I don’t know about you but I love to eat a good chili at ANY time of the year. I especially love it in the winter, but I always make extra so that I can have some for the freezer. That way, any time I just want to have a nice hot bowl of comfort, I have some ready to go! I mean, c’mon.. is there anything more comforting than a hot bowl of chili, with a dollop of sour cream, and some cheddar cheese on top?!.. Nope!.. Didn’t think so.
I found an original recipe on the Civilized Caveman Cooking website.. and the second I found it I knew it had to make it to the test kitchen! There are a few things about this recipe that we must chat about! First off.. my favorite way to make this recipe is to use ground elk and ground beef, however this chili is so delicious with any kind of ground meat (and I am NOT just saying that!), and do not be afraid to mix them either! Bison in replacement of elk is a suuuper close second, but having an avid hunter as a father has its benefits to access to lots of elk meat, so that is my go-to. The heat in this chili is on point! It cooks low and slow and the heat really brings the flavor! I love that it’s hot, but it is not the burn-your-mouth-off-can’t-taste-anything-for-the-rest-of-the-week kinda hot. And of course, when you make it in your own kitchen you can easily adjust the amount of spice depending on your own taste! Lastly, you may notice that the ingredients list does not have beans! That’s right folks, the delicious roasted zucchini takes the place and does not disappoint! My favorite way to cook this chili is to brown the meat and veggies before adding them to the slow cooker, because I find that when you roast the veggies it just adds that little extra something, but if you are in a hurry, all the ingredients can easily be tossed in the slow cooker without that step and it will still taste delicious.
**Just a reminder that this is not my original recipe. The original recipe can be found HERE. This is simply my take on it.**
- 1 lb ground elk meat
- 1 lb ground lean ground beef
- 1-2 onions – diced
- 1/2 lb mushrooms – chopped
- 2 zucchini – peeled & diced
- 3 bell peppers – diced – I prefer the stop-light trio (red, yellow, & green)
- 1 jalapeno – diced
- 1 14oz can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 jar (or) lrg can of tomato sauce
- 1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 – 1 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
Brown the ground meat in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and let cook down just until the onion starts to soften and becomes translucent. Remove the ground meat and onion from pan and add to slow cooker. Add some cooking fat to your pan (2-3 tbsp of bacon fat works wonderfully, but any type would be fine) and toss the zucchini and peppers into the pan. Let them cook down for about 5 min (still over medium heat.) Remove from the pan and add to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and give it a good stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until you are ready to eat. Prepare this dish mid-morning and let it simmer away the afternoon in time for dinner!
I have made this recipe a few times over, served it to family and friends and everyone has loved it, so I hope that you do too!