Real-Deal Chili

Prep Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
45 mins

Bacon adds smoky flavor to this authentic Southwestern beef chili. Masa harina, or fine cornmeal, helps thicken it. Serve the lime wedges on the side.


  • 2 slices bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces

  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (1 ½ tablespoons)

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck

  • 2 tablespoons fine cornmeal, or masa harina

  • 1 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar

  • Chopped jalapeno, chopped onion or scallion, grated cheddar cheese, lime wedges, and sour cream, for serving


  1. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Add paprika, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt, pepper, and ground beef. Cook, stirring occasionally, and breaking up the meat with the side of the spoon, until the beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

  2. Stir in 3 cups water, cornmeal, and vinegar, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid thickens, about 20 minutes. It may be necessary to add a little water to thin the chili. Serve hot, garnished with desired toppings.

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