This is an old recipe that has been updated and improved on the blog. I am leaving the original printer-friendly recipe here in case anyone was a fan of the original version. Check out Slow Cooker Beef and Refried Bean Chili to see the new lower-carb version.

(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe adapted from Penzeys catalog recipe by Kathleen Bergeron.)


I used a 2.5 quart slow cooker for this recipe. If you only have a big slow cooker, I’d  just double the recipe. You can definitely freeze the leftovers if you have any!

1 lb. lean ground beef (use beef with less than 10% fat for South Beach Diet)
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 T minced garlic (or less)
2 tsp. chile powder
2 tsp. ground Ancho chile pepper (or use more regular chile powder if you don’t have Ancho)
1 T ground cumin (or less if you’re not a big fan of cumin)
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
1 1/4 cups salsa (I used Pace Mild Picante Sauce)
1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans or black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
1 can (14 oz.) beef broth
2 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
lime slices for serving (optional)

Heat two tsp. olive oil in a large heavy frying pan; add the ground beef and saute about 10 minutes or until beef is well-browned, breaking it apart with the turner as it cooks.  Remove beef and place in slow cooker.  (You can rinse the browned meat in a fine strainer with hot water before you put it in the slow cooker if you want to remove some of the fat.)
Add the other tsp. of oil to the pan, add onions, and saute until they’re starting to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and cook a minute or two more; then add the chili powder, ground Ancho chili pepper, ground cumin, and Mexican oregano and saute about 2 more minutes.  Scrape the onions and spices into the slow cooker, along with the salsa.
Dump both cans of beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears.  Let beans drain a minute while you add the beef broth and refried beans to the pan where you sauteed the onions and spices.  Mix with a whisk or fork until the refried beans are well mixed into the broth; then add that to the slow cooker.  Add the drained beans to the slow cooker.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  (I would check after about 4 hours to see if you want to add a tiny bit of water; this is a fairly thick chili but some people might prefer it slightly thinner.)  When chili is done, stir in the lime juice and serve hot.
This freezes well and can be reheated in a microwave or in a small pan on the stove.

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