Meatball Chili

Well that didn’t take long.  Here’s to the requests for my almost famous meatball chili:  all things are measured according to how much my slow-cooker holds.

Ingredients – serves 4

  • frozen meatballs – 24
  • healthy slice of red onion
  • 1 can of chili beans
  • 1 can of chopped, stewed tomatoes
  • favorite chili seasonings; I use a combination of paprika, chili powder, and Habanero Seasoning from Hell (TM), occasionally with garlic or jalapenos.
  • the novel you’ve been meaning to read

This really is a no-brainer.  Slice the onion like you’re cutting a pizza and layer the ingredients into your slow-cooker.  Tomatoes first, followed by meatballs, onion, seasonings, and chili beans.   Turn the setting on high, relocate to your favorite easy chair and start reading that novel.

Once you’re about four hours in, just when the mustachioed villain finally takes the heroine captive, take a break.  Dig a wooden spoon out of the big flatware drawer and stir the chili.  At this point, the meatballs should be completely thawed but not quite hot through.  The chili sauce from the beans will have worked it’s way through the seasonings, over the meatballs and into the tomatoes and juice, creating your sauce base.  Is it too thick?  Add water by the 1/4 cup until thin enough.  Too thin?  Add a tablespoon of flour to 1/4 cup of cold water and stir until blended.  Add this to your chili to thicken the sauce.  Stir gently so as not to break apart the meatballs.  Go back to your book.

Just before the hero escapes the villain’s deathtrap, or in another four hours, go back to the kitchen and turn on the oven.  Chili is properly served with cornbread.  No, I’m not going to give you the recipe, it’s right on the back of the box of Jiffy brand corn muffin mix.  If you use anything else, that’s your own fault.  Sometimes I make muffins, sometimes I make a whole cake, and sometimes I just turn on the griddle and fry em up into johnny cakes.  Can’t bear not to tinker with perfect cornbread?  Add a 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, whole kernel cut corn, or sliced jalapenos.  Feel better?  Everything should be hot through by now, serve in crockery, bread boule, or pumpkin tureen.

Don’t fall for the lies some people tell about chili: that it should cover noodles, or be topped with cheese or sour cream.  At the very most some chopped green onions would add a bit of color, as would those jalapenos if you haven’t put them in already.  If you’re out of cornbread I suppose you coud get away with Fritos, tortilla chips, or crackers of some kind, I won’t report you.

Ladle yourself some chili, pour a glass of milk, set some cornbread on your plate and go finish reading that book!

Last 5 posts by Winston Crutchfield