Hayride Chili

Every fall, we host a Hayride and Bonfire Party and this is required each year!  It is made with slow-cooked shredded beef in place of the traditional ground beef … and chocolate makes a cameo in this recipe!  This makes enough to feed a large crowd of 20 – 30 people.  We put out corn chips (folks can pour the chili over them) …  and serve with chopped onions, sour cream and shredded cheese on the side.

The chili comes together in a roasting pan.  But, if you’re only wanting to make enough for your family, use a slow cooker and cut back on the ingredient quantities suggested.

The night before I am going to be making the chili, I prepare the meat: 

Beef roast (most any cut works) or boneless beef ribs

Large can of crushed or chunky tomatoes along with their juice (I usually use home-canned, but store-bought is fine)

1 large chopped onion

2 or 3 peeled garlic cloves, chopped

2 – 3 beef bouillon cubes




Olive oil

In large pot or Dutch Oven on the stove, heat oil to very hot temperature.  Salt and pepper meat on all sides, then sear in pot on all sides until browned.  Add onions and garlic.  Pour one large can of tomatoes with their juice over meat.  Add enough water to come half-way up the height of the meat.  Add bouillon cubes.  Bring liquid to boiling, then reduce to medium-low/low heat and braise meat until it is tender and it can easily be shredded or torn.  Turn meat once or twice during this process.  The length of cooking time will depend on cut and size of beef, but it will be usually 3 – 5 hours.  Remove meat and allow to cool slightly, then shred meat.  SAVE COOKING LIQUID! Remove any fat or bones from beef while shredding meat.  Once all meat is shredded, combine the meat and cooking liquid and store in fridge overnight in airtight container.

The day of:

In crock-pot or roaster pan (depending on how much chili you’re making), combine the following:

Prepared meat with juice (from night before)

More chopped onions and garlic

 1 green pepper, finely chopped

1 large can of tomato juice

1 – 2 large cans of tomatoes (any combination of chunky or crushed, per your preference)

1 large can whole tomatoes, if desired

2 – 3 packets chili seasoning (mild)

Variety of canned beans – I use light and dark kidney beans and chili beans (use 7 – 9 cans for a large roaster pan).

½ – 1 pepper, chopped finely, from a small can of Chili in Adobe Sauce.  (These are very inexpensive and found in Mexican section of supermarket.  They are smoked chilies in a tomato sauce.  DO NOT USE ONE CAN – JUST ONE PEPPER.  They are pretty spicy!)

½ – 1 tsp. dried oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 – 2 tsp. cumin, to taste

Additional chili powder or chili seasoning to taste, as chili cooks, if desired

Hershey’s Kisses or milk or dark chocolate bar – add towards end of cooking

Cook all day.  I start on HIGH, then reduce to LOW later as it cooks.  Adjust chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper as it cooks.  During last hour of cooking, add chopped kisses or chocolate bars … start with just a little.  My estimate is 4 – 5 kisses or ¼ of a regular-size bar.  It shouldn’t be sweet, however.  Add a little at a time and taste.

Freezes well!  Better the next day!  NOTE:  I used one large beef roast for my large roaster pan, which was a ton of meat once shredded.  If you’re making a smaller batch of chili in a crock-pot and if you’re roast is large, you may want to cut it in half before cooking and save the other half for another use.  Or, you can cook the whole beef roast if it is a large one as directed above and only use half for the chili and reserve the other half for beef tacos on another day.  Just add cumin or taco seasoning to meat on the day you’d like to make tacos!  It is delicious in tacos or enchiladas!



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