Slow Cooker Smoky Chipotle Chili

This chili is comfort food at it's best – warming and filling, yet it doesn't weigh you down. Perfect after a long day on the slopes or while you're watching the big game. Smokey and spicy with a hint of sweetness to balance it all out; it will soon be a regular in your winter dinner rotation. 

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Smoked paprika. Have you cooked with it? This spice is EVERYTHING. I discovered it a few years back; I think while cooking through my first Ottolengi cookbook, Jerusalem, and it's so good, it's one of the few spices I actually use before it expires. 

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Side note - do you replace your spices every year? I recently found more than one jar in my cabinet that I think I've had since I moved to Boston 8 years ago. You'd think I would have gotten rid of them in one of the 5 times I've moved over the last 8 years (yes, you read that right). Long past their expiration date, I still had a hard time bringing myself to throw them out (I really hate food waste). I know keeping spices for that long is a major culinary sin, but does anyone actually replace them every year like you're supposed to? If you do, I want to hear from you.  How do you keep up with it? Do you actually use up spices or do you just throw them out?

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I digress. Let's get back to the chili. I first made some version of this chili when my now husband (boyfriend at the time) and I hosted a chili cook-off several years ago.  I was determined to find a chili recipe I liked (clearly I wasn't the instigator of this event). Because, you see, I really dislike cumin. And it seems to be in nearly every chili recipe I'd seen, so I just never made it.  Well this cumin-free smoky chili was a big hit (I can't say I won, but I don't think we actually ever got to the voting part of the event), and it quickly became a regular in our fall/winter dinner rotation. 

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A little squeeze of lime really balances out the spice and brightens up the dish. This chili is filling from all of the fiber and protein, but doesn't weigh you down like a lot of chilis can - what more could you ask for?

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This chili is comforting on a cold winter day and would make the perfect crowd-pleasing dish for Superbowl Sunday. Put out a bunch of toppings and serve with some crusty bread for dipping and you've got a winner. Because football is all about the food, isn't it?

I've made this chili on the stove or in a crockpot, so if you don't have a slow cooker, that's not a problem. But it is nice to just set it and forget it on a Sunday afternoon, don' you think? I like to make a big batch and then freeze half for a quick meal when things get busy. It freezes well for up to 3 months. 

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print recipe
Slow Cooker Smokey Chipotle Chili
Ingredients
  • 2 lb ground turkey or beef (I often use 1lb of each)*
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (I like to use fire roasted)
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chilis
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (add more if you like it extra spicy! Refrigerate or freeze the rest for another use)
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans
  • ~1tsp olive oil (optional if using turkey)
  • Optional toppings: sliced avocado, shredded monterey jack cheese, plain Greek yogurt, lime wedge, chopped cilantro
Instructions
Slow Cooker Directions: Brown meat in sauté pan over medium-high heat. If using ground turkey you may want to add a little olive oil to the pan so it doesn't stick. The ground beef typically has enough fat that you don't need it. Once it starts to brown, add onions, garlic, and bell peppers to the pan and sauté over medium for about 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Transfer to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients except beans and toppings and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. If it gets too thick for your liking, you can add more broth 1/2 cup at a time. When done cooking, stir in beans. ------------------------------------------------Stovetop Directions: In a large dutch oven or stock pot, brown meat (see above regarding oil & ground turkey) over medium heat, stirring consistently. Once it begins to brown, about 5 minutes, add onion, garlic, and peppers and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except beans. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer with cover on for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally (if it starts to get too hot and boil, just crack the cover slightly). The longer you let it simmer, the more flavorful it is. If it starts to get too thick, add more broth 1/2 cup at a time. When done cooking, stir in beans. -----------------------------------------------Serve with optional toppings and crusty bread or corn bread. *If possible, use locally sourced and/or organic.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 servings