Preparation time: 30min
Cooking time: 8hrs
Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
1 large eggplant, diced
5 tablespoons mild chili powder
1/4 cup dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups water
3 cubes beef bouillon
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke slightly. Pour in the olive oil, and tip the pan to coat. Add beef cubes; cook and stir to brown on all sides. When the meat is pretty much browned, season with chili powder, oregano, paprika and pepper. Stir the beef to coat with all of the spices, and continue browning until spices become fragrant. Scrape all of the beef out of the pan, and into a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker.
Pour the water into the skillet, and watch out! It will sizzle. Stir in the beef bouillon, and scrape all of the bits of beef and spice off of the bottom of the pan. When the bouillon is dissolved, and the bottom of the pan is clear, pour the liquid into the slow cooker. Mix the eggplant and tomato paste into the chili. Adjust the amount of liquid in the slow cooker if necessary by adding water until it is within 1/2 inch of the top.
Cover, and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours, or on High for 3 to 4 hours. Low heat is preferred if you have the time. Twenty minutes before serving, sift in the flour, and stir in along with the salt. Allow to cook until thickened. Serve with your favorite chili toppings.