NOTE: CORNFLOUR CAN BE MADE BY GRINDING CORNMEAL IN A CLEAN SPICE MILL OR COFFEE GRINDER. IF YOU PREFER A SPICIER CHILI, ADD CAYENNE PEPPER TO TASTE. (STEP ONE): DIVIDE the onion and bell pepper into eight sections; REMOVE ribs and seeds from peppers; PLACE onion, pepper, and garlic in a food processor; PULSE vegetables until coarsely chopped.
HEAT one tablespoon bacon fat or olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven and add the bay leaf, and chopped vegetables; SAUTE until just softened.
ADD 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef and cook, breaking coarsely with a spatula as it browns.
SPRINKLE 2 tablespoons masa corn flour over saute mixture; COOK for 2 minutes, stirring.
ADD the group TWO seasonings and stir (at this point you can transfer mixture to a crock pot if using the slow-simmer method, using the LOW heat setting, then stirring in the remaining ingredients and cover, simmering for at least 4 hours); PROCEED to the following step for the stovetop method.
STIR in the group THREE ingredients; BRING to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; REDUCE heat to a rapid simmer, stirring often until chili thickens to desired consistency (adding water if desired to thin consistency), about 30 minutes. (NOTE: If you're not in such a hurry and using the stovetop slow-simmer method, you can reduce heat to low and simmer for a few hours, refreshing consistency with water if needed).
REMOVE bay leaf.
LADLE into serving bowls and garnish with desired toppings.