Beef Chili with Bacon and Black Beans

*Originally posted January 17, 2013

I never liked beef chili until I started running and I suddenly wanted red meat all the time. So, I’ve never really strived to find the perfect recipe for it.  Now, since I am training for the marathon, I wanted a chili that packed a lot of protein and flavor.  I can’t believe I’ve never tried chili with bacon in it. This might be a keeper for the annual bacon and bourbon party.

I found this recipe online, but it is originally a Cook’s Illustrated recipe from 2003. This serves 10, but I scaled down the amount of tomatoes and the amount of hamburger to half.    I served it with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free corn bread, which I highly recommend.

8 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 strips)
2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 lbs 85% lean ground beef
2 (16 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
table salt, to taste
2 limes, cut into wedges


1 Fry bacon in large heavy-bottomed nonreactive Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned, about 8 minutes.
2 Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat, leaving bacon in pot.
3 Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
4 Increase heat to medium-high and add half the beef; cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
5 Add remaining beef and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
6 Add beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
7 Remove cover and continue to simmer 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally (if chili begins to stick to bottom of pot, stir in 1/2 cup water and continue to simmer), until beef is tender and chili is dark, rich, and slightly thickened.
8 Adjust seasoning with additional salt.
9 Serve with lime wedges and condiments if desired.

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