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GoNOLA Recipes at Home: Emeril’s Slow-Cooker Chili

Ring in the New Year with a new recipe. This hearty chili is a warming treat on winter evenings, plus the slow cooker technique is ideal for back-to-work schedules. Prep the ingredients, and cook on high for about six hours – you’ll have a delicious dinner when you walk in the door.

Slow-cooker chili. (photo: Steven Depolo on Flickr)

Recipe by Emeril Lagasse

Yield: 6-8 servings


  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican or regular oregano, crumbled between your fingers
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons light or dark brown sugar
  • 4 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 medium onions, coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery, including leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 jalapeño chiles, roughly chopped
  • One 12-ounce bottle dark Mexican beer, such as Negro Modelo
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons masa harina (corn flour, not cornstarch)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish
  • Chopped green onion, for garnish
  • Sour cream, for garnish


Combine the chili powder, cumin seeds, cayenne, cinnamon, oregano, bay leaves and brown sugar in a small bowl; set the spice mixture aside.

Add the beef to a medium bowl and season with the pepper and 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a 12-inch or larger skillet over high heat. Add enough beef to fill the pan and cook until nicely browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn the pieces over and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer the browned beef to the crock of a 6-quart slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining beef, adding the remaining vegetable oil between batches as necessary.

Add the onions, celery, and 1 tablespoon of the remaining salt to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeños and spice mixture and cook for 1 minute longer. Pour in the beer, tomato paste and crushed tomatoes and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the chocolate, masa harina and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and cook for 1 minute longer. Transfer this mixture to the slow cooker.

Cover and cook the chili on high, undisturbed or stirring only once during cooking, for 6 hours, or until the beef is very tender. Remove the bay leaves and stir in the cilantro and parsley. Serve the chili hot in bowls, topped with grated cheddar, chopped green onion and sour cream.

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