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I LOVE chili. It’s probably my favorite soup. Any kind of chili will do. No wait, scratch that. I am firmly in the Chili-Must-Have-Beans camp. So if there are no beans… it will not do. That kind of chili is better for topping hot dogs or nachos, not eating with a spoon. Needless to say, this chili has beans. And chipotle peppers, and chicken, and BACON!! Chicken + bacon is already a match made in heaven so putting the two together in this chili is a no-brainer. Adding chipotle peppers kicks things up a notch—more in a smoky way than a spicy way, although you can make it spicier by adding more chipotles. This recipe is adapted from Pinch of Yum’s Sunday Chili.
How To Make Delicious Chipotle Chicken & Bacon Chili
I don’t want to scare you, but there is a good amount of prep work involved in this recipe. Lots of chopping. I’d recommend chopping all of your veggies up front and setting them aside in a bowl, then chopping the bacon. As bacon and veggies are cooking, chop the chicken. You couldddd put chicken breasts in whole, then take them out after the 30 minute simmering step and pull them instead. If you are super anti-chopping. Another sneaky thing you could do is super roughly chop the veggies and then throw them in a food processor. (Like this one or this mini one!) But then you have to clean the food processor. Up to you on whether chopping or cleaning is the worse evil!
We start building our chili by cooking up 6 pieces of chopped bacon. Start the bacon in a cold pot, then turn to medium heat—this way, as the bacon heats up, the fat renders/melts out. This will give you crispier bacon, which is always a plus in my book. Once your bacon is as crisp as you like, scoop it out of the pot, leaving some bacon grease behind to cook our veggies in. (YUM.) Sauté your onion, bell pepper, carrots, garlic, and salt until starting to brown, then add in chipotles in adobo, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and tomato paste, and cook for another minute or two until tomato paste turns a darker red. Adding the spices and tomato paste before liquid helps to bloom the spices and gives the tomato paste a more robust, cooked flavor. Add the fire roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, and chopped chicken (or whole chicken breast if you plan to pull your chicken instead). Bring the soup up to a boil, then simmer for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours. Before serving, add in the beans and juice of 1 lime.
Other Methods of Making This Chili
*I have not tested these methods with this specific recipe, but I am confident they’d work out great.
- Crockpot. Sauté the bacon and veggies separately, then add to a crockpot along with the rest of the ingredients (besides beans and lime juice). Cook on high for 4–6 hours or low for 6–8 hours, then add beans and lime juice. If you’re super lazy, you could just sauté the bacon separately and add uncooked veggies into the crock. Personally, I think the verdict is still out on how much of an impact sautéing veggies before slow cooking has on flavor.
- Instant Pot. The IP doesn’t thicken soup up enough for my liking so I would start with 4 cups of chicken broth instead of 6 and add more later if you need to thin it. Use the sauté function to cook bacon and veggies, then add the rest of the ingredients (besides beans and lime juice) and set Instant Pot for 18–20 minutes. Natural release for 10 minutes, then add beans and lime juice.
Chicken + bacon are a match made in heaven, but adding smoky chipotles and fire-roasted tomatoes to this chili brings it up a notch. Super hearty and flavorful!
Adapted from Pinch of Yum’s Sunday Chili
- 6 slices bacon (raw), chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced (color of your choice)
- 2 carrots or ~8 baby carrots, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 chipotles in adobo, minced (or more if you like spice)
- 2 ½ tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- two 14–ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 6 cups chicken broth
- ~1 ½ pounds chicken breast (raw), chopped into 1-inch pieces
- juice of 1 lime
- two 14–ounce cans black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Sour cream/Greek yogurt, cheeeeese, scallions, pickled onions, cilantro, avocado… and chips of course!
- Start with a cold pot. Add bacon and set to medium heat. Once bacon is crisped to your liking, scoop it out with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate, leaving behind bacon grease. Discard all but ~2 tablespoons of grease.
- Turn heat to medium-high and add in diced onion, bell pepper, carrots, garlic, and 2 tsp salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion becomes translucent and veggies begin to take on color, about 8–10 minutes.
- Add in minced chipotles, 2 ½ tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp oregano, and 3 tbsp tomato paste. Cook for another couple of minutes until tomato paste turns a darker red.
- Add 2 cans fire roasted tomatoes, 6 cups chicken broth, and chicken chunks. Bring soup to a boil, then let simmer for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
- Before serving, add juice of 1 lime and the 2 cans of beans. Top each serving with all the yummies and enjoy!
- Hate prep work? You could throw roughly chopped veggies into a food processor and dice them up that way. Also, instead of chopping the raw chicken breasts, you could put them into the soup whole and, after the 30 minute simmering step, take them out and pull the meat.
- Crockpot Method. Sauté the bacon and veggies separately following steps 1 & 2, then add to a crockpot along with the rest of the ingredients (besides beans and lime juice). Cook on high for 4–6 hours or low for 6–8 hours, then add beans and lime juice.
- Instant Pot Method. The IP doesn’t thicken soup up enough for my liking so I would start with 4 cups of chicken broth instead of 6 and add more later if you need to thin it. Follow steps 1 & 2 using the sauté function to cook bacon and veggies, then add the rest of the ingredients (besides beans and lime juice) and set Instant Pot for 18–20 minutes. Natural release for 10 minutes, then add beans and lime juice.
Keywords: chili, smoky, chipotle, chicken, bacon