Best Chili Ever
The Winner:
Kathy Nervig, Ankeny

4 slices bacon
1-1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 can (14 ounces) jellied cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
1 can (14-3/4 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes with
green chilies
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and
1 can (15 ounces) chili beans
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

In a stockpot, cook bacon over medium heat
until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper
towels; crumble bacon and set aside for garnish.
Drain bacon drippings, reserving 1
tablespoon drippings in a small bowl.
In the same pan, cook beef over mediumhigh
heat until no longer pink, about 8
minutes. Remove beef and set aside. Drain
and discard beef drippings.
Return reserved bacon drippings to the
stockpot; heat over medium-high heat. Add
onion and red pepper; cook about 5 minutes,
stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic
and salt; cook for 2 minutes. Add chili
powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, cayenne
pepper, tomato paste and water; cook 5
minutes, stirring frequently. Add cranberry
sauce; cook 3 minutes longer.
Stir in cooked beef, cocoa, both cans
of tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth and both
cans of beans. Reduce heat to low. Simmer,
uncovered, about 1-1/2 hours or until chili
thickens slightly, stirring occasionally.
Stir in hot sauce. Top individual bowls
with reserved crumbled bacon. Serve with
other toppings of your choice: sour cream,
shredded smoked cheddar cheese and/or
chopped green onions.
Makes 10 to 12 servings