Yosemite Chili

By • July 8, 2016 2 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe was developed during my first trip to Yosemite a few years back. We camped for a long weekend and wanted a hearty meal that was easy to cook, but also fresh. This chili is full of flavor and quite simple with only a few perishable ingredients that keep just fine in a cooler. You can prep your onions and bacon before you leave, or just bring a good knife with you (essential for camping in my opinion anyway!). To make it even easier, make your spice blend before you leave. This recipe also works great on the grill. Sarah Ward

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Serves 2-3

Yosemite Chili

  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 piece bacon
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 15 ounces can pinto beans
  • 8 ounces can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 pound grass fed ground beef
  • 8 ounces water
  • Salt to taste

Spice Blend

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chili powder (or more to suit your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Mix all ingredients of the the chili seasoning together. This can be made at home, stored in an airtight bag or jar and brought with you, or you can tote your spices with you to camp if you want to use them for other meals (I found it to be fairly convenient to have them with me). Set mixture aside for the moment.
  2. Chop the bacon and onion into small chunks and place them in your pot. Wrap the poblano pepper in foil and place each item on the grill grate over your fire. You'll want to make sure you have a grate on the fire pit, or bring one with you. The chili will burn if the pot is set directly on the coals.
  3. Cover the pot and let the bacon start to sizzle. Let this cook, covered for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to insure it does't stick. The goal here is to get a bit of the bacon fat to start melting and begin caramelizing the onions.
  4. Check your pepper. If the skin is starting to blacken and the flesh has begun to soften, take it off the fire and dice into small pieces (be sure to discard the seeds). Feel free to throw the pepper on the hot coals if you want a smokier flavor and the pepper to cook faster. It will also make the flesh softer, so it really depends on the your texture preference.
  5. Once the onions are translucent, add the ground beef to the pot. Cover and stir occasionally. Let the meat cook for 5-10 minutes or until it starts to brown. Add the diced poblano and remaining ingredients along with your chili seasoning and stir until thoroughly combined. Cover and let simmer for at least 20 minutes. The longer it cooks, the richer the flavor becomes and the thicker the chili. If you want to keep it cooking for a while, just be sure to check it every now and then to see if it's getting too dry (if too much liquid evaporates, it will start to burn). Add a 1/4 cup of water at a time as needed.
  6. Serve and enjoy, hot off the fire.

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