I’m no purist when it comes to chili. (If you are, turn to the dried chile–based one.) I appreciate just about any long-cooked stew with a protein and cumin and chiles—with or without tomatoes, beans, even fresh chiles and corn; it’s all fair game as far as I’m concerned. Here is a very simple chili, which I hope you’ll see as a template for tweaking: Add more tomatoes, if you’d like, or different varieties of chile powder (and some cayenne for more heat), add some corn kernels or diced sweet peppers at the end, substitute a few chopped fresh or canned tomatillos for some of the tomatoes, try soy sauce or a splash of fish sauce instead of Worcestershire—make it your own.
Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over high heat and add one third of the beef. Cook, breaking it up and stirring with a spatula or spoon, until almost all the pink is gone, about 5 minutes, then drain off any liquid and transfer the meat to the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining beef in two batches. Add the onion, cumin, chile powder, salt, crushed and diced tomatoes, beans, and Worcestershire sauce to the cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
Season with more salt and/or chile powder, if needed, then serve.
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