What is better than a hearty bowl of spicy chili con carne that is chock-full of beef, beans, tomatoes, and spices? Well, in my not-so-humble opinion, a chili con carne that includes bacon. Bacon adds that hint of smoke that chili cooked over a campfire has, but without having to actually build a fire yourself. This is a beef-based chili that includes bacon two ways in its foundation. If you count the crispy garnish on top, you are up to three. Serve with Bacon and Bourbon Cornbread, if desired.
In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon lardons over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a medium bowl. Increase the heat to high and cook until the rendered fat begins to shimmer.
Add the ground bacon and beef to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring a few times, until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to the bowl with the bacon lardons. Remove all but
Return all of the meat to the pot, then add the beans, cumin, and oregano and bring back to a boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes.
Ladle the chili into bowls and top with a sprinkling of bacon bits, cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a few pickled jalapeños, if desired. The chili will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for 2 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
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