Bacon & Sweet Potato Chili


  • 6 slices bacon

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes (2 large), chopped

  • 1 lb. ground pork

1 lb. ground beef

1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)

  • 1/4 teaspoon bittersweet smoked paprika (optional)

  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

  • 1 cup water, plus extra as needed

  • 1 small bunch kale, stems removed, roughly chopped (about 3 cups lightly packed), optional

For serving:

  • 2 avocados, chopped

2 limes, cut into fourths

1 red onion, minced (or 1/4 cup sliced scallions)

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Fry the bacon in a very large skillet until crisp, and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels. Pour off all but two tablespoons of fat from the skillet, reserving one tablespoon for later. When the bacon is cool, chop it into bits and set aside.

  2. Add the onion and sweet potato to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until well-browned, about 15 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside (don't worry if the sweet potatoes are not yet fully cooked).

  3. Heat the remaining tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan, and add the ground pork and beef. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula, until cooked through and no longer pink. Mix the spices and salt in a small bowl, then sprinkle them onto the meat. Add the water and the sweet potatoes and onions, and stir to combine everything well. Reduce the heat so that the chili simmers, and cook for at least 30 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender, or for up to 1 hour, adding water as needed if the mixture looks too dry.

  4. When you are almost ready to eat, stir in the kale, if using, and cook for 10-15 minutes more, or until the greens are wilted and tender. Stir in the chopped bacon, reserving some for serving on top if you like. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

  5. Serve hot, topped with avocado, cilantro, red onion, and a squeeze of lime.

  6. This chili will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days and also freezes well, so it's great for making ahead. I defrost single servings of frozen chili in the refrigerator the night before and then heat it in the microwave. If you're reheating a larger quantity, it might be easier to warm the chili on the stovetop over medium-low heat.


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