Sweet Potato Bacon Chili

This is delicious.  Really.  It’s one of those recipes I want to tell people to people they have to make, and in large quantities.  Any recipe that starts off by cooking onions and garlic in bacon grease has to be good but maybe that’s just my opinion.  I was thinking how every time I make chili it’s different – there are so many options, I always want to try something new.  My last one used lamb stew meat that was really tender and delicious.  The one prior was with ground bison.  In today’s recipe I used grass-fed ground beef from Fallon Hills Ranch in Tomales, CA – that’s about an hour and a half north of San Francisco.  Thumbs up for local!  Last month I was lucky enough to go in on a cow share where 9 of us split a whole cow from Fallon Hills Ranch and I’ve been looking forward to using some of that nutritious and tasty grass-fed meat.

The combination of chili powder, chipotle powder and unsweetened cocoa produces a spicy, smoky, rich chili while the sweet potato lends balance and a little texture.  To be honest, the addition of the canned pumpkin wasn’t planned:  I tasted the chili after it had been simmering for an hour and wow, it was spicy (even for this girl who likes her food with a kick.)  I tossed around ideas on how to tone it down and settled on the addition of the pumpkin. I was pleasantly surprised at how perfectly it rounded out the flavor and also gave the chili a wonderful creaminess.  The sweet potato and the pumpkin add additional nutrients while also stretching the yield, making this a more economical family meal.  Double this recipe so you can enjoy it for several meals or freeze the extra for another time – you’ll be glad you did.

Sweet Potato Bacon Chili
Serves 8
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  1. 5 slices bacon, diced
  2. 2 medium onions, chopped
  3. 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  4. 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
  5. 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  6. 1 1/2 Tbsp chipotle powder
  7. 1 1/2 Tbsp cumin, ground
  8. 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  9. 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
  10. 1 tsp salt
  11. 1 very large or 2 medium sweet potatos, peeled and diced
  12. 2 14.5 oz cans organic diced tomatoes
  13. 3 cups water
  14. 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  15. ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  1. fresh chopped cilantro, diced avocado, diced radishes and grated raw cheddar cheese (if you can tolerate dairy)
  1. Mix the spices (chili powder through salt) in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until the bacon is just crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and reserve for later (do your best not to snack on it while you make the chili.)
  3. Add the onions to the bacon grease and cook until they are slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the beef and the spices and cook until the beef is no longer pink (about 5 minutes.)
  4. Turn the heat up to high and add the diced tomatoes, water and tomato paste. Stir to incorporate. Then add the sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce the heat so the chili is at a very low simmer. Cover the pot loosely with the lid leaving just a small crack of the pot uncovered.
  5. Simmer the chili like this for 1 hour. Uncover it, stir in the pumpkin and simmer for an additional hour uncovered.
  6. Stir in the reserved bacon right before you are ready to serve. Garnish individual bowls of the chili with cilantro, avocado, radishes and cheese.
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  1. Outstanding! My whole family loved it!

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