Every Super Bowl, my friends and I look forward to a giant, hot bowl of chili to eat while watching the game. If I ever took it off the menu, I don't think they would be too happy. This chili sticks to your ribs and warms you up with the complex, deep flavors and slight heat from the chipotle chiles (smoked jalapeños.) Ground meat, tomatoes, chile peppers, beans and a wide array of seasonings/aromatics are the base of my recipe.
With chili, the longer it cooks, the more the flavors marry together. I find this to be true with dishes that have a tomato base with many seasonings. That means you can throw it together after lunch, put it in the slow-cooker, and it will be perfect come game time. Leftovers are even better the next day.
My favorite pairing for chili is jalapeño corn muffins. Gluten-free, of course. They are delicate, light, spongy, slightly spicy and sweet. These little treats disappear quickly so make sure to have other garnishes for the chili such as shredded cheese, sour cream, sliced avocados, guacamole, or Scoops. I usually set up a buffet on the kitchen counter with bowls, spoons, napkins, of course the chili set on ‘keep warm’ and all the fixings. Best to keep the corn muffins and scoops/chips in the center of the action by the TV.
For the slow-cooker chili:
Sauté the ground sirloin in a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, turn the slow-cooker on high, and put in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and the beans. Once the meat has browned, strain off the fat/liquid, and add to the slow-cooker.
Return the skillet to medium-low heat, and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, the onions, green pepper, and garlic to cook until tender and transparent. Then add to the slow-cooker and stir well. Also add the processed chipotles in adobo, salt, pepper, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cocoa powder, brown sugar, corn meal or masa and mix well. Adjust seasonings, salt, heat (chipotles) as needed. Cook for at least 1 hour on high with the lid on, stirring occasionally. Taste again and adjust seasoning. Add liquid as needed if it gets too thick for your taste. Turn down to low or keep warm until guests arrive. (Can tolerate 3-6 hours of heat easily.)
For the jalapeño corn muffins:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Add in the buttermilk and eggs. Mix well with a wooden or silicone spoon. Spray 2 small muffin tins well with non-stick spray. Fill each cup 2/3 full with batter. Bake for about 15 minutes (20-25 minutes for regular size muffins), until golden brown, and toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Note: Since this recipe uses baking powder, the batter must be cooked sooner rather than later for best results.