Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bacon, Beef and Beet Chili

Bacon, Beef and Beet Chili

A hearty chili of beef, beets, and tomatoes--flavored with bacon.

Chili is good for hockey season. When I have an afternoon available I'll make a pot of chili on a back burner while processing vegetables or making another dinner. The chili goes into the fridge for later in the week, then on the appointed day hangs out in the crock pot on Warm.  All day.  I just need someone {my sled hockey player} to grate the cheese and set out the fixings, and it's time to eat.

See the bowl in these photos? I got it at Hot Soups for a Cool Cause, a fundraiser for the Dayton International Peace Museum. My folks and I attend the twice-yearly events since their visits happened to coincide. With my donation I not only got an assortment of delicious soups and excellent conversation--I got to keep the bowl! I was amazed to learn that the potter lives a few blocks away--small world. I did not have this chili at the fundraiser (though I had a tasty borscht last month at the Cool Soups for a Hot Cause event). Instead, I pulled it out of my ear--doing a bit of a riff on my Acorn Squash, Beet and Sweet Potato Chili.

Our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmers are great at growing beets.  The family is just not that into beets, despite 8 years of exposure to this delicious vegetable. No matter. If we get beets in the farm share, we get beets in our bellies. We eat what is in the fridge. Or else!
This time, bacon was my vehicle to facilitate the beets' acceptance. A little bacon goes a long way, flavor-wise, so I am glad to incorporate some into this chili. I'm gratified that the kids like chili--it's easy to cook, reheats well, and can assimilate a bunch of vegetables.

I've updated my Visual Recipe Index--for more recipes featuring beets, check out my Beet Recipes Collection!

Bacon, Beef and Beet Chili

3 strips bacon
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup sliced leeks (or substitute onions)
1 quart crushed tomatoes (undrained)
1 cup roasted beets, chopped (about an hour wrapped in foil at 400 degrees Fahrenheit should do)
1 cup roasted bell peppers, chopped (I roasted mine for about 15-20 minutes, turning once, at 400)
1 cup beef broth (here's how I make mine)
3 cloves roasted garlic (here's how I put up my garlic crop)
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon Arizona Dreaming, or plain chili powder if you've got it
1 teaspoon salt (I use kosher)
½ teaspoon pepper

In a pretty purple pot (at least 5 quarts, to give everything room to move) over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp.  Crumble bacon and set aside. Save most of the bacon fat in a separate container for future deliciousness, and sauté ground beef and leeks in remaining bacon grease (I left about 1 teaspoon). When meat is no longer pink and leeks are softened, add vegetables and stir to combine.  Pour in beef broth and add seasonings.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.  If your family kids are finicky about chunks, stick an immersion blender in the pot to smooth it out a bit. Sprinkle reserved crumbled bacon over top. Taste and adjust seasonings--do you need more salt or pepper?
Serve with your favorite chili toppings-we like cheese, sour cream, and chips.

This post is shared with What's Cookin' Wednesday, Fresh Foods Wednesday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop


  1. My husband loves both beef stew and beets, but I've never thought to put them together. What a nifty idea!

    1. Lydia,
      You are lucky to have a husband who loves beets! I'm just darn glad to have a husband who is tolerant ;)

  2. I'd be your official cheese grater. :)

    Love the bowls and the pretty purple pot. I scored a couple of pots from a friend because I loved the colors and vintagey vibe. They're on loan, although I'm making the most of them this soup season.

    1. Meghan,
      Friends who loan you pots are the kind of friends we all need.