1 pound dry pinto or black beans
3 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 small hot pepper, chopped, optional (jalapeno or serrano)
1 pound ground beef, at least 80% lean (can use turkey meat or even go meatless)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chili powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Optional Garnishes: sour cream, guacamole, chopped fresh cilantro, shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese, tortilla chips, sliced green onions, shredded lettuce, sliced ripe olives, or diced fresh tomatoes.
1. Rinse and sort the beans, picking out any malformed beans or small stones. Combine the beans and water in crockpot; cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or until beans are tender (this step can be done quickly on the stovetop as well).
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until softened; transfer to the slow cooker.
3. Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook until no longer pink, turning and stirring frequently. Drain thoroughly and transfer to the slow cooker.
4. Add the tomatoes and chili powder to the beef and beans; stir to blend. Taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
5. Reduce the slow cooker heat setting to LOW; cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours longer. Top chili servings with your favorite optional garnishes. Makes 6 to 8 servings. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers for a future meal. Or double the batch and freeze half.
Recipe adapted from The Spruce
Cook Time: 7 hrs