People are always asking for my chili recipes, and my anwer is -- I don't have one. I've always cooked it by looks and taste, and never really kept track. I knew when it was right.
I'd been making chili for years in a dutch oven on the stove -- I still make it the old way sometimes, but I love my crockpot for this recipe. I tried the recipe in the cookbook that came with my original crockpot years ago and was horribly disappointed. I then tried adapting my dutch-oven recipe to the crockpot, but that missed the mark too. One day I was looking to make black beans for black beans and rice and decided to do the whole thing in the crockpot. They came out perfectly (and have done so every time since). At that point I had a mild epiphany. The black beans create a wonderfully thick sauce on their own.
Long story short, I've never looked back. This recipe also does very nicely as a vegetarian dish if you remove the ground beef and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth).