Dalmation Chili, v. 1.0, Crockpot

No dogs are harmed in making this chili. It uses pork, and it’s based on a recipe in one of Mable Hoffman’s books, called Black and White chili because it uses black and white beans. The basic recipe is kind of bland and I have adapted it. Claire asked about Dalmations when I mentioned it. It has a bit of heat, but is basically mild. Very tasty though.
It’s a crockpot recipe and would have to be adapted for stovetop cooking. It uses canned beans, which is simpler than soaking and cooking dried beans. There is some processing at the beginning, and then it cooks at the low heat setting for 6 hours.

I used a 5 and a half quart pot and this recipe half filled the pot. It made a couple of good servings, with two 750 ml (25 oz) containers of left overs. I would say it serves 6 as a main dish, if you use salads, bread, taco chips and other side dishes. If it’s a meal for hungry people who have worked or worked out, it will feed 4 with large helpings or second helpings.
The raw ingredients and the basic processing:
Pork, bone out, about 450 grams/1 pound, cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Medium-large yellow bell pepper cut into small chunks.
One large cooking onion, thinly sliced and then chopped into small pieces, but not too fine; not minced.
Three good sized cloves of garlic, crushed.
There are many options for the pork. Pork stew works, but it would still need to be cleaned up and cut down to smaller chunks. I used a boneless chop – a loin end I think. Not too fancy or pricy. I cleaned up the fat and sinew as a chopped it. A nice sharp chef’s knife works for this.
The canned goods:
One 540 ml/19 oz can of black beans, rinsed well and drained.
One 540 ml/19 oz can of white kidney beans, rinsed well and drained.
One 400 ml/14 oz can of diced tomatoes.
One small (215 ml/8 oz) can of tomato sauce.
The cookbook recipe suggested “small white beans” which probably means navy beans. I didn’t have any so I used the kidney beans, which was fine. I don’t know if it matters if you use 14 oz cans of beans, but keep in mind that is a 25 percent reduction in a major ingredient. Canned beans have a thick sticky liquid, and it is important to rinse this for flavour and for gastic comfort. The famous gas producing capability of beans is in a chemical that comes out of the beans into the liquids in the can during the canning process.
The cookbook suggested one fresh tomato, peeled and seeded. Peeling and seeding tomatoes is too much trouble for making chili, and one tomato isn’t enough. If I used fresh, I would use a couple of medium-large tomatoes.
The spices and flavours:
One tablespoon of store-bought chili powder.
One and half teaspoons ground cumin
Half a teaspoon dried oregano
Quarter teaspoon ground cayenne.
Quarter teaspoon ground sage.
Half a teaspoon of crushed red pepper/pepper flakes
A one ounce shot of tequilla.
This a pretty dry mix, and it needs to be stirred well to distribute the spices. Then it gets cooked on the low setting for about 6 hours. As the vegetables and beans cook, the pot starts to fill with liquid and in the end there is a fair amount of broth in the pot.
A slice of bread can be nicely dipped into the chili, or used to clean the juices in the bottom of the bowl.
Store bought chili powder is a blend of paprika and crushed chili peppers with a little cumin and oregano and cayenne. It’s good as a base spice but it does need some customizing.
Adapting this for a stovetop would be easy. The main thing is the moisture level. A crockpot does not come to a boil, and there is a big heavy lid. Moisture in the ingredients comes out into a broth, and does not boil off. I would start with some oil and start the onions and garlic first on a fairly high heat setting When the onions started to get a little soft, I would throw in the meat and brown it. Then the beans, and diced or chopped tomatoes but not the tomato sauce. Cooking the onions and the meat would creates a bit of broth in the pan, but perhaps not enough. If it looks dry after adding the beans and tomatoes – and I think it will – I would add some water or beer. Not too much, because there is fluid in the ingredients which will come out. I would hold back the tomato sauce for a while and add it in to thicken the sauce again. I would simmer it for a half hour or an hour.
I don’t think it’s necessary to change (reduce) the amount of spices to cook this on a stove. These amounts are close to the ones I use in chilis cooked on the stove. Some crockpot recipe books say that converting a stovetop recipe to crockpot calls for extra spice because a crockpot recipe tends to end up with extra fluid, which may dilute the spices. This implies you would reduce the spice in a crockpot recipe to cook it on a stove. I think that’s a factor to consider, but not a good general rule for adapting regular recipes for a crockpot. If you have already addressed the fluid issue – using less fluid to a crockpot in making a stew or chili – you would not need to increase the spices in the crockpot version of a regular recipe. In a crockpot you start dry, and on a stove you need more moisture at the start, and simmer to reduce the liquid. If you end up with the same amount of fluid, you should use basically the same spices – with some exceptions.
If you added water after putting in the beans and tomatoes, it should be safe to use the same spices. If not, think about cutting back a little.
Some spices tend to lose their effect in long slow cooking, and some specific crockpot recipes may overemphasize some spices to deal with this. Bay leaves, cinnamon, bell peppers. I don’t think any adjustments are needed for this recipe.


One response to “Dalmation Chili, v. 1.0, Crockpot”

  1. Once again, I am drooling on my keyboard. This has got to stop.