In Oakland we’re really starting to feel the fall. It’s been cold, windy and rainy, and in response I’ve been transitioning from bright summer flavors to deeper, richer ones.

I really like this chili, it has a lot of contrasting elements – sweet tomatoes and brown sugar against spicy jalapeños, Crunchy beef with creamy beans. But it all comes together in and makes a great bowl.

I do this one in a pressure cooker simply for convenience, since you go from start to eating in about an hour, but you can also simmer on the stove or slow cooker- just plan on 2-6 hours of cook time.

If your pressure/ slow cooker has a sauté feature, don’t use it! I love a one pan dish, but this one really needs the vegetables and beef cooked in a large pan you can get screaming hot and give things space to breath. The sear and caramelized bits are what give this dish the rich flavor that you don’t want to miss.


  • 1 lbs Ground beef
  • 1 can Kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can Pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can Black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 28 oz can Diced tomato (with liquid)
  • 6 strips Bacon (chopped)
  • 1 Green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 Red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 Yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 Jalapeño (diced)
  • 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 bottle beer (I use brown ale or an IPA)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 2oz semi-sweet bakers chocolate
  • Olive oil
  • Salt + pepper


  • Bring a pan to heat over medium, then give it a coat of olive oil. Add in the bacon, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño. Sauté until the veggies are soft and the bacon starts to crisp.
  • Throw the chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, chocolate, and some salt and pepper in, and mix to incorporate. Then mix in the tomato paste. Let it continue to cook until it turns a deep dark red and burned bits have started to form around the edges.
  • Pour in the beer and use the liquid to deglaze the pan pulling up all the browned bits. Let it come to a quick boil, then pour it into your cooking vessel with the beans and tomatoes.
  • Wipe out the pan and bring it back to heat over medium high. Add in the ground beef and hit it with some salt and pepper. Keep it moving until the beef has browned and released it’s fat. Pour out the fat (you want the beef to sear, not boil) and keep it going in the pan until you get a deep crunchy crust on the beef. This may take 10-15 minutes depending on how much fat it’s releasing and how hot the pan is.
  • Add the beef to the rest of the cooked ingredients and mix, then pour in the vinegar and give it another mix.
  • Cook- simmer for several hours in a pot or slow cooker, or set for 25-30 minutes in a pressure cooker.
  • Serve with anything you like on chili! It goes great with cheese and sour cream, or some hot sauce for extra heat. My wife is from Hawaii, so I’ve also become a big fan of chili over steamed rice.

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