Crock Pot Chili With Cornbread Croutons

chili and cornbread
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  • 10 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 10 hrs
  • Yield: 8 servings
Ratings (6)

Rick's slow cooker chili recipe calls for a perfectly seasoned mixture of browned very lean ground beef along with beans and tomatoes. Ripe olives and some Tabasco sauce add extra flavor and heat. Feel free to replace the Tabasco sauce with 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes or 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne.

Gussy it up with a garnish of shredded cheese, jalapeno pepper rings, and the cornbread croutons. The cornbread croutons (or crumbles) add some pleasant texture to the chili. Make the croutons with the included homemade cornbread instructions or use a Jiffy Corn Muffin mix to make the cornbread. Or leave the cornbread croutons out and serve the chili with freshly baked cornbread or cornbread muffins on the side.

What You'll Need

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds ground round, browned and drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans (​​drained)
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 large onion (coarsely chopped)
  • 2 (2.25-ounce) cans sliced ripe olives (drained)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Optional Garnish: Shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend of cheeses
  • Optional Garnish: Pickled jalapeno pepper rings, drained
  • For the Cornbread Croutons:
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk

How to Make It

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 
  2. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the ground beef. Cook until the beef is no longer pink, stirring frequently.
  3. With a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to the slow cooker.
  4. Add the beans, tomatoes, chili powder, garlic, Italian seasoning, cumin, salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce, chopped onion, olives, and water. Stir to blend.
  5. Cover the pot and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
  1. Serve the chili garnished with cornbread croutons (below) and shredded cheese if desired.

Cornbread Croutons

  1. About 1 hour before the chili is done, heat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Spray a 15-by-10-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray. 
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt; blend well.
  4. In another bowl, whisk the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil with the egg and milk. Stir into the dry ingredients until blended.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. 
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the sides and bottom are browned. Cool in the pan on a rack for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Cut the cornbread into 1-inch squares or tear it into crumbles; spread it out on baking sheets and bake for about 5 minutes longer. 

Tips

Why brown ground beef? While many types of meat require no pre-browning, ground beef and other ground meats are almost always browned first (with the exception of meatloaf, cabbage rolls, and stuffed peppers). The browning process is an important step for the color, flavor, and texture of the dish.