I’m going to let you in on a big secret. The recipes I post here are either recipe attempts I’ve tried that have worked the first few times and need only minor improvements here and there and others are recipes that need huge overhauls that I’ve found time to perfect. There are millions of recipes in between those that do not work at the moment, are not even close to working or others that have no chance of ever working at all. Shocking? The three bean slow cooker chili I attempted two days ago, and tried again yesterday, fits snugly into the ‘does not work at the moment’ category.

Perhaps you already know very well that this isn’t a secret. And so in an effort of transparency, I am going to post my chili failure with the hope that when I do get it right, I can look back an update this post amidst successful jubilation. Please, dear sweet and spicy, hearty and freezer-able chili gods, let it work and come together in bowls of glorious, meat free chili soon. My stomach implores you.

I began with the desire for a slow cooker chili without ground meat. Why? Isn’t that chili heresy? Perhaps. But by now I’ve gone ahead and made my own too much meat is bad for my health paranoia bed the Saturday I spent watching two movies back to back, plate of cheesy nachos in hand atop the couch: Forks over Knives and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. The latter having such an uplifting title was more of a pro-juicing film and less anti-meat than the former, but the theme of more vegetables (and legumes, like our friends the beans) and less meat the better. And atop of all this, I love three bean chili. Lucked out there. I love it. I love that you can make a lot and freeze it. I love the spicy bite that lingers hours after I’ve had three bowls and counting. I love the cheese you can not so delicately shred over the hot, heaping mess and the discovery of a fancy dressing, called creama, that is really not fancy at all and is the most simple, three ingredient max, dressing ever. I don’t love the amount of time it takes to make or the typical calling for pre-seasoned taco packs with ingredients I can’t pronounce, but I love me a big bowl of cheesy-spicy-good-for-me (cilantro adorned! chives and cumin crema!) chili, and I’m determined to perfect the recipe.

Here’s what I’ve got so far. Suggestions? I’m taking them, stomach growling and all.

Spicy Three Bean Slow Cooker Chili
serves: TBD

1 lb of Pinto Beans, dried and rinsed
1 lb of Kidney Beans, dried and rinsed
1 lb of Black Beans, dried and rinsed
1 jalapeno sliced, seeds intact
1 white onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 liters (?) of vegetable stock
2 24 ounce jars of diced tomatoes
1 7 ounce jar of tomato paste
water added?
sour cream, cilantro leaves, cumin, pepper, Monterey Jack cheese for toppings
seasoning: paprika, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper (?) more paprika?

All of the ingredients go into the slow cooker. Problems encountered: too many things, doesn’t all fit into my slow cooker and tends to dry out too quickly. Upsides discovered: jalapeno (without seeds removed) is key. Questions: is water necessary or should I use more vegetable broth? Solutions? Hopefully soon.

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