Bacon Bourbon Chili {for 2}

Bourbon & Bacon – need I say any more?!

TL;DR – Recipe here

{ bourbon bacon chili for two // champagne at shannon's }

It has been COLD in San Francisco lately. And by cold, this Texan means anything less than 70 degrees – I am busting out the riding boots, fleece lined leggings, and cozy flannels {to be specific – in Elmer Plaid}. To be fair, when it isn’t cold, I am wearing skinny jeans, Minnetonka boots {you may see yours truly on their site there & here 😉 }, and button downs– but that is beyond the point.

For whatever reason, I was totally craving chili, but I really wanted to use bacon in it. I’ve mentioned before that The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook is my cooking bible, so I adapted the recipe from ATK. {read more about my love for ATK here}

This recipe is a winner because we all know how much I love simplicity.  It is one pot, simple, and you use the fat rendered the bacon and the beef to cook everything else. It is comforting, and made with all real food – it is indulgent, yet feel good. Exactly what is needed with the cooler temperatures.

Personally, I love the flavours the rendered fat the meats lend to the chili. Cook the bacon according to your liking – you can go crispy as you want. I wanted a more tender texture to my bacon, so I did not cook it to a crisp, but that is totally subjective. To accomplish this, the bacon I used was thick and on the fattier side.

I buy all my meats from a butcher, and highly recommend doing so! Not only is the quality phenomenal, but you can control how much or how little you want. I love visiting my local butcher shop. All the butchers there are so knowledgeable and are usually happy to talk to you about the meats.

I’ve learned so much about cooking just from my conversations with my butcher. It is probably my favourite errand to run.

I used Kidney beans, but you can switch it up with pinto or black beans. I’ve also  seen various recipes adding tomato puree, sauce, or paste. I think adding tomato paste & a touch of soy sauce would be great to add to the savory factor, but I personally am not a huge tomato fan. I wanted this to be less soup-like, and more hearty. I did, however, add a dash of worcestershire sauce to lend to the savoriness.

You can easily add more vegetables! Go crazy! Red onions would be delicious here. My boyfriend hates onions, especially large pieces of them, so I usually will grate or dice a shallot really fine. It provides flavour without the textures. As long as he doesn’t get any large pieces of onions or shallots, he is good. I find the shallot will “melt” into the chili, making it hard to perceive them from the other ingredients.

I also gave it the Shannon touch, and added two shots of bourbon! #yolo

I added the bourbon twice – once at the boil, and again at the final simmer. Again, this is totally optional. My thinking behind this, was as I was trying to think of what to drink with this, my mind ran from various libations ranging from: California Syrah or Zinfandel, a GSM (Grenache / Syrah / Mourvedre blend), brown ale {↞ this one is SOOOO good – def picking up some more for the weekend}, or even champagne – and then it hit me… Bourbon!

Bourbon was absolutely perfect with it. Not only was it so comforting and warming with each sip – which really took this comfort food to the next level- but it also elevated the flavours of the smoky spices. And I am just talking about sipping it alongside the chili – everything I just mentioned is precisely why I ended up adding the bourbon to the chili.

I am infusing my pumpkin spice bourbon right now (ready next week! stay tuned!), so I had some extra Maker’s Mark laying around, so I went ahead and added that.

Top to your liking!

I topped mine with Greek yogurt, chives for added brightness, and sharp white cheddar. You can easily add green onions to add to the freshness and colour, or avocados to add to the richness. In mine, before I topped it with everything, I stirred in some freshly grated white cheddar to make it extra rich + provide a little more thickness. I served the chili with Casa Sanchez Thick & Crispy Gruesos chips. I love that they are seasoned with line & sea salt, but I really wanted them to be thick enough to stand up to the chili. I also wanted white/yellow corn chips to provide a nice colour contrast to the dish.

We had ZERO left over, but this would easily reheat  well, and be fantastic the next day with all the flavours melding together. If you want to use a whole pound of ground meat for extras, go for it! Add in more veggies and some more bacon. Feel free to sub the ground meat for ground turkey. If you want to make this vegetarian, you can easily replace the beef for tempeh, and the bacon for heavily seasoned grapeseed oil. Mix the oil with extra chili powder to bring out some flavours! You can even add a kiss of cumin to give it that bacon smokiness. I also recommend adding a splash of umami via either tomato paste, or soy.

