It only took a couple hungry teenagers to convince us that we had to serve chili at the home basketball games one Nashville winter. With no winter grilling option at the indoor gym, the b-ball concessions menu would not feature our reputation-gaining hamburgers and cheeseburgers that dosed the Green Hills neighborhood in a meaty charcoal mist. Plain hot dogs and cheese nachos, even with pickled jalapeno slices, well, the kids just weren’t feeling it. They wanted something hot.
We’d quickly figured out that a bare bones crock pot, and not some goofy food service cheese warmer, was the way to manage hot, gooey cheese. And with a pile of NASCAR-themed crocks in cool carrying cases lined up at home, all we needed was some red New Mexico chile paste and plenty of pinto beans. Plus, we got the one dollar up-sell out of it. And Mindy is a master at the up-sell. Good moms usually are.
- 1 pound dry pinto beans, cooked (about six cups cooked beans, sure include some of the juice
- 5 pounds ground beef, cooked
- 3 cups chopped onions
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes (no one wants recognizable chunks of tomato in their chili)
- 1 1/2 cups New Mexico chili paste (or just start adding mild chili powder to your liking, probably about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dry oregano
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
- Cook the meat in a large skillet until no longer pink. Remove from the skillet and drain.
- Place it in a large (at least 6 quarts) slow cooker.
- Cook the onions in the oil in the same skillet over medium heat until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked onions, tomatoes, and chili paste to the slow cooker. Stir well.
- Season with the cumin, oregano and salt.
- Simmer on high or low until game time (a few hours).
- Makes enough for about 50 servings of concession stand nachos and chili dogs.