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Awesome Beer + Bacon Chili Recipe

My favorite thing about the beginning of fall is it’s the start of Eating Season. When the Halloween candy comes out and everyone prays for the first rainy day where a sweater can be worn without risk of heat stroke. And above all, it’s the beginning of soup season. Now the mother of all soups in my opinion, is chili. I suppose it’s more of a chowder, but whatevs. It’s delicious.

Now yes, there are all kinds of chili recipes, but let me tell you why you should totally make this one. It has bacon. And beer. And pretty much whatever kind of meat you have on hand. And the tomatoes are roasted before you put them in and it makes the texture and flavor so much better. Just trust me. You’ll love it.

A few things to make sure your chili is freaking awesome:

FIRST Campari tomatoes aren’t really typical for a chili recipe, but they took this to the next level for me. Especially after roasting them. Just quarter them, put them on a baking pan in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at 425 for 30-40 minutes or just until they start to brown a bit on top. The caramelization is the key to making the tomatoes taste extra delicious. Seriously just do it.

SECOND The meat you use in this is entirely up to you. If you want finely cut steak, ground beef, pork, venison, bison, or any combination of the aforementioned, just make sure you have two pounds. I tend to mix together a couple different meats for the complexity of flavor and texture.

THIRD there are a handful of ways to thicken a chili. One is to let it cook forever, but if you don’t have that kind of time, you can use a roux, whole tortillas, or my favorite, a couple of handfuls of crushed tortilla chips. Since we’re already adding plenty of corn, this will just add to the flavor and it’s easier than the flour and water mix.

Okay that’s enough of an intro. Let’s get to the dang recipe!

Makes: A GIANT pot of chili.
Time, 2-ish hours

INGREDIENTS:
8 oz center cut bacon
1 white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb ground meat (beef, venison, bison, pork, etc)
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained & diced
1 bottle brown ale
1 carton beef stock
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can white beans
12 oz frozen corn
2 TBSP dried Mexican oregano
1 TBSP cumin
1 TBSP smoked paprika
1 TBSP stone ground mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
2 handfuls tortilla chips

4 lb champart tomatoes, quartered
3 TBSP olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Preparation:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Place quartered tomatoes on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until tomatoes are slightly browned on top.

While the tomatoes are roasting, Heat a large stock pot over medium-low heat. Slice the bacon into 1-inch pieces and add to the stock pot. Stir occasionally until bacon is crispy and fat has been rendered. Add diced onion and cook until translucent.

Add the crumbled ground meat, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, cover, and allow to brown completely, stirring occasionally. Once meat has fully browned, add the garlic, spices, ale, beans, roasted red peppers, corn, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and roasted tomatoes. be sure to include all of the juice from the tomatoes as well. Add the stock, stir, and cover with lid. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a slight boil. Stir, and reduce too low. Simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally, checking liquid level.

If liquid is still thin, add the crumbled tortilla chips, stir, and simmer for another 15 minutes or until the chips have dissolved and thickened the chili.

Serve with cornbread or biscuits. Add cheese, spring onions, and sour cream.

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