The chili starts with a 3-pound roast, which I cut into quarter-inch pieces. This process takes 15-20 minutes. You can use almost any cut of beef for the recipe because it will cook for a long time. I usually use tougher cuts such as bottom round or sirloin roast, picking up whichever is on sale.
The beef is coated with an unusual blend of herbs, spices and seasonings. Traditional chili seasoning, including chili powder, ground cumin, oregano and garlic powder, is used in the mixture, but I also add a little brown sugar, masa harina, cocoa powder and a touch of cinnamon.
Masa harina is a Mexican corn flour used to make tortillas and tamales, and it is available in the Hispanic section of the supermarket. If you’d rather not purchase a 5-pound bag to use in just one recipe, you can substitute cornmeal or all-purpose flour. The masa harina thickens the chili a bit.
The remaining ingredients aren’t quite as unusual as the seasoning mixture: canned Rotel tomatoes, tomato sauce and a pod of Knorr homestyle beef stock to add meaty richness.
CHUNKY SLOW COOKER CHILI
¼ cup chili powder
3 tablespoons masa harina (corn flour) or cornmeal
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon light- or dark-brown sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 pounds boneless beef stew meat, cut into ¼-inch pieces
3 bay leaves
2 10-ounce cans tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 pod Knorr Homestyle beef stock
1 cup water
1 dash hot sauce, optional
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, undrained, optional
Sour cream and grated cheddar cheese, for serving
Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl. Place the meat into the slow cooker and toss with the spice mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours or until beef is fork tender. Makes 8 servings.