Many around the country have been celebrating National Chili Day throughout the month of February. With many crediting the actual day to today, others mark this coming Thursday as the day to enjoy the hearty dish. Portland, Maine even hosted a Chili and Chowder Challenge event earlier this month. Whichever day you choose, this recipe for a Beef Chili with Bacon and Black Beans is sure to please.
8 ounce bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 strips)
2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 (28) ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
table salt, to taste
2 limes, cut into wedges
1. Fry bacon in large heavy-bottomed nonreactive Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned; about 8 minutes. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat, leaving bacon in pot.
2. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown; about 10 minutes.
3. Increase heat to medium-high and add half the beef; cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown; about 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink; about 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 1 hour.
5. Remove cover and continue to simmer 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally (if chili begins to stick to bottom of pot, stir in 1/2 cup water and continue to simmer), until beef is tender and chili is dark, rich, and slightly thickened.
6. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and garnish with the lime wedges. Add diced avocado, chopped cilantro leaf, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese if desired. Makes approximately ten servings.