Chili Con Carne

Total Time:
2 hr 20 min
20 min
2 hr

6 to 8 servings

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 12 -ounce bottle amber beer
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 28 -ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth, plus more if needed
  • 2 15 -ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, sliced scallions and/or sour cream, for topping (optional)

Cook the bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and let cool, then crumble and set aside. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the saucepan (reserve the drippings). Increase the heat to medium high, add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon; wipe out the pan.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon drippings in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon salt and cook 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is brick red, about 6 minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick). Add the beer and simmer until almost completely reduced, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the beef and any juices from the plate; add the cocoa powder, tomatoes, beef broth and beans and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens slightly, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Stir the hot sauce into the chili and season with salt. Add some beef broth if the chili is too thick. Ladle into bowls and top with the crumbled bacon, cheese, scallions and/or sour cream.

Photograph by Con Poulos

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4.4 48
This is a good recipe for chili. To all those who complained about it being too bland why didn't you add more chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce? If a dish is too bland it's because you haven't seasoned it right. Seasoning is a matter of taste not exact measurements. As for the bacon, I don't use it. I prefer my chili to be lower in fat content. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have made this dish several times. I love this recipe and it's now my go to for chili. Everyone I have made this for raved about it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
How in the world this gets 4 stars is beyond me. Not impressive at all item not reviewed by moderator and published
Followed the recipe except for the bacon and cocoa and it was delicious . Next time will follow exactly. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe was delicious... full of lovely flavors and textures. I will make it repeatedly. I prepared it exactly to the written recipe, as I do every single recipe I try for the first time. Note: People who are posting reviews on this recipe, but DID NOT actually make THIS recipe (read: "changed, added this that or something else... "), cannot have an opinion on this actual recipe. So, the posts are unfair. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe was great! Changes made: I did not use bacon, and subbed olive oil for the bacon drippings; used a red pepper rather than green; used already crushed fire-roasted tomatoes; subbed kidney and pinto beans for black beans; added instant espresso powder. Those changes were just made based on what I had on hand. I also didn't add hot sauce so that non-spicy lovers could also enjoy the dish. Next time I plan on adding some adobo sauce and using bacon. This fed 8 adults with zero leftovers. It was very flavorful. I wonder if some reviewers who complained about lack of flavor didn't use fresh spices... item not reviewed by moderator and published
Excellent! I added 2 fresh roasted Pasilla peppers and 4 ground california red pepper pods. The cocoa was a nice subtle flavor infusion. item not reviewed by moderator and published
After reading the other reviews I realized we would need to adjust the spice, but I always am generous when spicing our food. We doubled the spices in this recipe. Added Coban ground chili pepper from Guatemala instead of the hot sauce and used Ghiradelli's hot chocolate powder because that's what I had on hand. The results (would have used less beef stock) were divine, rich hint of chocolate, hearty taste of amber beer, smokey finish from the bacon and Coban pepper. Definitely will make this again and share with friends! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I found this recipe too bland. I added about half a cup of red wine vinegar, 4 more tbsps of Cumin, another 3 tbsp of chili powder, 2 tbsps black pepper and 2 tbsps of salt. I don't recommend this recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The chili was great! The recipe helped me win a Chili contest! Again, It was amazing! I did change it slightly, by adding pork sausage with Italian seasoning, kidney and black beans and dry red pepper for extra extra zing. I will definitely save and reuse the recipe again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am really surprised you thought that. This is my go-to and everyone who ever tries it loves it. Make sure when using dried spices that they are not too old. That can make a huge difference in any dish. Also, this chili like most need the full cooking time for the flavor to develop. I do agree that some additional salt needs added to taste when served for some pallets. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I agree it's a great chili - and miles from 'bland'. I've made it for family and for dinner parties and it's always a hit. I use kidney beans, a darker beer and if on hand, some cilantro to serve. Don't mean to sound rude, but 2 TBSP of S & P? A 1/2 cup of vinegar and a further 1/4 cup of each spice just to bring it up to speed? Eek. Would you like some food to go with your seasonings? :) item not reviewed by moderator and published

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