Take the edge off chilly weather with a pot of chili

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Chilly temperatures in the heart of the winter call for a hearty dish like chili.

Some people make it with beans, some make it with meat, and some make it with both. But however you make it, chili is the perfect dish for a cold winter day. When mixed up in a slow cooker, it can be waiting for you when you get home from work.

These vegetarian and traditional chili recipes—both for preparation in a slow cooker—are from Virginia Farm Bureau employees who were winners in a 2017 chili contest at the company’s home office.

Rainbow Vegetarian Chili

3 cups of dried beans (Mix your favorites: black, kidney, cannellini, navy, garbanzo, etc.)
1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red, green, orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
2-4 jalapeño peppers (Save some for garnish)
26-ounce can crushed or strained tomatoes
¼ teaspoon chipotle spice
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (Omit if the jalapeños are enough spice for you)
6 cups water OR combination of water and vegetable broth
1 cup wild rice OR quinoa
sea or Himalayan salt to taste

Rinse beans, and soak them in water overnight. Drain and rinse beans the next morning.

Rub coconut or olive oil all over the inside of a slow cooker to keep the rice or quinoa from sticking. Add beans, onion, garlic, bell and jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, spices and water (or water and broth) to the slow cooker. Stir, and add rice or quinoa.

Cook for 6-7 hours on high or 10-12 hours on low, until beans are tender. Stir occasionally, if you’re around, to keep the rice or quinoa from clumping at the bottom.

Source: Christy Gilman, business intelligence analyst, Virginia Farm Bureau

Lone Star Chili

3 pounds ground beef OR 1½ pounds each ground beef and ground venison
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 16-ounce cans tomatoes
2 cans diced tomato and chiles (such as Ro-Tel)
6-ounce can tomato paste
12-ounce can or bottle beer
3-4 teaspoons cumin
1-2 teaspoons garlic salt
1-2 teaspoons oregano
3 tablespoons chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons masa flour
2 15-ounce cans kidney beans

In a skillet, brown the meat with the onion and garlic, then drain. Place meat mixture in a slow cooker with next 9 ingredients. Cook 5 hours on low. In a small bowl, mix some of the chili broth with masa flour, and stir mixture into chili a little at a time to thicken.

Add beans, and cook for another hour.

Source: Angela Haskovec, senior program coordinator, Virginia Farm Bureau

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