Saturday, June 18, 2011

Crockpot Cooking: Hotdog Chili

The first time I ever found out how absurdly easy it was to make hotdog chili, I decided that I would start making it instead of buying it. Now, since we try to eat less pre-processed foods, I'm glad I learned how to make it.

Hotdog Chili
5 lbs Ground Beef           1 Large Onion
Tomato Juice                  Chili Seasoning mix (optional-I used 2)
Chili Powder                   Salt (also optional)

I don't bother making this in small amounts, although you can if you want. I typically make it when we're having company and freeze anything that's left, in meal sized portions, for our own use later. We're not really big hotdog eaters, so that seems to work fine for us. You can make this with nothing but salt and some chili powder, but I really prefer to use a couple of envelopes of the chili seasoning mix. It probably has cumin in it, so you could just add some of that instead, if you happen to keep it on hand - which I don't. You could also use more of the packets and not use any additional chili powder or salt if you like, but I like to taste and adjust as I go.
While you brown your ground beef, finely chop the onion.
Drain off as much of the fat as you can and throw in the onion for a few minutes, just until it begins to turn translucent.
Next, pour in your tomato juice. How much you use will depend on how runny, or thick you want your chili.
And finally, add your seasoning packets and two teaspoons of chili powder. Turn it on low and cook at least 8 hours.
A couple of times during cooking I use a potato masher to make sure any large chunks of ground beef get broken up. I also take a second or two to taste it and add more chili powder, or add a little salt if I think it needs it. You probably won't need to add salt at all if you use just the seasoning mixes (the general rule of thumb for them is one packet per pound of ground beef), but if you use only chili powder, or less of the mixes, you may need to add salt. The reason I don't add everything at the begining is beacase it takes awhile for the full flavor of the peppers to develop and any heat will increase during cooking.
All finished!

Mine is a little runnier than I usually make it, but I knew I would have to make this on Friday, and then heat it in a regular pot on Saturday. It would (and did) lose quite a bit of moisture during the reheating (and while waiting on my procrastinating relatives to show up).

Try it out. You can make it as spicy or as mild as you and your family like it.
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