“Stand a spoon in it” Chili

It’s full-on winter here in Calgary with recent blizzard warnings, unattractive but warm boots and getting stuck in front of your house in the snow. We have been trying to stay indoors and making all kinds of hearty food, like this chili, to keep us warm.

My favourite kind of chili is so thick you can stand a spoon up in it, so that is what we call it now. Like most chili, it has many ingredients, but usually foodstuffs you have on hand. This robust chili has three kinds of meat, including bacon and it also has beer in it. That’s right, beer and bacon, I told you it was robust!

There are chili purists who cringe if beans and ground meat are in chili but that is what we grew up on and almost everyone I know did too. It is comfort food at its best, especially when the snow is swirling outside. -Steph McVox

“Stand a spoon in it” Chili
Adapted from Pat Neely
(Makes lots!)

12 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1-2 cans beer and/or hard cider (whatever you don’t put in the chili , you can drink)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can romano beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 (24-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (24-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
Sour cream, for garnish
Shredded Cheddar, for garnish
Sliced scallions or chives, for garnish


In large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until lightly crisp, stirring occasionally. Once the bacon is browned, add the garlic, onions, celery, carrots, chili powder, cumin, chipotle chili powder, smoked paprika and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the vegetables are tender and seasonings are aromatic. Add the beef and break it up with a wooden spoon. Once beef is broken up and beginning to brown, add the pork. Break up with wooden spoon like the beef, and brown, until no longer pink. Stir in a can of beer/cider (I add both) and the beans. Toss together, then add the crushed and diced tomatoes. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1 -2 hours. If it seems to too thick, add some more beer. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if necessary. Transfer the chili to serving bowls and garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, and sliced scallions. Like most chili, it tastes better the next day or two after you make it.



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One thought on ““Stand a spoon in it” Chili

  1. Amanda December 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm Reply

    Delish! I love the title of this one. Stand a spoon in it. That’s a real deal chili. I love the cumin, garlic, tons of meat and beer! Yes! This is the kind of thing you have to have on a cold day. Beautiful!

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