Slow Cooker Guinness Beef and Bean Chili

Guinness Beef and Bean Chili

This slow-cooked, shredded beef and bean chili is a result of some crazy iron-rich food cravings I've been having.  I wanted something a little different than my go-to chili - I'm trying not to get too set in my ways, and I'm trying not to bore my husband to death.  I made this in my slow cooker overnight; we'll eat some for dinner tonight and freeze the rest (2 whole additional quarts).

Guinness Beef and Bean Chili

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Tbs olive oil

2 3/4 lbs beef chuck, well trimmed and cubed to 1" pieces

1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt (plus additional to taste)

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 huge or 2 small onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1/2 c good quality chili powder (see note)

2 tsp ground cumin

1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp cider vinegar

1 14 oz diced tomatoes with juices

1/3 c Guinness or another stout (try a chocolate stout, and reduce the cocoa powder)

25 - 30 oz of pinto beans (one giant or two normal sized cans)

Chili powder note: I used a mixture of chili powders - roughly equal parts Penzey's medium hot chili powder, Penzey's hot chili powder, and ancho chile powder.  Whatever you choose, just make sure it's fresh, and that it's a salt-free blend.

Slow cooker directions:

Note: If your slow cooker insert is not flame proof, start this in a 5 quart or larger heavy pot.  You'll transfer the chili to your crock pot or slow cooker after the Guinness has been added and the chili brought back to a simmer. 

Over medium heat, brown beef in olive oil.  When beef is browned on all sides, add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.  This could take 8 - 12 minutes, but don't rush it.  Add the chili powder(s) and cook 3 - 4 minutes until very fragrant and juices are visibly thickened.  Add remaining ingredients, with the exception of the beans, which are added toward the end of coking so they don't break down.  When the mixture has returned to a simmer, transfer to your slow cooker and cook on low for 10-12 hours, depending on your slow cooker.  When it's ready, it will break apart as you stir - leave it as shredded or chunky as you like, though the chunks will melt in your mouth.  I've learned that they vary wildly, but you're looking for beef that is so tender that it has broken apart.  (Note: I think if I did it again, I might do an hour on high, and then 10 on low - but again, know thine own crock pot.) Add the beans and heat through.  At this point, taste for salt - salt is personal.  Keep in mind that if you are planning to freeze it, freezing foods makes things need more salt, so you'll end up adding salt when you reheat it.  Better to under salt and salt at the reheating.

We like to serve chili on rice around these parts, with a bit of cheese, Greek yogurt, and chunks of avocado.

Stove top and oven directions:

Follow directions above - minus anything relating to a slow cooker.  However, you're going to need a heavy pot with a well fitting lid.  Once you've added your stout and brought it to a simmer, move it to the oven. Try 275 - 300 F, you'll want barely a simmer, and the heat will again depend on your pot and oven.  Keep that lid on and check it - you'll likely have good results in 5-6 hours, but I haven't done this chili in the over before.

Let me know if you try it, and how it goes!