I hate the words “to taste” when it comes to salt and prefer recipes to be exact, but it’s kind of a necessary evil here. Depending on what’s added to your beans, salsa, and chili powder, you may indeed need more or less.
1 pound ground beef
5 uncooked bacon strips
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 small bell pepper, chopped. I like yellow and orange here!
1 (~15.5 oz) can dark red kidney beans
1 (16 oz) jar fire-roasted tomato salsa. Mine had no salt added.
1 cup beer* + water for the rest of the broth
2 tbsp (subtle) to 1/4 cup (sweet!) maple syrup. Honey, brown sugar, or even pancake syrup might work.
1-2 Tbsp chili powder (be careful! This one didn’t have salt, but if yours does you may need less!)
1 tsp ground cumin
Optional extras: 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp smoked paprika…earthy chili stuff, ya know?
Snip the raw bacon into little pieces, and saute it on the stove along with the chopped onion and ground beef. [Option 1: Add the bell pepper pieces to this]. Once the beef is browned, drain the mixture.
[Option 2: Instead of cooking the bell pepper with all that stuff, coat pieces in some oil and roast at 475 degrees until charred. Yeeeahhh.]
Stir the undrained kidney beans and salsa into the meat mixture, then stir in the beer, syrup, and seasonings. Pour in enough water to cover everything and create the thickness/stirring consistency that you like.
Simmer, stirring occasionally, until hot and bubbly. The longer the better – and leaving it in the slow cooker (or fridge for a couple of days) won’t hurt, either!
*If you actually know about beers, get whatever kind is dark, probably. I had one gluten-free option, which was a lager.