This is one of my classic go to recipes. I’ve brought this to many a get together and I’m asked for the recipe every time. I even won a chili cook off at work with this once! Winning was extra sweet, since I had just put in my two weeks notice, hehe.
What makes this recipe stand out is the smoky bacon and spicy/smoky chipotle peppers contrasted with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. If the sweet potatoes are too much of a hassle you could definitely omit or replace with corn. I have used the frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe’s in this recipe and it was great.
I’m using the term “chili” here a bit loosely as some people wouldn’t even consider this a chili. This recipe doesn’t even have chili powder! Some people say that if it has beans in it it’s disqualified as a chili, so they definitely would not approve of this as a chili recipe. The chipotle peppers are so flavorful and spicy that you really don’t need anything additional.
Given that the chipotles are SO spicy I strongly recommend blending the chipotles and adding the tomato sauce/chipotle mixture gradually to the chili. The first time I made this I just chopped the chipotles and it was too spicy for my sister and I – and we love spicy! Even with blending the chipotles I have made this recipe way too spicy before and had to dilute it with more beans and meat. If you make it a little too spicy you can also add a tablespoon or so of brown sugar to offset some of the spiciness.
It is chili season, so if you have a cook off coming up this is a great option – it’s a unique take on chili, and bacon makes people happy. 😜
- 1 package thick cut bacon
- 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
- 2 cans black beans - rinsed and drained
- 2 cans roasted tomatoes
- 1 can tomato sauce
- ½ small can chipotle chilis - about 4-5 plus adobo sauce
- 2 large sweet potatoes - diced
- 1 large onion - diced
- I red bell pepper - diced
- 1 Tbs cornstarch - optional
- 2 tsp chicken bouillon/salt
- Sour cream and green onions - for toppings
- Bake bacon according to package instructions - pro tip - keep an eye on the bacon and don’t burn ⅓ of it like I did!
- While bacon is baking dice onion, sweet potato, bell pepper
- Take out bacon and reserve fat
- Put about a tablespoon of bacon fat in pan and heat on med high heat.
- After pan is hot add onions and cook on med high heat for 5-10 min, stirring frequently
- While onions are cooking crumble the bacon
- Keep oven on and roast the diced sweet potatoes - I use a tablespoon or two of the bacon fat to coat the sweet potatoes - cook about 15 minutes and turn once in the middle of cooking time - until sweet potatoes are browned
- Move onions to the side of the pan and add the beef chopping it into crumbly size pieces
- While the beef is cooking blend the tomato sauce and chipotles - I used an immersion blender for this. Chipotles are VERY spicy, so I like to avoid any “chunks” of pepper
- Once the beef is browned add the black beans, tomatoes, and red bell pepper.
- Next add in the half chipotle/tomato sauce mixture. Since this is pretty spicy you’ll want to do this to taste, so continue adding the mixture until it’s to your liking. I have a decent heat tolerance and the whole mixture is too much heat for me (speaking from experience!)If it gets too hot you can add in a little sugar to balance it out.
- Add in the crumbled bacon. And 1-2 cups of water until you’re at your desired consistency.
- This last step is optional, but I like a thicker chili. I combine the chicken bouillion, cornstarch and a little warm water and add it to the chili.
- Top with sour cream and sliced green onions