blueberry chili

I did it again. I put blueberries in a dish where blueberries don’t typically dare to go. And it worked. Thank you, sweet magical blueberries that ameliorate everything you come into contact with.

What we have here is Blueberry Chili. I started with a simple mixture of onions, garlic, and ground beef, and let it infuse in my favorite of flavoring agents: (maple-flavored) bacon fat.

While many chili recipes call for canned tomatoes, I say pish posh to that. Why not use the real deal, when it is late summer and ripe tomatoes are bursting on the vine in backyards nationwide? So for me, ripe tomatoes it is. Some brown sugar, salt, and seasonings were added into the mix, and – oh, yes – a heaping cup of blueberries.

I let my chili cook rather long to bring out an extra oomph-y sweetness from the semi-caramelized brown sugar. However, decreased cooking time would result in a soupier chili, which many people seem to enjoy. As with all recipes, you be the judge.

Blueberry Chili {original recipe}

Note: I served this over pasta. Serves 2-3;  you could easily serve 4 by adding in a few cups of rehydrated beans, or an extra pound of ground beef.


2-3 tbsp bacon fat
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/3 onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 c. chopped tomatoes
1 c. blueberries
1-2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt (more, if additional flavor is needed)
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp chili powder (less if you’re using something rather potent)
1 tsp cumin
2 c. rehydrated beans (optional; I did not use beans)


In a large pot, heat bacon fat over low medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook for two minutes before adding in ground beef. Break up beef into pieces, and stir frequently until nearly cooked. Add chopped tomatoes, blueberries, and all remaining ingredients. Cook on low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, for up to an hour.

Serve over pasta, if desired.

Aside from eating more blueberries than may be healthy for me, I’ve been a very busy bee lately.

For one, I’ve been trying to teach myself shroom ID on all the fungi I come across while foraging. When it comes to the little guys, it’s difficult.

For two, I’ve been out foraging frequently because chanterelles have been making an appearance in the woods – and on our plates! I adore the fruity apricot scent of chanterelles; that’s the one aspect, to me, where they surpass morels.

For three, I’ve almost reached a point with New Venture where I’ll be ready to unveil my great plans to the world. Almost. Please be patient, and stay tuned for the great reveal, coming soon. Eeee!

35 thoughts on “blueberry chili

  1. Superb, love the idea of a savoury dish with blueberries. Can I come over to your place for lunch or dinner?

    Also very envious of your chanterelle adventures. They are so incredibly delicious (and expensive, over here, at least). And I’m totally hanging out for the great reveal!

    1. Heck yes, just hop on a plane, and after an insanely long ride, you’ll be delivered to my doorstep! It’ll be no big deal:)

      I hope to find many more chanterelles… it’s been a lucky start to the ‘season’ for us!

      Yeah, great reveal! Coming up in a few weeks max!!

  2. Whoa. WHOA!! I am so making this. I have to start getting creative with my blueberries soon. Your recent recipes have been very inspiring! I’m not so great at thinking outside the box.

    Getting antsy for your big reveal!

    1. Aw, thanks Brianne:) Honestly, I’ve felt a bit uninspired in the kitchen, but every time something cool has gone down lately, it’s been because of the blueberries. Hence, it’s been because of you!

      Oh, you! Hah, I bet you are;)

  3. No, this totally makes sense! Warm fruit has always been great with meats, genius idea to put fruit in chili though.

    Excited to hear about your grand venture!

    1. Thanks Alayna! I thought it made good sense, too. My only qualm involved me wondering if the chili would turn a sickish shade of gray from the cooked bluebs. Thankfully, the chili powder took care of that!

  4. YOU CRAZY WOMAN, YOU!!!!11`
    I am starting to believe your outrageous stories of putting blueberries where they do not belong. You are a pioneer…do you think regular ‘ole store-bought blueberries would do the trick for something like this?

    Also – PLANS?? My goodness, how enigmatic of you! /excited
    ALSO also – I am way jealous of your finding chanterelles while foraging. So expensive in the city! Would love to try some without selling a body part! :D

    1. Hehe. Mary, you make me smile. Like this: :D I have been reduced to a small 2D graphic, but it’s a relatively accurate representation.

      Heck yes, store-bought blueberries would work! In that case, I might even add another 1/4 or 1/2 c…. since they won’t pack as well into a measuring space when larger. It’s a… math thing. Right?

      Oh, ho ho, plans indeed. Many plans I have. If you had a dime for every time during my day that I think to myself, “I have plans!,” then you would have at least $1.70. So much cash.

