Beef, Butternut and Bacon Chili

 Beef, Butternut and Bacon Chili -  the perfect fall/winter comfort food dish to warm the hearts (and stomachs) of all your diners!

Yesterday was rainy, gusty, cold and just plain old yucky which made it the perfect day to snuggle up inside and … make chili! I had a nice pot roast in my freezer stash, so I decided to use it to make this Beef, Butternut and Bacon Chili. A unique chili recipe from Cooking Light with beef and butternut squash (really!?) had caught my eye and I had some fun adapting it a bit.

I diced up and cooked two strips of applewood bacon and used them to add extra flavor and a hint of smokiness.  I also added extra veggies and used some of my own techniques to put it all together.

Beef, Butternut and Bacon Chili - the perfect fall/winter comfort food dish to warm the hearts (and stomachs) of all your diners!

We loved the final results – the butternut squash, (oh, there’s carrots too!) while making a lovely visual contrast to the deep, dark hued chili, also adds a bit on sweetness to this zesty, meaty dish. This yummy recipe will definitely be added to my soup repertoire!

P.S. I have to admit, when I make soups, I often cheat a little. I use this wonderful little chopper that makes really fast work of onions, carrots, potatoes, etc.

Beef, Butternut and Bacon Chili

Beef, Butternut & Bacon Chili – a delightful fall weather dish of pure comfort food!


  • Author:
  • Category: Chili


  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 strips applewood bacon, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ lbs. boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut in 1/4 inch slices, then cut slices into 1/4 inch strips (You want to end up with small, bite-sized pieces.)
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1½ cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons diced jalapeño pepper
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste*
  • 1-1½ teaspoons chili powder, start out with 1 teaspoon and add more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 – 14 ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 – 4 ounce can green chiles
  • 2 – 15 ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped carrot (I actually used the mini carrots and sliced them in approximately 1/4 inch slices.)
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro**


  1. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl. Add diced meat and toss to coat meat with flour mixture. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until golden and crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to pan. Increase heat to high.
  3. Once oil is heated, add beef to pan, keeping heat on high. Do not be tempted to stir – you want the meat to sear quickly without releasing it’s juices. After meat is seared and golden brown, about 3- 4 minutes, turn meat with a large metal spatula to other side. Sauté on high for 3-4 more minutes.
  4. Reduce heat slightly and add onions, peppers, jalepenos, and celery to meat in pan. Cook stirring occasionally until veggies start to release their juices. Continue cooking until most of the moisture has been cooked off, watching carefully and stirring occasionally to make sure mixture does not burn.
  5. Once most of the liquid has been cooked off (this will take any where from 15-25 minutes), begin adding wine, about a 1/4 cup at a time. Cook until most of the wine has evaporated then add another 1/4 cup. Each time you add the wine, scrape up the lovely flavorful browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a metal spatula. Repeat this process until all wine has been used and meat is a deep lovely brown color – watch so meat doesn’t burn, but try not to stir too often (this is a great time to do other little kitchen chores as the meat bears watching, but you definitely don’t need to be standing over the pot).
  6. Add the remaining ingredients along with the reserved bacon and bring to a boil, scraping any browned residue from the pan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently for 1/2 hour. Add butternut squash and chopped carrots, and simmer for another 45 minutes or until beef and squash and carrots are tender. If chili is too thick, add a bit of beef or chicken stock to thin. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with sour cream, chopped scallions and tortilla chips for a delicious hearty meal.


* (I like this kind in a tube – it keeps in the refridge, once opened, and you can use just a touch here and there without opening a whole can.)
** (Did you know that the stems of cilantro are loaded with flavor? Don’t hesitate to start chopping right near the bottom of the stems – save the pretty tops for garnish.)
low sodium chicken or beef broth, if desired, for thinning

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