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Crock-Pot Crazy Pineapple Chili
- 20 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage (bulk, or links with casings removed)
- 1 medium onion, chopped to equal about 2 cups
- 1 20-ounce can pineapple tidbits in juice (divided)
- 2 28-ounce cans seasoned diced tomatoes (such as Dei Fratelli)
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- shredded reduced-fat cheese, reduced-fat sour cream and hot sauce (such as Tapatío) for serving, if desired
- In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook sausage and onions, stirring to crumble sausage. Once sausage is cooked through, drain off any fat and transfer the sausage and onions to your slow cooker.
- Drain the pineapple, reserving both the juice and the fruit separately. Add the juice to the slow cooker. Cover and store the fruit in the refrigerator (it will be added toward the end of cooking).
- Add tomatoes, black beans, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and garlic to the slow cooker.
- Stir everything to combine.
- Cook on low (6-8 hours), adding reserved pineapple during last hour or two of cooking, or on high (4-5 hours), adding pineapple during last ½ hour - hour of cooking.
- Serve topped with cheese, sour cream and hot sauce, if desired.
Pineapple: The texture of the cooked pineapple is completely controlled by when you add it. We prefer to add it toward the end of cooking time so that it's still fairly firm. If you prefer it to be more melded into the chili or you simply won't be able to add it toward the end of cooking, then you can toss it in at the beginning – it will be cooked down and much less pronounced in texture, but still very good.
Beans or no beans: If you don't want beans in your chili, you may certainly leave them out, and can also increase the amount of meat. We love the texture and the health benefits of the beans, but feel free to try it different ways!
Spice: This recipe is intentionally fairly mild and kid-friendly. If you'd like more spice, you can increase the chili powder and/or sub in spicy Italian turkey sausage. Perhaps the best way to make it versatile for different palates, though, is simply to pass hot sauce at the table so everyone can season to taste.
Make-ahead: You can prepare the meat and onions the evening before, and then refrigerate until you assemble your ingredients in the slow cooker. You can also make the chili entirely in advance and freeze it in large batches.