Photo: Lee Harrelson
Yield
Makes 15 to 18 cups

There's almost nothing more comforting during cool weather than a warm bowl of chili. If you'll be entertaining a large crowd during the fall or winter months, this slow-cooker chili recipe belongs on your party menu. The big batch recipe makes 15 to 18 cups, so you won't have to worry about running out of food. After you brown the meat, you can just throw all of the ingredients for this hearty chili into your slow cooker. You'll then have plenty of time to prepare for your guest while it cooks. We recommend offering your guests sour cream, shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, and sliced ripe black olives to top their chili. 

How to Make It

Step 1

Cook ground chuck, in batches, in a large skillet over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Place meat in a 6-quart slow cooker; stir in onions, next 12 ingredients, and, if desired, beans. Cook, covered, at HIGH 5 to 6 hours or at LOW 6 to 8 hours. Remove and discard bay leaf. Serve with desired toppings.

Step 2

Cooktop preparation: Cook ground chuck, in batches, in a large Dutch oven. Drain beef and return to Dutch oven. Add onions, next 12 ingredients, and, if desired, beans. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer 4 to 6 hours. Remove and discard bay leaf.

Step 3

To freeze: Let chili stand 30 minutes. Evenly divide chili mixture into 3 (1-gallon) zip-top plastic freezer bags; seal and lay each bag flat. Stack bags of chili in freezer. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw frozen chili overnight in refrigerator or defrost in microwave. Pour thawed chili into a 9-inch square baking dish. Cover tightly with heavy-duty plastic wrap, and fold back a corner to allow steam to escape. Microwave at HIGH 6 to 7 minutes or until bubbly, stirring after 3 1/2 minutes.