Halloween Chili

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Halloween: costumes, candy, a cool breeze (hopefully), and my Crock Pot. I love this time of year for all the neighborly activities plus the stick-to-your ribs goodness that comes out of my kitchen. I thought chili would be perfect for Halloween because it’s something you can make ahead, throw in a slow cooker, and serve warm whenever the trick-or-treating is all done. Pair that with some cheesy cornbread and red wine, and it’s a Happy Halloween indeed!

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But seriously. This cornbread. Pioneer Woman knows her stuff. This time, I just added about 1/2 cup shredded cheddar to the mixture before I poured it into the cast iron pan. Definitely doing that every time from now on. So cheesy, savory, and perfect for crumbling on top of a hot bowl of chili.

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Eeesh. Sorry, Daddy. There’s beans in this here chili. As he would say, this is a “Yankee Chili” because it’s not 100% meat. Well, Daddy-O, Mama is in charge now. And she likes her some beany goodness in her chili. [But yours is still my favorite version.]

I’m sure you know this, but ALWAYS rinse + drain your canned beans. It gets rid of all that briny mystery fluid and allows your beans to take on the flavor of whatever dish they’re in.

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My parents always made chili using the 2-Alarm Chili Kit. This is basically that same exact kit, but just uses things you’ve probably already got in your spice drawer. If you don’t have these spices, check out that 2-Alarm Chili Kit the next time you’re at the store. It’s a great shortcut for making delicious chili.

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Okay, let’s be honest with ourselves. Raw meat ain’t cute. BUT – I wanted to share this picture because I wanted to show you that this is a DOUBLE BATCH of chili. So, the pictures will all look a bit over-the-top compared to the recipe. Chili freezes PERFECTLY, so I thought, “Work smarter, not harder.” You know? Make double now, freeze it up, and then we’ve got dinner (or two) for another day.

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I usually always press my garlic in a garlic press (like the one below) because it gives you perfectly tiny bits of garlicky yumminess without a lot of mess. The press is extremely easy to use and to clean – it’s dishwasher safe.

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Steps to making your Halloween (or any day) Chili:

Brown the meat.

Throw in the garlic.

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Throw in the spices.

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Give it all a stir.

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Throw in the tomato sauce + 1 cup water.

**Now – you could either keep cooking everything in the pot on the stove (if you’re eating it within a couple of hours), OR you can throw it all into a slow cooker at this point.**

Either way, now you add your beans (again, sorry not sorry, Daddy).

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Give it all a good ole stir. Cover, and cook on low for up to 12 hours (or low heat on the stove for 1 hour). About 30 minutes before serving, whisk 1/4 cup masa harina with 1/2 cup water. Slowly stir the masa mixture into the chili, cover, and cook another 30 minutes.

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Serve it with whatever garnishes you like:

shredded cheddar, sour cream, red onion, cilantro, lime wedges, tortilla chips, Fritos

BUT definitely serve that ole cornbread on the side.

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To freeze, allow the chili to cool completely (I throw it in the fridge first), place in a large Ziploc bag (be sure to label it), flatten out as thin as you want, and freeze this bad boy for up to 6 months. To warm it up later, I’d suggest thawing it overnight in the fridge on a plate because it drips as it thaws. Then, just pop it in a microwave-safe dish with a lid, zap it, and dinner is served! You could also let it thaw on your counter for about 20 minutes, then slowly warm on the stove top or microwave.

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MMMM yeah, baby. Halloween Chili. [Or any day chili].

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 Halloween Chili

2 lbs. ground beef (90/10)
5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. Kosher salt
15-oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
15-oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour)
Garnishes: shredded cheddar, diced red onion, tortilla chips, lime wedges, sour cream, cilantro

In a large Dutch oven or skillet, cook the beef over medium-high heat until it’s browned (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, stir, and sauté 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the tomato sauce, 1 cup of water, and spices (through salt). Stir to combine and reduce heat to low*.

Add the beans, stir to combine, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until all the flavors are blended. If the chili gets too thick, add 1/2 cup of water.

In a small bowl, whisk the masa harina and 1/2 cup water until combined. Stir masa mixture into the chili, and cook an additional 30 minutes.

*If you want to use a slow cooker, this is the point to stop and transfer the mixture. Carefully pour everything into the slow cooker, add the beans, stir, and cook on low for as long as you need (up to 12 hours). About 30 minutes before serving, add the masa harina + water as above.

Click Here for Printable Recipe: Halloween Chili

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