Spicy Bacon-y Game Day Chili

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With the super cold days starting in Boston, and football (and hockey) in full force – it is only appropriate to share my absolute favorite chili recipe. There’s nothing better than using (approx.) 1,000 corn chips to scoop up all of the deliciousness while snuggling on the couch watching the game. With just the right toppings (because who eats chili for the chili?), this is the perfect one-bowl-meal.

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The smoky background that the bacon lends this chili is unmatched, so I tend to use more than the recipe calls for. I also use a mix of beef and turkey (instead of pork and beef) to keep it a little leaner, so you could use whatever ground meat you have or like. I’ve also adapted this in other ways (no meat or no beans) and haven’t had a bad version yet! The recipe below is my all-time-favorite way to have this chili. Get out your warmest throws, put on your fuzzy socks and dig in!

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Adapted from Food Network

Prep: 20 minutes, Cook: 2 hours, Total: 2 hours 20 minutes

Makes: 10-12 hearty bowls

  • 10 slices thick-cut bacon, diced (about half will be used for toppings, so use 6 slices if you don’t want to go that route, weirdo)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb ground turkey (I go for thigh meat)
  • 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 cup beer (I used Lagunitas IPA since that’s what I was drinking)
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 24 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 24 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1/4 cup Franks Red Hot
  • Toppings!!: ALL the corn chips, lime, sour cream or greek yogurt, shredded cheese, scallions, and the reserved bacon

In large heavy-bottomed pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until lightly crisp, stirring occasionally. Once the bacon is browned, remove about 1/2 to use for toppings and set aside. Add the garlic, onions, bell peppers, chili powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, powder, oregano, and paprika and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cook until the vegetables are tender and seasonings are aromatic. Add the turkey and break it up with a wooden spoon. Once turkey is broken up and beginning to brown, add the beef. Break up with wooden spoon and brown, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beer and beans. Toss together, then add the crushed and diced tomatoes, and the Franks.

Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 2 hours. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if necessary. Grab a bowl, a couple ladles, and lots of toppings – and enjoy!

Note – this makes a TON of chili, and is very easy to scale up or down. It also freezes wonderfully. I simply wait for the leftovers to cool and put them in a large freezer bag. Leftovers will keep for a few months.


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