When I first started following a paleo-ish diet many years ago, giving up beans was the easiest part- I never really liked them. (Conversely, this fact made being a vegetarian quite tricky) Making chili without beans was a revelation; suddenly I loved chili a whole lot more. But over the past couple of years, I’ve been eating and loving beans again. So this week, when the temps dropped and it felt like proper fall, I made beef & bacon chili with black beans. And beer.
beef and bacon chili with black beans and beer – smoky, spicy, simple to make
If you see words above – like black beans and beer – that are foods you don’t eat, don’t fret! The beans are optional, and the beer can easily be swapped with another liquid. I was craving a traditional chili for the first time in a long time, so added black beans and beer, but there is plenty of flavor without either of those ingredients.
As far as heat level goes, that of course is personal. You can absolutely make very flavorful chili without it being incredibly spicy. I tend to like a heat level that is spicy but not so spicy that it cancels out the rest of the flavors. With chili, I want it to be a tiny bit too hot, just enough so that adding creamy cooling toppings like cheese, avocado, and sour cream take the heat back down to the perfect level.
Since this chili is made with ground beef, it doesn’t require a long cooking time. However- it’s worth giving it at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
Let’s talk toppings: Again, this is personal so top your beef and bacon chili with whatever your favorites are. I love cheese, sour cream, and green onions (red onions are pictured but I prefer green). If I’m not serving it with my jalapeño cheddar biscuits, I’ll throw some corn chips on there too.
If you have Paleo Soups & Stews, definitely make up a batch of Cheddar-Jalapeño biscuits to go with this, you won’t regret it! You won’t regret buying the book if you don’t yet have it, either. 😉Print
- 6 strips thick sliced bacon, cut into lardons (sliced cross-wise for 1-inch by 1/8-inch slices)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- sea salt (1 teaspoon plus a big pinch)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1 6-oz can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle¹
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne¹
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 12-ounce can beer (gluten-free or regular) or 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 2 roasted red peppers, diced
- 1 chipotle in adobo, minced, optional¹
- 2 14-oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 14-oz can black beans (or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans if you used dry beans)
- corn chips
- grated cheese
- sour cream
- diced green or red onions
- In a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until just crispy, about 5-6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard (or save for another use) all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat – enough to coat the pan.
- Add the onions and a big pinch of salt and cook until softened and browned, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until golden and fragrant, 30 seconds or so.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the beef, breaking it up with a spatula white it cooks until most of the pink is gone.
- Turn the heat back down to medium and mix the coconut sugar, tomato paste, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, ground chipotle, cayenne if using, and cinnamon. Being careful to not let the spices or tomato paste burn, cook while stirring constantly for about a minute. This cooks out some of the bitterness in the spices and intensifies the flavor of the tomato paste.
- Add the roasted peppers, beer, and diced tomatoes, along with 1 teaspoon of salt, the cooked bacon, and the beans. Bring to a boil and then cover and turn the heat to low. Cook the chili at a low simmer for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. If cooking on a very low heat, you can let it cook for quite a while longer if you’d like.
- Serve with desired toppings.
¹ How spicy the chili should be is a very personal thing. I like it to be spicy enough where I want to have to add sour cream to cool it down. The ingredients with the ¹ in the quantities listed will yield a chili as spicy as I like it, but start on the low end and adjust to taste for your preferences!
Keywords: chili, beef and bacon chili
beef and bacon chili black bean chili chili with beer chili with bacon
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