Ubi Libertas Slow-Cooker Chili

To the purist, this may not qualify as chili — but the great thing about food is that it’s defined by those who enjoy it.

And this is chili.

Fresh tomatoes and fresh corn, as well as dried beans (soaked overnight, drained and cooked before adding to the chili), would make a good dish even better, but this is a relatively low-drag version of the recipe.

A recipe is just a place to start

1 pound chorizo, browned & drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can whole-kernel corn, drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
2 quarts tomato juice
6 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded & diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded & diced
3 to 5 jalapeño or serrano peppers, seeded & minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Black pepper, freshly ground

Place all ingredients except the lime juice, cilantro, chili powder, cumin and black pepper into a slow-cooker — a.k.a. Crock-Pot® — and cook on high for 30 minutes.

Add the lime juice, cilantro, chili powder and cumin. Stir the ingredients thoroughly to combine.

Cook on high for 2 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Set the cooker to low and cook for 4 to 6 hours (or longer), stirring occasionally.

Note: The longer this chili is slow-cooked, the more the ingredients will sacrifice their textures, literally dissolving into the base. Reduce cooking time for a fresher, chunkier chili; or increase cooking time — up to 24 hours — for a smoother, earthier result that’s all about taste.

An hour or so before serving, check consistency and add more tomato juice if desired. Season to taste. Stir. Reduce heat to “keep warm.”

Spoon the chili into shallow bowls. Serves 4 to 6.

Serving suggestions
Dust the rim of the serving bowl with ground cayenne; top the chili with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and sour cream; garnish with scallions, cilantro leaves or a slice of lime. Fresh whole-grain bread is a must, as is a pint of substantial ale.