|Beef, Bacon and Bean Chili|
Chili is one of those dishes that works really well as a weeknight dinner (it's even better the next day) but is also an easy crowd pleaser. This recipe makes a large pot, so if you're not having company, it also freezes well. My chili recipe is on the sweeter/ spicier side, so adjust the spices accordingly.
8 oz package bacon, sliced (I prefer to use uncured or organic)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 green and 1 red bell pepper (optionally, also add a chopped chilli pepper)
3 large celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 lbs low fat ground beef or pork
2 cups crushed tomatoes (2-15 oz cans) (or use 1 can tomato and some added water)
2 cups chicken broth (or 2 cups water and 2 tbsp reduced chicken base, like "Better than Bouillon")
1 bay leaf (opt)
2 tsp hot paprika (I like Szeged)- optionally, use sweet Paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 large 55 oz can Original Bush's Baked Beans, plus syrup
1 can each of kidney and cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Optional- 1 tsp each of Sriracha and Chili Garlic Sauce
Tabasco also pairs nicely with this chili.
1 lb block of sharp cheddar, grated
Using a large pot, fry the bacon. Once it begins to brown, add the onion, peppers and celery. Turn the heat down a little, so that the bacon fat does not burn, and add a dash of olive oil. Fry until the onions become translucent.
Add the ground meat and crushed garlic, mixing to incorporate with the vegetables. Continue breaking up the pieces of meat as the mixture cooks. Add a dash more olive oil, if necessary.
Continue cooking on medium heat until the meat is just about browned. Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaf, sugar, spices and strained syrup (from the baked beans). Let simmer and bubble on low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened (30 to 60 minutes).
Turn off the stove and add the cannellini, kidney and baked beans. I stop cooking at this point because I don't want the beans to dissolve. You can make adjustments to the taste with spices, salt and pepper. I do recommend waiting until the end because the addition of the beans will change the flavour.
Serve with fresh grated sharp cheddar and/ or bread.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. I've just made this chili today for our Christmas Eve family get-together; trying to determine how best to transport it without spilling all over the car!