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Chipotle, Bacon & Black Bean Chili + Chili Bar Toppings

Author: Lauren Grant w/ Zestful Kitchen

With football season in full swing, that means tailgating season is too. We’re kicking off game day with a big pot o’ chili and a killer topping bar to match.

With everything from fresh tomatoes and corn to crispy bacon bits, shredded cheese, and chips, this chili bar is guaranteed to please everyone in the lot.

Lean ground beef and a hearty amount of black beans keep this chili on the healthier side, while bacon adds just the right dose of decadence to keep them coming back for more.

So grab a spoon, top your bowl, and get ready to cheer ‘em on!

Chipotle, Bacon & Black Bean Chili

Makes about 10 cups (serves 10–12)

Takes 2½ hours


8 slices bacon, chopped

1 cups diced onions

1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1½ cups)

1 green bell pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces

3 tablespoons minced chipotles in adobo sauce

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1½ teaspoons dried oregano

1 pound ground sirloin

2 cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes (14.5 ounces each)

1 can low-sodium beef broth (14.5 ounces)

2 cans low-sodium black beans (15 ounces each) rinsed and drained

1 cup water

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Salt and black pepper to taste


1. Cook bacon in a pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in pot.

2. Heat reserved drippings in pot over medium until shimmering. Add onions, bell peppers, chipotles, chili powder, tomato paste, garlic, coriander, cumin, and oregano, and cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high, add sirloin and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, 3–4 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove lid, stir in beans and water and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chili is rich, dark, and slightly thickened. Stir in lime juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe Notes: soup can be made up to 2 days ahead, just reheat in a pot on the stove over medium-low or in a slow-cooker on high.

Complete the chili bar with a variety of toppings

· Lime wedges

· Cilantro

· Sliced avocado

· Sour cream or Greek yogurt

· Corn chips such as tortilla chips or Fritos

· Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

· Roasted and salted pepitas

· Cooked bacon bits

· Corn kernels

· Slices chiles

· Diced fresh tomatoes

· Diced white onions or sliced scallions

· Shredded iceberg lettuce

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