Every year a group of our friends gets together for their Annual Chili Cook-Off. I love going to them, not just to try to win, but to enjoy the fellowship of our long time friends. We do not see them very often, as we live in another county, but when we do it is a treat to pick up where we left off!
This year I tried a few new recipes and found a new secret weapon: the pressure cooker! I know a lot of you are now backing away from your computer right now because you see it exploding! The modern pressure cookers have valves that prevent that from happening. My parents gave me a nice German made Fissler pressure cooker about 12 years ago, it has been a great tool in the kitchen. I just never made chili in it before! What the pressure cooker does to the meat (cheap chuck roast, trimmed of its fat) is amazing. The downfall of cooking it in the crock pot for hours is that the meat tends to get stringy – but it is very tender. In the pressure cooker, the meat becomes tender and juicy but still holds its consistency.
I have a chili recipe that I really have liked for a long time. This year I decided to tweak it just a little and to cook it in the pressure cooker. I did the prep work in my trusty cast iron skillet, because I like how well it retains the heat and it holds a lot. Then I finished it in the pressure cooker. I could have just used my pressure cooker rather than dirty another pot, but I find it a little more cumbersome to cook bacon and brown the meat in it.
Becky’s Pressure Cooker Chili
Serves 6 – 8
- 1 package thick cut bacon, cooked til crisp (reserving the drippings for browning the meat)
- 3 lbs beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/2 inch dice
- salt and pepper to season the meat
- garlic powder to season the meat
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped
- 1 orange (or yellow, or green) bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped
- 1/2 cup minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp Ancho chili powder
- 2 Tbsp Chili powder
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 (14-15 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (14-15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 (14-15 oz) can of chili beans, kidney beans, or navy beans (your choice)
I heated my cast iron skillet up about 10 minutes over medium high heat, before I cooked the bacon, rendering out the fat. I drained the crisp bacon on paper towels and poured off the bacon fat to a small bowl, leaving about 1 tablespoon of fat in my skillet.
I had removed most of the fat from my beef chuck roast and cut into bite sized pieces. Seasoned the meat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder before browning the meat cubes in the skillet over medium high heat in the bacon fat. I did this in smaller batches so that the meat had a chance to brown. I stirred a few times and removed the meat to a bowl. Repeated the process with the remaining meat until the meat cubes were also browned. I added a tablespoon of bacon fat to each batch to aid the browning. I once again removed all the meat from the skillet.
Added 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings to the skillet and cooked the onions and peppers for about 5 minutes until the onions were beginning to turn opaque. I added the minced garlic and cooked for another minute until it was fragrant. I added the Ancho powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes to the onion mixture and cooked it for another 30 seconds. I added the tomato paste and meat cubes back into the skillet and stirred to combine. Then I added the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and water to the skillet and stirred to combine. I decided to add the beans in after cooking the meat in the pressure cooker because they were already cooked and there was not much room left in my pressure cooker…
I ladled the chili into my pressure cooker, secured the lid, cranked the heat to high and watched carefully to make sure it had reached high pressure before turning my burner down and setting the timer for 15 minutes. I do keep a careful watch to maintain the pressure on high (mine has an indicator for high and low pressure – the low is intended for veggies and such). After the timer went off, I turned off the heat and allowed the pot to sit until the pressure released itself on its own and the valves released steam. This took another 15 minutes or so.
After the lid released, I stirred in the beans. Forced my husband to taste it with me (it did not take much persuasion) and allowed it to cool before putting it in the fridge.. that’s right.. the chili is really better the second day..
Serve with crisp bacon bits, sour cream if desired, and grated cheddar cheese. My children insist that when I make chili I also make Corn Bread Pudding .