I don’t know about where you live, but here in Indiana lately the weather has been a rollercoaster! One day 60 degrees, the next it’s snowing. Talk about weird weather! It’s been a mild winter here, which has been great since this is my first winter in Indianapolis. When I’m stuck inside on those 30 degree days, there’s nothing I crave more than a big bowl of chili. My Slow Cooker Beef & Bean Texas Chili is my take on classic Texas Chili. Two cuts of beef, two types of bean, and the perfect bite of spice to make you warm up on a cold day. This is a Weight Watcher friendly recipe and each serving is 7 SmartPoints.
My husband and I moved to Indianapolis about 6 months ago from Austin, Texas. A lot of our friends and family couldn’t believe we’d leave the amazing weather in Texas for a cold city like Indy. I’ve lived in Texas most of my life and an average winter for me is 50-60 degree weather. My husband is from the Northeast so when we knew we were going to move to Indy, he was honestly a bit excited to experience cold winters again (he lived in Texas for the last 14 years). The week before Christmas, it snowed 4 inches here which seemed like a foot of snow to me since I had never experienced that before. We thought that snow day was a premonition for what we were to expect for our first winter in Indianapolis…
Surprisingly it’s only snowed 3 or 4 times here. Our first winter in Indianapolis has been totally bearable! In fact, a few weekends ago it was 60 degrees and sunny so dusted off our bicycles and rode around the city… which is our favorite thing to do on a Saturday afternoon: Biking around the city, seeing all the beautiful historic buildings, and exploring new territory. Indianapolis is such a bike friendly city and we love it. There is an urban bike and pedestrian path, called the Cultural Trail, which starts close to our house and runs all the way through downtown Indy. The Cultural Trail is one of the best things about Indy… it’s a paved, pedestrian lane that allows us to ride our bikes from our house all the way to downtown! Where we lived in Austin, there was no way we could ride our bikes around the city. Even though it’s technically still winter, if it’s 50-60 degrees outside, you’ll likely see us cruising around town and enjoy this awesome city!
On the days that it’s cold outside, I’m inside making a batch of something that warms me up, which is usually soup, stew or chili. Chili in Texas is a sacred thing. If you are from Texas, you have to know how to make chili. It’s in our blood, just like making tacos and queso. There is even a restaurant in Austin dedicated to chili called the Texas Chili Parlor. Authentic Texas Chili has ground beef, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, chilies, and tomatoes… with no beans. You read that right… no beans. I know. I love me some beans so when I make chili, I add beans. I have to!
I have been making this chili recipe for years. It’s very similar to the chili I grew up eating. The days that my mom make chili were the best days. I love her chili. In Texas, when you make chili, you have to eat it with cheese, sour cream, and fritos. It’s basically frito pie. It’s so good! If you order chili at a restaurant in Texas and it doesn’t come with fritos, they made it wrong ;-). My Slow Cooker Beef & Bean Texas Chili is a nod to my mom’s classic chili, with a few tweaks.
Anytime I make something in a crock pot with beef or pork, I always sear the meat before adding to the crock pot. This recipe calls for beef stew meat and ground beef. In a large cast iron skillet, brown the ground beef and stew meat for about 8 minutes. Season the meat with salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder, then add cornstarch and tomato paste. This creates a nice gravy on the meat. Once the meat is cooked, add to the crock pot along with diced jalapenos, serrano, and onion. Add canned tomato sauce, water, and spices to the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours. It will be the longest 8 hours of your life! This chili is so good that it will be hard to wait 8 hours to eat!
After the chili cooks for 8 hours, add pinto beans and black beans to the crock pot and cook for another 15 minutes. If the chili is too dry, add a little bit of water but not too much. This chili is thick and hearty with barley any liquid. The key to a good chili is cooking it for hours. One time I made this chili overnight in the slow cooker (so I could have it ready in the morning) and I kept waking up hungry because I could smell the scrumptious chili all the way upstairs!
Slow Cooker Beef & Bean Texas Chili is my take on classic Texas Chili. Two cuts of beef, two types of bean, and the perfect bite of spice to make you warm up on a chilly day. Cooked low and slow for a bowl packed with tender meat and perfectly spiced. To make this chili Weight Watcher friendly, I like to serve with reduced fat shredded cheese, non-fat plain Greek yogurt, and homemade tortilla strips (rather than fritos). Hearty, healthy, and freezer friendly! This is a great recipe to make during a busy work week… just dump all the ingredients into the crock pot in the morning, leave for work, then come back to an amazing dinner ready to go!
I hope you enjoy these meaty bites of flavor!