Spicy Beef Chili

Spicy Beef Chili

Ingredients

5 thick slices applewood smoked bacon, chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
2 to 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced*
2 to 3 serrano peppers, seeded and finely diced*
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon New Mexican chile powder
1 tablespoon Ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans
4 cups water or stock, or as needed for desired consistency

(*for goodness sake, please wear gloves! I never seem to learn my lesson…)

Method

Place bacon in a large soup pot. Cook over medium heat until evenly brown and crispy. Remove bacon to paper towels and drain off excess fat from the pot, leaving just enough to coat the bottom.

Add beef to the pot over medium high heat and saute until browned and cooked through, breaking it into chunks with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Drain off all but a small layer of fat and set meat aside.

Stir in the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers, garlic, cumin, New Mexican chile powder, Ancho chile powder and Mexican oregano. Saute for about 6 or 7 minutes or until vegetables are moderately soft, then add drained beef, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and 3 cups water or stock.

Bring to boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans, bacon and 1 cup water or stock, stir, and continue simmering for another 30 minutes.

Serve with cornbread, corn chips, sour cream, cheese, scallions, etc.

NOTES

This was my attempt at a simple, weeknight chili and it was a total success. It was smoky, warming without being killer spicy, and held a perfect balance of beans and beef and peppers. We loved it.

I only wish I had remembered to slice up scallions to garnish; I will definitely do that for our lunch portions.

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