Sweet & Savory Cranberry & Bacon Chili

Mmm, nothing says January like a big bowl of hot chili. I’ve been working on my signature chili recipe for years. I remember I first started when my BFF Brooke made a giant pot of amazing chili in our college apartment. I don’t know if it was because Chick-fil-a was closed after an all night Saturday soiree or I was just in my chili prime but that bowl of spicy goodness felt like it saved my life. If memory serves the recipe was her Grandmother’s and although I begged & pleaded I just couldn’t get her to spill. So began the journey of my own signature chili recipe.

I’ve succeeded in making a fairly good beef & bean chili. If you smother anything with enough cheese, chives & sour cream it’ll certainly be good enough, but I’ve still always wanted something AMAZING. Something different. Something my kids would crave when they were off on their own & hungover in their own college apartment…and hello, I’m totally talking about crazy Soph. I have no doubt Miss Responsibility Samantha will always remember to consume a glass of water for each alcoholic beverage.

I’m not sure if this will be that chili recipe, it is a bit different, but I’m quite certain it will be something I make every winter for a long time to come…

LPM’s Sweet & Savory Cranberry & Bacon Chili:

  • 6 slices of thick bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 yellow or white onion, diced
  • 1 cu dried cranberries
  • 14 oz tomato puree
  • 16 oz water
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained
  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 1/2 tbs smoked paprika
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbs cumin
  • 1/2 tbs oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • chopped scallions or chives for garnish

In a large pot cook bacon pieces over medium heat until crispy, set bacon aside on a paper towel but leave the rendered fat in the pot. In the fat cook the diced onion over medium high heat until soft, around 4 minutes. Add cranberries & toss with the onion, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to the pot including bacon & cook on medium low heat for at least 20 minutes. If you have more time let it simmer away, it’ll just get better the longer you leave it. At this point the chili is a little too watery for my taste, I prefer a bit of a thicker consistency, so I used my stick blender to very lightly blend some of the beans. Not all of the beans, just enough to thicken the sauce. If you do not have a stick blender a potato masher would also work well. Serve piping hot with a dollop of sour cream & some chopped chives for garnish.

Have you made your own signature chili dish or is this just some weird endeavor of mine??

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    • Natasha

      Just the bacon! When you puree some of the beans it gives it a ground beef look…I really don’t miss the beef at all in this recipe!

  1. jessi

    I made this last night and it was soooo good! The only changes I made were to not put in cumin (because it is a demon spice, if you ask me) and to serve it along with some stovetop cheesy polenta to make it more filling for the little ones (I thought about cornbread but then remembered the crumbly disaster it turns into when kids eat it…and Momma has to clean it up, of course). Everyone loved it and had seconds.

  2. Lindsay

    I cannot wait to try this. I’m going to substitute the bacon (I know, blasphemy!) for 1lbs cubed steak. I recently had Cosi’s Steak and Cranberry Chili and absolutely fell in love with it. I have been trying desperately to find a recipe for it, but apparently it has not caught on. I am so excited to find yours, and I will be trying BOTH versions… the bacon and the steak.

  3. Tesa

    I’ve had this recipe ‘saved’ for almost a year now and finally got around to making it last night. OH.MY.GOSH. I am totally in love with it. I personally don’t normally like chili because I’m not a fan of how ‘tomato-y’ it usually is. And, quite frankly, I get fed up with the family arguments over beans vs no beans and spicy vs mild. As soon as I got to the stage of cooking the onions and cranberries, I thought I was going to have get a bib to control the drooling. It’s the absolute perfect combination of a little heat with a little sweet! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!

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