      Come visit me, yo! We can forage for shroomies together! And then, while you’re staying here, it’ll be like we’re roomies, but roomies hunting for mushrooms… get it? :D Still smiling.

    1. What is a day where I don’t partake in the joys of bacon fat? Not much of a day, that’s for sure.

      Yeah, you’d like it. Without the pasta, of course;)

  5. Oh my Emma lady, this looks MAGNIFICENT in all the ways. ALL OF THEM. Would it work with raspberries? But blueberries have more sweetness, don’t they. I truly would love to try this with you one day :)

    1. Who’s that laaaaady, prettty laaaaaaady… who I want to eat chili with? It’s you, of course.

      Raspberries, ooh. I would worry about the seeds, so would probably try to put them through a sieve first. But I bet they would add a nifty punch to the overall taste. Yeeeeeah!

  6. First off, New Venture is keeping me up at nights. I don’t do well with suspense.

    Second, blueberries in chili? Freakin’ my freak, woman! Excellent idea. Excellent, indeed…

    1. Uh oh, I’m messing with your beauty sleep! And by beauty, I mean that sleep you mentioned where you develop a new style by letting rats suck on your hair. Or something. Hmm. It might be for the best that I’m keeping you up. Rat vigilance and all.

      Freakin’ good is what this is! /was.

  7. Okay, so I give you some quotes, you give me fruit in a savoury dish … I’d say we’re even :P

    Can’t wait for the big reveal, so excited for you!!

    1. Yeah, we’re definitely even! ;)

      Can’t wait to tell all the secrets that are currently hidden in my heart, in my email, in my Excel spreadsheets and my Microsoft Word documents!

  8. i second your pish-posh to canned tomatoes right now: i can literally still walk outside in the backyard and grab tomatoes to make things. canned is for winter, when the grocery store tomatoes taste like nothing.

    and hooray for blueberries in my chili! you must have known i had begun my annual “think of new chili recipes to try” process. i have an andrew carmellini lamb one i’m going to do, but this one is going on the “to make” list right away. and i always cook mine an insane amount of time, also; i’m not a runny chili girl. i like it thick like, well, chili.

    1. When you picture someone saying “Pish posh,” do you imagine them adopting a somber expression and doing a little wash/clap motion with their hands? Because I do. ‘Pish posh!’

      Our tomatoes are finally ripening. It’s been a long time coming, considering we started our seeds in April, and watched our little feeble seedlings wish for light and heat for so long in this cold cold place. Justice is served.

      …in the form of chili! I’ve never been much of a chili person, but I loved this dish so much that I may have just had a change of heart. And a change of labeling myself? Perhaps I now am… a chili person?

      1. “pish posh” to me is only said crisply, with an at-least slight British accent, and by yes, whisking one’s hands together, a la Mary Poppins. it’s the phrase-cousin to “spit-spot!” which is also said this way. can you say either phrase without straightening our your shoulders and doing the brisk washy motion? no. i’m the same way.

        if i have learned one thing this year, it’s about northern climates as compared to my own in terms of when things come into season; this is such an education i’m getting! in large part thanks to you, by the way. i’m so happy to hear your tomatoes are finally ready to be slaughtered. yay!

        i am not a “chili person” per se. i am a “homemade chili that i make” person, however, difference being that i’m super selective. like how i don’t just randomly like cake because it’s cake; it has to be good/worthy of eating. can chili? ew. not for me. but you throw blueberry chili or lamb chili or something fun like that my way? oh yeah. if we keep this up, we may be “chili people” by the end of winter.

        1. Shannon, can you handle this? I don’t think you can handle this!

          I don’t think you’re ready for this chilayyy, I don’t think you’re ready for this chili, I don’t think you’re ready for this, cause my chili’s too blueb-ilicious for you bayybabbbyyyyy.

          Gettin’ illicit up in hurrr, aight?

  9. I really want to try this, and now I can! Whooo! Because I just yesterday found some blueberries in the freezer. Which was a little shameful, because firstly, who just forgets that they have precious precious blueberries? And secondly my freezer is such a mess that this could happen easily.

    1. Whoooo hooo! I lose so many things in my freezer, and my freezer isn’t even a mess, or close to being full, right now. Thankfully, I know the many locations in my (two freezers) in which I have hidden my blueberries. Never forget the blueberries, Laura;)

  10. This sounds totally delicious and the photos are perfect! Love the bowl, too. (And a “here here!” to opting for lovely fresh tomatoes.)

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