Spicy Slow Cooker Chili

Spicy Slow Cooker Chili
Spicy Slow Cooker Chili

Today, we’re talking chili. Meat chili. Chili with beans. Chili with, dare we say it, heat. Spark. Spunk. Little smoky. Little sweet. Chili waiting for you when you get home from a long day. Chili of your dreams. It’s cold out there. Don’t let the jalapeño garnish scare you off, our chili is here with open arms.

Why is chili so perfect? There’s no wrong answer. It’s bowl food. It’s stew. You can put it over spaghetti. With this recipe we’re making it in a slow cooker, and that rocks. When you make eggs and bacon in the morning, get another pan out and brown the meat for chili and sweat the vegetables at the same time. Easy-peasy. Browning the meat ahead of time helps get a better, more even texture on the meat, and also adds a little bit of flavor. Warming the vegetables in the same pan will help release some of their fragrance, and they’ll better marry with the ground beef and turkey. We used half beef and half turkey to cut down on total calories and fat but still have robust flavor; you can use all beef or all turkey if you prefer one over the other.

Speaking of flavor, let’s talk about our El Paso Chili Powder. We’ve got a whole bunch of chili powder blends to choose from to meet different needs regarding heat and flavor, but the El Paso is our go to if we want our chili to sizzle with a kick of heat. Hand blended with ancho, onion, extra-hot (90,000 SHU) cayenne, garlic, chipotle morita chile, allspice, and Mexican oregano. The flavors of the morita chile powder and ancho powder in the blend are enhanced in this recipe by their un-ground counterparts--we rehydrate and chop a chipotle morita, and use a fresh poblano, which is the parent pepper that's dried to make anchos. Let's hear it for double-duty peppers!

We used our Mexican Chorizo Seasoning to add even more complexity to the dish. Our Mexican Chorizo Seasoning is blended with ancho, cumin, garlic, coriander, salt, black pepper, Mexican oregano, thyme, Ceylon cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaves. More pepper-y than overly spicy, we mixed this with the ground turkey before browning it, because white meats have a tendency to be a little bland on their own. If you already have seasoned turkey sausage in your refrigerator you could use that and break up the links.

We also opted to use Smoked Oak Salt Flakes. Our smoked flake salts are from a cold smoking process, and are great both folded into recipes like this one or as a finishing salt that adds a little bit of crunch (like with our Hoppin’ John recipe). As far as the beans go, it’s totally up to you. You can go with black beans if you want to feel a little southwest, but we chose toothsome, hearty kidney beans, which can withstand prolonged heat in a slow-cooker.

This chili doesn’t necessarily NEED a garnish with how much taste it has already, but we love a fresh and bright complement to something rich and hearty. We went bold with fresh sliced jalapeños, but we balanced their verdant heat with a dollop of sour cream. Instead of using spoons, we totally indulged ourselves and ate this chili with a plate of tortilla chips and enjoyed it like a delicious and meaty salsa. Yay Chili!

 Print Recipe

Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 300 min.
Cooking Method: Slow Cooker
Category: Chili
Cuisine: American
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Poblano chile, diced
  • 1 Chipotle Morita Chile, rehydrated and chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-15 ounce red beans (you may use kidney, pinto or black beans as well), rinsed and drained
  • 1-28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1-6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon El Paso Chili Powder Hot
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt or Smoked Oak Salt Flakes
  • Optional - 1 Tablespoon Mexican Chorizo Seasoning
  1. In a skillet over medium-high, cook meats until browned. Add pepper and onion and cook another 3-4 minutes to soften up the vegetables. Drain grease if necessary.
  2. Place meats, peppers, and onions in a slow cooker, along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
  3. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high, 6 hours on low or 1 ½ hours if you prepare on stovetop.
  4. Garnish with tortilla chips, cheese, jalapenos, avocados and anything else you’d like and serve.

Recipe Notes:

  • We seasoned our ground turkey before we cooked it with our Mexican Chorizo Seasoning, which added a depth of flavor.
  • Kosher Salt or Sea Salt will work in place of the smoked salt, but it will miss out on added smokiness.
  • This recipe may also be cooked in a stock pot or Dutch oven. It will take 1½ hours on the stovetop.