is the perfect dish to make use of it. The proteins and fresh veggies are sautéed before going into the pot. This takes advantage of the flavor that develops with searing and caramelizing. Then I let the slow cooker do the rest of the work.
VARIATIONS ON THIS RECIPE
Chili purists might balk at this recipe. But the great thing about chili, in my humble opinion, is there are as many variations as there are cooks. Feel free to play with the ingredients to suit your taste.
- To lighten it up, use ground turkey and poultry chorizo
- Omit the black beans if that’s not your thing (add more chorizo instead)
- Substitute other varieties of beans
- Instead of poblanos, try bell pepper for a less spicy chili, or jalapeño to kick up the heat
There are so many directions to go when it comes to toppings, too. I usually like to keep it simple with shredded cheese and a few dashes of hot sauce. When I served this the other night, I added several options to our board:
- Sliced green onion
- Chopped cilantro
- Sour cream
- Chopped red onion
- Shredded cheese
- Hot sauce
- Cornbread croutons
Cornbread croutons are awesome! They’re great on all kinds of soups and stews. I use this recipe from Rachel Ray. It calls for day old cornbread, so you can simply use store-bought or your favorite recipe. I make a skillet cornbread and like to add diced jalapeño and cheese to the mix. I love these croutons with this chili because the crunch and sweetness adds another texture and plays nicely against the spice.
One of the best tips I can offer when it comes to cooking from a recipe is to read it completely before you do anything. Another tip is to gather all your ingredients and prep them before you begin:
- Dice + mince vegetables, herbs, etc.
- Open all cans
- Measure out liquids like broths, tomato sauce, etc.
Worried about creating a bunch of dirty dishes? Don’t! Prep makes cooking so much easier and here’s why you read the entire recipe first: if you’re adding all your spices at once, measure them all out into ONE bowl. Do the same for any ingredients that are added at the same time. You can use fewer dishes, but reap all the benefits of a good a mise en place!
Like many things you make in a slow cooker, this yields a lot of chili, making it perfect for your game day or pot luck…or random fall gathering with family + friends. And, if you need a dessert, my Hazelnut Chocolate Meringue Cake would be perfect with some hot cocoa on a cool fall day.
I hope you enjoy this Chorizo + Black Bean Chili and don’t forget to let me know if you make it!
SLOW COOKER CHORIZO + BLACK BEAN CHILI
- 1 lb ground beef
- 10 oz fresh pork chorizo about 3 links
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 poblano peppers seeded + diced
- 2 ½ tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground cayenne optional
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup broth beef or vegetable is fine
- 20 oz Rotel tomatoes, (2) 10 oz cans mild
- 30 oz black beans, (2) 15 oz cans rinsed + drained
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar or more, to taste
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and chorizo. Break it apart as it cooks. Cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove to the slow cooker. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and the onion & poblanos. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper, (optional) cayenne, brown sugar and tomato paste. Cook about 1 minute longer. Add this to the slow cooker.
- To the slow cooker, add the broth, diced tomatoes (with their juice), drained beans, and tomato sauce. Stir well.
- Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
- Just before serving, stir in the red wine vinegar. Trust me, this adds a little brightness to the chili and enhances the other flavors.
- Serve with cheese and any other toppings you like, but definitely CORNBREAD CROUTONS!