“Beef and Beans”

Slow Cooker Hearty Chili

Easy to make, and no complaints from the family.

First of all, let me sincerely apologize for the lack of photos in this post. In all seriousness: does anyone have any tips for how to photograph soups, stews and chilis that don’t look… well, awful? All suggestions are appreciated.

In my house this recipe is known as “Beef and Beans.” Why? Because the Tiny Kitchen Assistant knows that chile peppers are spicy peppers, and therefore will not even attempt to eat anything that sounds like it might be tainted by the dreaded hot pepper. But I don’t let my years in Marketing go to waste. No way! I rename things in benign and more palatable ways. Beef and Beans it is.

Like most slow cooker recipes, this is improved by browning the beef and onions on the stovetop before adding them to the cooker. You can even do the browning the night before. Just refrigerate the cooked mixture and transfer to the slow cooker in the morning.


  • 2-3 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • Olive or grapeseed oil, for browning
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, cut in half* and seeds removed
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 1 25-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 2 15-oz cans of kidney beans, rinsed and drained


In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt, pepper, cumin and chipotle.

In a large bowl or zipper-top bag, toss together cubed beef with flour mixture.

Preheat a large skillet. Add oil. Brown beef chunks in small batches and transfer to the slow cooker. Using the same skillet, add more oil (if needed) and cook onions, garlic, bell peppers and jalapeño halves until soft. Add to slow cooker.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste and Worcestershire to the empty pan, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer to the slow cooker. Add water to cover the meat. Cook on low for at least 8 hours, or all day.

With 15 minutes to go before serving, add kidney beans to warm through.

Serve with toppings of your choice — avocado, shredded cheese, diced onion, hot sauce — and crusty bread or cornbread.


I slipped once and called it chili. The Tiny Kitchen Assistant stopped mid-mouthful. “What? What did you say?”

“I said I’m feeling chilly,” I said, trying to cover. “Do you want more Beef and Beans?”

“Yeah, more of this, please. I like this one. It’s pretty tasty.”

Someday he’ll learn the truth. For now I’ve dodged a bullet.

* Note: I always use hot peppers in large chunks. They give their flavor, but can be easily retrieved from the finished product to prevent anyone from chomping down on a spicy bite.

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