{ bourbon bacon chili for two // champagne at shannon's }

Ingredients :
Serves 2

–  Bacon – I used 4 strips cut into lardons or small pieces
–  1/2 pound of ground beef – I used 85% lean
–  Green Pepper, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
–  Red Onion, diced into 1/2 inch cubes (I did not use this, but I would if I was cooking for only me)
–  Garlic, finely chopped
–  Shallot, finely chopped
–  Chili Powder (this one is my favourite)
–  Oregano
–  1 can Diced Tomatoes
–  1 can of kidney beans, rinsed

Optional :

–  Bourbon
–  Tortilla Chips
–  Tomato Paste
–  Soy sauce
–  Worcestershire Sauce
–  Chives or green onions
–  Greek yogurt or sour cream
–  White cheddar
–  Avocado

:: In ratio ::
2 parts beef : 1 part bacon : 1 part vegetable : 1 part beans
spices / bourbon / umami according to taste

Recipe :

  1. Place bacon in a sauce pan, over medium heat until cooked to liking – between 8-10 minutes. Stirring often. Leave or drain however much fat to your liking, but be sure to have at least 1 tablespoon.
  2. Add the Green Pepper, Garlic, shallot & any other vegetables, plus the chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, & any other spices. Cook until vegetables soften, and fragrant ~5 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to medium high, and add the ground beef, breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until it begins to brown, ~3 minutes.
  4. Add beans, diced tomatoes, bourbon, and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for ~45 minutes to an hour
    ›› Optional: Add a few tortilla chips to thicken the chili – feel free to add the worcestershire/soy/tomato paste if using in step 4.
  5. Remove cover, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chili is dark, thick, tender, and rich.
    ›› Optional: add one shot in step 4 and another shot in step 5 for a stronger bourbon flavour
  6. Serve in bowls and top with whatever you would like! I added my toppings in the optional section.

Enjoy! If you make this, I would LOVE to see! Post it on Instagram, tag or mention me @shannonsilver and use the hashtag #champagnefordinner

Happy Friday!


  • This looks and sounds DELICIOIUS. Thanks for sharing!

    • My pleasure, Whitney! So glad you liked it – let me know if you ever give it a go. Enjoy your weekend! xx SS

  • OMG YUM! I especially trust your expertise since you’re a texan! 🙂 And bourbon absolutely makes everything better.

    • Thanks, Kelly! I find the Texan cuisine is what I miss most about living here – probably why I had such a hankering for it. I swear, I’d kill for a good TexMex {queso!!!!} or BBQ place around here. And yes – bourbon can make ANY recipe – or activity – a winner! xx SS

  • My boyfriend would die if I made this for him! He’d Love it. Totally have to save this one 🙂

    • Thanks for saving, Hayley, I’m flattered!! It is 1000% man friendly – mine ate every bite and I had to fight him off from eating mine 😉 Let me know how it goes when you make it, and feel free to reach out with any questions! xx SS

  • Elisse

    This looks so good and easy! I’ll definitely be making this soon.

    • Thank you so much, Elisse! Most of the time spent is it simmering away on the stove – Super low maintenance and easy to make yours! Let me know when you give it a go and what additions you use! Xx SS

  • This sounds absolutely delicious and something I can’t wait to try! xx


    • Thank you, Ashleigh! Let me know when you give it a go – perfect for the cooler temps! xx SS

  • I’ve been watching cooking shows lately & they are always tossing bourbon into the mix. I’ve got to try that. :]

    • It’s seriously the best way to amplify flavours! So good with spices, or even chocolate! Plus, if you’re lucky, you have some left over to sip on…. 😉

      Enjoy your week, Carmen!! xx SS

  • This looks like the perfect Friday night meal to enjoy while watching movies and wearing some comfy PJs. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Happy Monday

    • That is the goal! It is perfect for lazy nights in, movie marathons, and of course cozy PJs! I am so happy you enjoyed it – so easy to make versatile and yours too! Enjoy your week and thank you so much for stopping by! xx SS

  • You had me at Bacon, no need to say more.

    • … Let me just say one more thing… Bourbon! 🙂

      xx SS


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