Cooking Main Dishes Cooking Main Dishes

Beef Chili with Bacon, Black Beans & Corn

I originally posted this on in April of last year. The circumstances under which I cooked the chili was a little different though, as we’d had a huge storm that knocked out power for 5 days so I cooked it outside over a fire. I decided I would re-post it cooking it in the more traditional, stove-top way.

Beef Chili with Bacon; Black Beans & Corn

Original recipe published in Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, March 1, 2003. Revised by Crafty Farm Girl, 2010 and 2011

Makes about 3 quarts, serving 8 to 10

Adding the spices to the pan with the aromatics boosts their potency. For this chili recipe, add the beans with the tomatoes so they cook enough to absorb flavor but not so much that they fall apart. Cooking the chili with the lid on for half of the cooking time resulted in the best consistency.

Good choices for condiments include diced fresh tomatoes, diced avocado, sliced scallions, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro leaves, sour cream, and shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese. If you are a fan of spicy food, you can use a little more of the red pepper flakes or cayenne — or both. The flavor of the chili improves with age; if possible, make it a day or up to five days in advance and reheat before serving. Leftovers can be frozen for up to a month. This is one of the only chili’s that I make that I use no toppings whatsoever on; no cheese, no onion, nothing — it’s great just the way it is.


  • 10-12 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6-8 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 2 cans (16 oz. each) black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 can (28-ounce) tomato puree
  • Table salt to taste
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • Beef broth (for thinning if needed)


    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.

    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.

    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, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.

    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. Remove cover and continue to simmer 1/2 an hour, then add the bag of frozen corm and cook 1/2 hour longer, stirring occasionally (if chili begins to stick to bottom of pot, stir in 1/2 cup or more of beef stock or water and continue to simmer), until beef is tender and chili is dark, rich, and slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning with additional salt. Note: If you can’t get your stove-top heat to a really-low-barely-simmering state, then you can put the entire oven-proof pot into the oven for the same amount of time at 325 degrees F.

    Serve with condiments if desired. 

    Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Speak Your Mind


Cooking Main Dishes