There seems to be way too strong of trend right now to hunt down and blog about the best burger. There also seem to be tons of burger places popping up, vying for the King of Burger crown or a mention in some local food article, sights set on a visit from Guy Fieri. I guess maybe that happens with hot dogs too. But what about the chili? Where are all the boutique chili parlors hoping to get a mention by Oprah or President Obama? I guess the world is just not fully ready for novelty chili awesomeness yet… So until the rest of the country gets on board with my love of tasty and unique chili recipes, I will attempt to piggy-back on two strong foodie trends right now: burgers and bacon. I present to you, Bacon Cheeseburger Chili!!!
I had actually developed and tested a recipe for this one many months ago, but didn’t like the way the final product turned out. It also photographed very poorly, so I deemed it unworthy of The Hot Chilly spotlight and buried it away in the recesses of the “reject” folder on my computer. For real… the pictures were bad:
The taste, though, was decent but needed work. The key was to find a way to have it truly taste like a cheeseburger, but not like I just took one and whirled it around in a blender. It still needed to have chili-ness to it as well. I had to amp up the umami. Umami translates to “that pleasant savory taste”- or at least that’s what Wiki tells me. It’s become a pop, foodie culture, buzz word. If you can use it in a sentence then you are one of the cool kids. Malcom Gladwell says it’s part of the key to the popularity of ketchup. I say it was probably just the yummy corn syrup and nice bright red color… but I digress.
We do get quite a few of the umami flavors in this dish from the beef, bacon, savory herbs, and Worcestershire sauce. We also get a burst of flavor from the glutamates in this chili (tomato paste) getting frisky with the nucleotides (beef, pork). They cha-cha all over your taste buds in a delicious dance off with the always tasty sharp cheddar, and tangy tango-ing vinegar and mustard. Feel free to top the dish with your favorite burger toppings. Fried quail egg maybe? Foie gras? Gold leaf? Or how about just some good ‘ole lettuce and pickle you crazy burger hipster
In a large pot over medium heat, add 1 ½ pounds of ground beef and one diced medium white onion, yield of about 1 ½ cups, and cook until the meat is browned. Drain the grease and return the return the pot to the heat.
Add in 1 T garlic powder, 1 T cumin powder, 1 T chili powder, ½ T dried rosemary, ½ T ground sage, 1 t black pepper, 1 t sea salt, 1 T Worcestershire sauce, 1 T rice wine vinegar, 1 T yellow mustard, 2 ½ cups of chicken broth, and one 6 oz can of tomato paste. Stir to combine, cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes- stirring after 15 minutes.
In a separate pan, brown 1 lb of bacon that has been cut into matchsticks. Once cooked, remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside on a plate covered with a kitchen towel. This will absorb any excess grease.
Prior to serving, stir into the pot 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and the cooked bacon sticks.