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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bacon and Beer Chili

The thing I love about chili is that there are so many ways to make it. My chili recipe is ever changing, depending on my mood and what's in my pantry. (last time I used ground buffalo, black beans, and a crazy mix of spices.) This one is a bacon and beer chili. It is nice and thick, and has a rich robust flavor. I like to top it with a gigantic mountain of sharp cheddar cheese (because, really isn't that what everybody wants?) but I think it would be delicious with some crispy bacon and chopped jalapenos on top. I hope you like this chili recipe.

First, start off with the bacon. Chop it up, then fry it in a big soup pot. Get it nice and crispy so it will hold up in the chili. 

Then, dice your veggies. I take the seeds and membranes out of the jalapeno, but if you like things extra spicy, leave them in. 

Take the bacon out of the soup pot, then cook the diced veggies in the bacon fat for about 5 minutes until they are translucent. Add some salt & black pepper to taste. 

Take them out of the pot. 

Brown the ground beef, (salt and pepper to taste again) and drain the grease. A tip I learned is to line a bowl with aluminum foil, then drain your grease into there.

 When it hardens, chuck it into the garbage. Your plumber will thank you. 

Add the vegetables back in. You will see in the photo that I added the bacon back in here. I was supposed to wait until after everything was done simmering, but I got so excited because BACON. Don't be like me. Wait until later. Your bacon will thank you. 

Then add in the beans (drain and rise them first), tomato sauce, tomatoes and green chiles. Add your spices. I love cumin, and the chipotle chili powder really adds a nice smokey flavor without being too overpowering. I go kind of crazy with the tabasco sauce, because I like things spicy, but if you don't, a few teeny shakes will be just fine.

 Add a big splash of beer (depending on how strong of a beer taste you like) and the 1/2 cup of water. Mix it all up, then cover and simmer for an hour. 

When it's finished simmering, add in your bacon, then taste and adjust your seasoning. 

Mix 1/2 cup of beer or water (depending, again, on how much beer flavor you like. I did half beer and half water) with your masa flour to make a paste. Add it to your chili. This is my favorite way to thicken chili, it adds such a nice flavor. If you don't have masa, it's typically found in the mexican foods section of your grocery store. It's totally worth it to buy a small bag, even if you just use it to thicken chili (but you can also use it to make tortillas or tamales if you've got mad skills.) 

Bring the chili to a boil, then serve with your chosen garnishes.

I hope you enjoy this chili. I sure did. The leftovers in my fridge are just begging to be eaten! 



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