"I make chilli often because I make cornbread often and I love a piece of cornbread with chilli poured on top. There’s a lot of bacon in this chilli, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The fat rendered from the bacon is used to sauté the onions and other veggies. It’s ridiculously rich and delicious. I sometimes make chilli with bison instead of beef; trying different meats that I see at the butcher’s is fun, just for the sake of trying something new."
MAKES ABOUT 2.8 LITRES; SERVES 8–10
Beef & Bacon Chilli
450g streaky bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced
900g beef mince
2 teaspoons smoked salt (or sea salt plus ½ teaspoon liquid smoke), plus more to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ red and ½ green pepper, cored, deseeded and diced
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
1 bunch of spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped (white and green parts)
3 garlic cloves, very finely
2–3 tablespoons chilli powder, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 dried bay leaves, crumbled
2 x 400g cans red kidney beans, drained
1 litre low-salt chicken stock or water, or as needed
Graded Cheddar or Gouda cheese for serving
1. Cook the bacon in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is cooked through.
2. Drain the bacon on kitchen paper.
3. Add the onion and mince to the pan. Season with 1 teaspoon of the smoked salt and the pepper and cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula, for about 10 minutes until the meat is cooked through.
4. Add the red and green peppers, season with the remaining 1 teaspoon smoked salt and sauté for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender, stirring often so that they don’t brown.
5. Add the tomatoes and spring onions and cook for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes break down.
6. Toss in the garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes until it is fragrant. Sprinkle the chilli powder, smoked paprika, cayenne and bay leaves into the pan.
7. Stir in the bourbon, beans and half of the passata and simmer for about 10 minutes.
8. Pour half of the chicken stock into the pan and bring it to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer the chilli for about 1 hour 30 minutes, adding the remaining passata and stock when more liquid is needed and stirring often.
9. Season with more smoked salt to taste. Chop the bacon and stir it into the chilli to rewarm it. Serve in bowls with the grated cheese sprinkled on top.
Recipe and images taken from
From My Life on a Plate by Kelis, published by Kyle Books, Photography by David Loftus.