- 5 slices hardwood smoked bacon
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup (~4 stalks) celery, chopped
- 1 cup (1 small) yellow onion, chopped
- 1-2 serrano peppers
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) chili beans in medium (or spicy) sauce
- 1 can (15 ounces) chili beans in mild sauce
- 2 (28 ounces each) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (6 ounces) can tomato paste
- 2 pounds (32 ounces) ground beef chuck
- 1 pound (16 ounces) Italian sausage
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 beef bouillon cubes
- Optional: fresh cilantro, sour cream, freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
- In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove on to a paper towel lined plate and dab off the excess grease. Set aside.
- Reserve the bacon grease in the skillet.
- Remove the stem and seeds from the red pepper. Chop. Remove the stem and seeds from the green pepper and chop.
- Chop the celery. Remove the peel of the onion and chop. (My husband HATES onions and could not detect them in the chili — chop super fine as they add a lot of flavor!)
- Chop the serrano pepper and remove the seeds if desired — leave them in for extra heat.
- Add the chopped red pepper, green pepper, celery, onion, and serrano pepper to the skillet with the reserved bacon grease. Saute the veggies over medium heat until tender. Transfer to the crockpot.
- Add in the three cans of chili beans (undrained and do not rinse), petite diced tomatoes, and tomato paste to the crockpot.
- In the same skillet used to cook the bacon and veggies, cook the ground beef chuck (better flavor and texture than regular ground beef) and Italian sausage until no longer pink over medium heat. Stir that into the slow cooker.
- Add all the seasonings to the crockpot. Crumble up the bacon (or chop) into very small pieces and stir that in the crockpot.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Enjoy with fresh cilantro, sour cream and cheddar cheese.
I use a 6-quart crockpot and this chili fills it to the top! It makes a lot which we love to eat throughout a whole week, take to a chili cook-off, or freeze in batches 🙂