Bacon and Stout Beef Chili

Bacon Stout Chili

Although the cool, crisp days of fall have yet to arrive in New York (summer just won’t let go!) I was in the mood for a hearty, warm bowl of chili. Instead of a typical chili made with ground meat I decided to try out a cut up chuck roast instead. I was pleasantly surprised at just how tender and delicious this very tough piece of meat turned out. The key is to cook it low and slow, don’t try to rush this dish or you will be left with very chewy, tough, inedible meat. I promise, your patience will be rewarded.

The recipe is from the October 2017 issue of Food Network Magazine . (page 73) The original recipe is for Beef and Bean Chili but they offered a variation that included stout and bacon. Let’s face it, everything is better with bacon so I couldn’t pass that recipe up! I used Guinness Drought Stout but feel free to use your favorite brand stout for this chili.

This chili goes great with sturdy corn tortilla chips, cornbread, or even a nice slab of hot, buttered beer bread. Top with cheese, sour cream, bacon, scallions, or anything else that you like. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs chuck roast, cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 3 tbs chili powder, plus more to taste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups beef stock (I like Kitchen Basics brand)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans small red beans
  • 1 (12 oz) bottle stout beer

Instructions

Cook the bacon in a large pot until slightly crisp. Remove and set aside for topping.

Over medium-high heat, add the beef to the bacon fat and cook until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Do not overcrowd the pan, work in batches. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the vegetable oil to the pot. Add the onion and cook until softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally as it cooks. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes.

Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and tomato paste. While stirring, cook until deep red, about 2 minutes.

Add the beef and all of its juices back into the pot along with the beef stock, tomatoes, and stout beer. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat until the chili is simmering. Cook until the meat is fork tender, about 1.5 hours. Occasionally stir and scrape the bottom of the pot as it cooks.

Add the beans with some of their liquid and continue to simmer until the chili thickens, about 25-30 minutes. Season with additional salt, pepper, and chili as needed. Serve hot topped with grated cheddar cheese and the crisped bacon pieces from earlier.

**Tip** – If the chili isn’t thickening up enough, bring the chili to a boil and then add some masa flour to the pot or a mixture of water and all-purpose flour. Allow the chili to simmer until it thickens up. If the chili is too thick, add a little more stock as needed to thin it out.

 

Cincinnati Chili – “Four Way”

cincinnatichili

I was always intrigued by Cincinnati Chili, I kind of loved the way the chili was served over a plate of steaming hot spaghetti instead of with just chips or cornbread, so a while back I finally decided to give it a try. I’m not 100% sure where I initially came across this particular recipe however, I did find that *most* of the recipes online were almost all exact. In my research I had been seeing a lot of references to “Skyline Chili” and came to learn that Skyline is actually a chain of chili restaurants across the Cincinnati area that are famous for their chili. Basically, most of the Cincinnati Chili recipes you’ll find online are a hacked version of the famous Skyline one.

This chili was excellent, the meat was very tender and flavorful and it was definitely a hearty dish. Interestingly, instead of just browning the meat and then adding in the spices this recipe call for simmering the meat for about a half hour so that it breaks apart into small pieces and softens. It sounds (and actually looks) pretty gross but trust me, don’t skip this step. Cooking the meat this way really makes a difference in the final product. Be aware that this is a chili that you will need to make ahead of time. Once cooked it’s refrigerated overnight so that the next day you can scrape away all of the excess fat which makes for a leaner, less greasy tasting chili.

Cincinnati Chili has a very interesting flavor profile, especially if you’re use to traditional southwest chili recipes which tend to be hot and spicy. While this chili has some heat, there is also a sweetness and warm spice flavor which comes from the chocolate, cloves, and cinnamon. I recommend cutting back a little on the cinnamon and cloves, the first time I made it I followed the recipe “as is” however, I found that for me the cinnamon and clove flavor was a little too overpowering. The next time I used just an 1/8 tsp of cloves and a 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and I liked that ratio much better. The nice thing about any chili recipe is that you can play around with the spices and seasonings until you find a flavor and level of heat that pleases your palate.

When ordering chili in Cincinnati there is a very specific ordering code you must adhere to. For this recipe I served it “four way” which means chili over spaghetti topped with grated Cheddar cheese and diced onions. I also added a handful of crushed oyster crackers to each plate which is also common with this dish. I loved the way the crunchy raw onions, salty crackers, and sharp cheddar cheese all played together with the chili and spaghetti. It was a very flavorful and yummy dish. When making (or ordering) your Cincinnati Chili be sure to specify how you’d like it served.

The Cincinnati “Skyline” Chili Ordering Code

  • 1-way: just chili
  • 2-waychili served over spaghetti
  • 3-waychili over spaghetti with grated Cheddar cheese
  • 4-waychili over spaghetti with grated Cheddar cheese and diced onions
  • 5-waychili over spaghetti with grated Cheddar cheese, diced onions, and beans

Ingredients

  • 1 quart cold water
  • 2 lbs ground beef 
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes 
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Instructions

Add the beef and water to a 4-quart pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until the ground beef is in very small, tender pieces, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to break up the meat.

Add in all of the seasonings and spices. Simmer on low heat, uncovered, for 3 hours. Continue to add more water to the pot if the chili becomes too thick and to avoid the chili burning to the bottom of the pot.

Once the chili is done, refrigerate it overnight. Before serving the next day, scrape the layer of fat from the top and discard then warm the chili up over medium heat.