Slow Cooking: Chicken Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Peppers

The Sunday tradition at Chez Gourmess is to sleep in, laze around with a cappuccino à la Chris, and put something delightful in the slow cooker to enjoy the rest of the week.

I love using the slow cooker because I can get creative (no measuring, really), the house smells amazing all day, and there's no stressing since whatever goes into the pot will turn out nicely -- you can't really mess it up.

Ready, Set, Slow!
A few things to note about using a slow cooker:
  • Unless you're making a soup, less is more when it comes to liquid so don't overdo it. Basically whatever amount of liquid you have in the pot will at least double when it's done cooking.
  • If you're using alcohol in your recipe, a little goes a long way.
  • Save the fresh herbs for plating the dish -- use dry in your slow cooker recipe.
  • Use a little more seasoning that you normally would if you were stove top or oven cooking. And  before you serve it, see if the seasonings need adjusted, as the lengthy cooking time can reduce some of the strength of your spices.
  • Try not to lift the lid while cooking. (Chris polices me on this as the suspense always kills me)
  • Brown your protein before adding to the cooker if you can -- it adds a nice depth of flavor and keeps the meat from turning to mush. This includes bacon. No one wants soggy bacon. 
  • If you're in a rush and need to use frozen meat, you need to use a high heat setting to avoid bacteria growth as the meat thaws - low and slow is great, but not for this. Keep it to 4 hours.
  • If you use frozen veggies, thaw them first and drain to reduce an over abundance of liquid.
  • I rarely use beyond the 8 hour setting, and if you're using 10 hours, it should be for a large roast or for pulled pork since any veggies or fruits will basically disintegrate into mush.
  • Cook and add rice or pasta after your cooker is done -- if you put it in while cooking it will turn to mush, even at the 30 minute mark as some suggest.
Today's Slow Cooker Sunday recipe welcomes football season and the return to school with a smoky, spicy chili that's relatively healthy to boot.

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Peppers

"Mmmm. That's chili you can dance to." -- Chris
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Chili powder
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 pkg ground chicken breast
  • 1 pkg spicy chicken sausage, chopped
  • 1 bag frozen red, green and yellow bell peppers (thawed and drained)
  • 1/2 jar chopped roasted red pepper strips
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 jar salsa
  • Chili sauce
  • Optional: Drizzle of Hot Honey
To Do:
  • In a large skillet, brown the onion and garlic and seasonings over medium-high heat until soft and fragrant.
  • Add in the chicken breast and sausage and cook until browned.
  • Lower the heat and add the peppers. Stir until any excess liquid has reduced.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add the cubed sweet potatoes to the slow cooker crock and then stir in the salsa and chili sauce -- and the drizzle of honey if using.
  • Pour in the chicken/pepper mixture and add a bit more of the spices and stir to combine.
  • Set to 6 hour setting, top with lid and go enjoy the beautiful afternoon.
  • When done, let cool a bit then season to taste and serve with tortilla chips, or over rice or quinoa, along with sliced avocado and lime wedges and top with shredded smoked cheddar, fresh cilantro, a dollop of Greek yogurt or guacamole, salsa -- or however you like your chili!
  • Use leftovers in burritos, top with a runny egg for breakfast, make taco salad, or add a jar of queso and make a dip...yum!
A few other slow cooker favorites:

Happy Sunday!