Slow Cooker Everyday Challenge day 6: Crock-pot Elk Chili

If you’re scrutinizing this slow-cooking challenge I’ve set myself (which is unlikely, I know, since who really would be), you’ll notice this post is out of order, and might conclude that I missed a day. If so, I must protest, that isn’t true! If there’s anything I’ve plowed through with fidelity this week, which has been rough and snot-faced and wearying, it’s this slow cooker plan. Only the fifth dish (and really a side dish at that) was a mis-trial. That is, the crock-pot did its job, but I can’t honestly report it was 100% successful, and owe it the chance to work its magic with a stronger recipe before posting. I’ll explain later–with any luck, tomorrow.

So day 6 officially, but post number 5, we had a hearty, veggie-laden elk chili. It was a perfect day for it. We went to bed with verified reassurance that the next day was a snow day (school canceled, Dave working from home), and woke up to about a foot of wet, heavy snow, and flakes still falling. Fat rows of mourning doves sat congenially along the fence in the blanketed backyard. For some reason, they love to come out in the snow, nestled together with peaceful, droopy looking eyes surveying the wide world.

Having been sick all week, it was such a bonus to be able to throw everything into the crock-pot in the morning, and have that be dinner more or less done. All I needed to do was brown the meat and chop some vegetables. Plus, I got the luxury of taking an afternoon nap,  waking from it to the warm aroma of delicious chili spices. I had pre-cooked kidney and black beans earlier in the week, but you could use dried and adjust the liquid, or go with canned, of course. Since a lot of different sources emphasized that slow cookers do best with tougher cuts of meat, I hoped the elk would be great cooked this way, and wasn’t even close to being disappointed. We started including elk meat in our diet a year or two ago, and while I’ve liked it well enough, I can’t say I’ve been a huge fan. Slow-cooked in this chili, however, it was awesome. Hands down the best elk I’ve tasted…unless I count this incredible elk sausage I once ate that was cooked by this master chef out in the middle of Utah, but that was a very unique exception, and I’m wandering again. Point is, if you are interested in elk meat, the slow-cooker is the way to go. : )

Crock-pot Elk Chili 

  • 1 pound ground elk
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 1 diced green bell pepper
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup water
  • Approx 15 ounces crushed tomates
  • 2 cups red kidney beans, cooked
  • 1 cup black beans, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons torn basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • dash sea salt
  1. In a skillet,  cook elk over medium heat until evenly brown.
  2. Place the elk in the slow cooker, and mix in all remaining ingredients. Cover and cook 8 hours on Low.

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