I am wild about my crock pot. What a fantastic invention. There is something so delightful about making a big pot of something on Sunday and then having automatic meals for a random Tuesday or Wednesday when life gets in the way of cooking. Luckily, life never gets in the way of eating 🙂

BIM (Best in Memory) Chili Negro

1/2 lb. extra lean ground beef (bison would work really well here, too)
1/2 onion, diced
4 oz. mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded, cored and diced*
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced (I left the seeds in, but you can omit them if you don’t like it spicy)
1 tsp. adobo sauce
1 can fire roasted Mexican-style diced tomatoes
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
Garlic powder to taste (I used a TON—I like it garlicky)
1 Tbs. Cumin
1 Tbs. Dark cocoa powder
1/2-3/4 c. beef broth or water

* I used a handful of freeze-dried red and green peppers here instead of fresh. Red peppers are $2.43 each right now, for heaven’s sake. I am a fan of food storage, and especially the freeze-dried vegetables. These are different than simply dehydrated veggies, because they reconstitute amazingly well and taste good even if you don’t rehydrate them. You can check out this site for more information. Anyway…

Brown ground beef, and drain any excess fat. Sautee onion in a large pot, sprayed with Pam, until translucent. Deglaze pan with a bit of beef broth or water. Add mushrooms and peppers, cook until tender.

Stir in chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, tomatoes and their juices, black beans and beef. Add garlic powder, cumin and cocoa along with additional broth or water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat for at least 30 minutes.

You can then serve immediately, or transfer to a slow cooker to bubble for a few hours until dinner. I also like to stick the stoneware part in the fridge, at this point, so my husband can just turn on the base when he gets home and heat everything up for me.

I can always tell when Dustin really likes a meal beacuse he’ll tell me how good it is about 50 times while we’re eating. I find this adorable, and quite endearing because I tend do the same thing. But usually with more adjectives like “amazing,” “fantastic,” “fabulous,” ” world’s greatest”…I am nothing if not enthusiastic.

So I asked Dustin if he though this was the ” best. chili. ever.,” because I had just stated that very sentiment. He pondered the question carefully before responding…”best in memory.” Which just means one thing…..he forgot the last time I made chili. But I think he’ll remember this one!