11 January 2013

Crock Pot Gourmet: Stacked Chili

What holiday visit to see family would be complete without the traditional holiday flu virus? While visiting my parents for New Year's Eve, we all got to take turns feeling sick and run-down. Of course, this meant that no one was really in the mood to cook elaborate meals, and we did a lot of crock-pot cooking. Comfort foods like this "Stacked Chili" with easy ingredients from Mom and Dad's pantry  were just what the doctor ordered!

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.
For a printable version without pictures, click here.
I used my parents' 5-quart crock pot, and it was a little too full. (We ended up with some chili overflow mess.) The next time I make this chili, I'll use my 7-quart crock pot. Or cut the amount of tomatoes and corn in half (one can of each, instead of two).
First, gather your ingredients:
2 cans (28 oz) diced tomatoes
2 cans (15 oz.) black beans
1 can (15 oz.) creamed corn
1 can (15 oz.) corn niblets
1 can (6oz) diced green chiles
1 large onion, diced
2-3 Tbsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp. rosemary
5-6 dried arbol chili pods (optional)
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb. corn tortillas

In a large bowl, combine everything but the chili pods, cheese and tortillas. Mix well to combine. (Do not drain the cans of veggies. The juices will combine to make the broth part of the chili.)

Pour about 1 c. of the mixture into the bottom of your crock pot.
Layer with tortillas.
Add another layer of the vegetable mixture and a couple handfuls of shredded cheese.
Add another layer of tortillas and the dried peppers. You can crush the peppers and mix them in with the other veggies, if desired, but I kept them whole, because they aren't as spicy this way, and anyone who prefers a milder flavor (like my youngest daughter) could easily choose to set the whole chili pepper aside instead of eating it.
(For my carnivorous friends, you can add in your favorite meat here, as you layer your ingredients. We tried it with leftover turkey, and it was pretty good, but you might also have leftover steak, chicken or ground beef, or even meatballs, though I would cut those up if I planned to add them to this recipe. Whatever suits your fancy - this chili is very adaptable.)
Continue to layer tortillas, vegetable mixture and cheese, ending with a layer of vegetable mixture and cheese. (You'll want to leave about an inch and a half at the top of the crock pot, so it won't bubble over while cooking. Don't fill it to the tippy-top like I did here.)
Cook on high for about 3 to 3 1/2 hours or on low for 6 to 7 hours. Serve. (You can top with sour cream or non-fat, plain Greek yogurt, or simply eat as is, like we did.)
(By the way, if anyone has any tips for taking pretty pictures of food, I'd love to hear them. I feel like the pictures I take never look as yummy as the food really is!)