Any southerner worth their salt has a great chili recipe, preferably a signature one. This is why I set out several years back trying out this one and that, tweaking and adding until I came up with one I could call my own.
Although I dearly love my mother’s chili, I wanted something a bit more involved (in terms of ingredients, not effort!). My favorite chili away from home has always been Wendy’s (yeah, I’m a simple gal), and so I knew when I came across a copycat recipe for their chili, I had found the base I wanted to start from.
I’ve tweaked it slightly over the years for my personal taste and for this tutorial I am making it in the crock pot for all of you. This prevents anyone from having to stand over the stove and fret over it while it simmers and the flavor develops fully. If you brown and freeze your meat ahead of time (like I do), this becomes a “toss it in and turn it on” recipe that will make it great for a quick and easy meal!
I remember reading a forum once where someone said they would never eat Wendy’s chili because they used the previous days leftover hamburger patties as the basis for the meat. Rather than be turned off by that like this person obviously was, my thoughts were “WOW, thats a neat idea!!!”
Being in a family with a brother who caters and a father who frequently sponsors large bbq’s for Fraternal Order Of Police members, I often get the call from time to time “We have a bunch of hamburgers lefover, do you want them?”. I take all that is offered, crumble them up and place them in freezer bags to use in this chili at a later date! *
For this, you’ll need: Pinto Beans, Kidney Beans, Chopped Green Chilies, Onion, Ground Beef, Tomato Sauce, Tomatoes (or canned, diced tomatoes), Celery, Cumin, and Chili Powder. (Y’all, my 29 ounce can of tomato sauce was camera shy)
*Food should not be kept above 45 degrees and below 145 degrees for more than two hours should be disposed of. This is the rule of thumb I learned in college. I have recently seen where someone stated that danger zone time limit is four hours, but I stick with two to be safe. Basically, food can be kept at room temp safely for two hours but should be refrigerated or frozen after that in order to avoid food safety issues which I won’t go into now…because I want you to have your appetite for chili!