Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Overnight Chili: "Set it and forget it!" - Ron Popeil

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Overnight chili
I really do love cooking with my crock pot but for some dishes I feel it is too hot and believe it or not, cooks things too fast.  Since I spend a lot of time working with inexpensive cuts of meat I really appreciate that low and slow can turn something that is just "OK" into something truly delectable.  (I know, I said it.  I promised myself I wouldn't use the blog name in a post, but I couldn't help myself!)  Slow overnight cooking allows you to prepare your dish in advance and adjust it as needed well before it is time to eat.  It also gives a level of flavor blending and depth to the dish that I don't feel you can achieve with any other cooking method.

This overnight chili recipe has only a few ingredients so be sure you make the ones you use count.  Good quality tomatoes, well trimmed stew meat, and dried smokey flavorful peppers are a must.  I am able to find the dried peppers I use at my general grocery store, in the Ethnic foods section.  You can substitute fresh chilies if you prefer although I think you lose a key underlying smokiness when you do that, or even a pre-made "chili powder" if you want.  A teaspoon of smoked sweet paprika can help balance out the flavor if you do use fresh chilies or a dried spice.

Overnight Chili

Michelle K.
This is a make ahead recipe, requiring the use of the oven over night to get the flavors blended together and the meat very very tender. The kind of dried chili you use is what will determine the heat of your final chili. If you prefer a milder chili, stick with dried pablanos. For a spicier chili, use a mixture of pablano, jalapeño, and even habanero, depending on your taste.


  • 1.5 lbs stew beef chunks
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 1 onion peeled and chopped
  • 1 green pepper cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 3 dried chili peppers, chopped, seeds and all
  • 1 Tbs ground cumin
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups canned tomatoes, crushed
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 3 Tbs cornmeal
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 (F).
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat your oil over a medium-high flame. After sprinkling the stew beef cubes with salt and pepper, carefully brown the meat making sure you do this in small batches and do not crowd the pan. Drain each batch on a paper towel lined plate.
  3. Once all the meat is browned and set aside, add the onion, green pepper, and celery to the same pot, incorporating the oil and browned bits into the veggies. Turn the heat down to medium and stir often, letting the onions become translucent. Add the garlic, cumin and dried pepper, stirring until it is very fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, water and browned stew meat back to the pot, put the lid on it, and move it to the oven.
  5. Cook overnight in the oven for 10 - 12 hours. At this low temperature it will cook very slowly, letting the flavors blend together and tenderize the meat.
  6. Check the chili in the morning to see if it is the consistency you would like. Adjust the salt and pepper as needed. If the chili is a little thin, remove the lid and turn the oven up to 350 (F). Let it cook for another hour or more without the lid on it until you are happy.
  7. Stir the cornmeal with a small amount of water until you have a thick slurry. Pour this into your hot chili pot and let it simmer together another 30 minutes. If you would like to add a can of beans this would be the time. Just add them when you add the cornmeal mixture and then simmer for 30 minutes or more.
  8. The chili is ready to serve. You can move your pot to the stove top on a cold burner and just re-heat it when you are ready later the same day, or store in the refrigerator and re-heat when wanted. Top with your favorite goodies like fresh onion, sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced avocado, hot sauce, corn bread, over rice or with a side of chips.
Yield: 10 servings

Prep Time: 00:35
Cook time: 12:00


Calories: 268
Total carbs: 10