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Chili When It's Chilly
January 22, 2009 9:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to make a pot of chili tomorrow. Besides the usual kidney beans, tomato schtuff, burger and trinity, what do you like to put in yours to liven things up?

I'm going to the grocery before I start, so please help me out with some favorite ingredients and recipes. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
posted by netbros to Food & Drink (79 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
 
First off: no burger! Get a chuck roast or similar and chop it up. Actually, let it marinade overnight and then chop it up. We also like mushrooms, new mexico chiles and assorted spices in it as well.
posted by youcancallmeal at 9:25 PM on January 22, 2009


Beans do not belng in chile!!
posted by raildr at 9:26 PM on January 22, 2009


I've never tried it but a popular thing to put in chili is chocolate. When I'm feeling in the mood I'll put a can of corn in.
posted by BrnP84 at 9:26 PM on January 22, 2009


I like to use pinto beans rather than kidney beans. Purists will cringe, but I sometimes throw in some frozen corn kernels.
posted by gudrun at 9:27 PM on January 22, 2009


If you're up for something different, one of the best chilis I've ever made had coconut milk (not enough to make it taste coconut-y) and cocoa powder in it. Also I've made chilis with a dash of espresso and cashes, also very good (although these have all been vegetarian though so can't predict how it will taste with meat)
posted by illegiblemess at 9:28 PM on January 22, 2009


sorry.. cashes = cashews
posted by illegiblemess at 9:28 PM on January 22, 2009


I've been reminded that we also put zucchini in as well, which is yummy. And I'll second the corn idea. I should try that.
posted by youcancallmeal at 9:29 PM on January 22, 2009


Put a stick of cinnamon in there while you let the chili simmer.
posted by emelenjr at 9:31 PM on January 22, 2009


I make it with turkey instead of beef sometimes.

Also chick peas, black beans, hot Hungarian paprika and a splash of balsamic vinegar right at the end...mmm...
posted by biscotti at 9:34 PM on January 22, 2009


Honey! It gives it a sweet finish, no matter how spicy you make it.
posted by wondercow at 9:35 PM on January 22, 2009


Some things I have tried:
Mushrooms
Strong coffee (I used espresso)
Cinnamon and nutmeg. They give a depth that impress people.
Corn
Cheese (upon serving usually)
Hot peppers of various descriptions (typically the jars of peppers in the international section of your grocery store are the best if fresh aren't available or don't satisfy)
Chocolate (think of a spicy Mexican mole sauce)
Actually I think I used cocoa powder, but dark chocolate might give it more richness
posted by KevCed at 9:36 PM on January 22, 2009


A bit of beer can be good. Chocolate or cocoa powder is good, too. Honestly I think good quality chili powder is probably the most important factor.
posted by Knicke at 9:39 PM on January 22, 2009


I like ground chipotles in addition to the chili powder. It adds some depth and a little smokiness.
posted by cabingirl at 9:44 PM on January 22, 2009


I use lean ground beef, crushed tomatoes, sweet onion and three kinds of beans. Kidney, pinto and black.
posted by Edubya at 9:44 PM on January 22, 2009


Some diced red bell pepper can add to a chili. I also like to add a dried roasted hot pepper, whole, to mine. I usually stick to just making a good basic chili though, decent cut off stew beef, cubed, some pinto and kidney beans, onion, lotta cumin, etc...
posted by jellywerker at 9:45 PM on January 22, 2009


I've heard strong coffee is a very good addition. I also like to add soy if it's a quick chili (I know, heresy!) to get some umami flavor.

My mom often added chickpeas to her chili, and I've always liked that, but that could just be because it's something she did when I was little.

Also, some floured and panfried tofu is welcome in chili in my opinion as an addition to meat, since it has a nice texture and doesn't get tough or stale tasting like some poultry can. Think of it as a "third meat" after you've added beef and bison.

Google "Cincinatti Chili" if you really want to go off the beaten path. It's nothing like southwestern chili, but it's kind of good in a junky kind of way. Plus, it'll scare the purists, so that's a plus.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:50 PM on January 22, 2009


Beer
Chipotle peppers (canned ones in adobo sauce work just fine)
Fresh cilantro can be added on top upon serving. Putting it in while it cooks may not be so tasty, though.

Beans are a totally acceptable chili ingredient nowadays. No need for purism. They're asking for tasty suggestions, not the original 19th century San Antonio recipe.

I usually make mine with ground turkey, and it is definitely tasty.
posted by fructose at 9:51 PM on January 22, 2009


Chopped celery. It softens up while the chili cooks, but still adds good texture and a slight crunch.
posted by Joh at 9:54 PM on January 22, 2009


I always add my dry spices in with the onions and fresh garlic when I sautee them, because it enhances the flavor. Cumin and chili powder (I'm crazy about Trader Joe's store brand, which does have cocoa in it) and a dash of cayenne.

I always have at least three kinds of beans--my favorite combo is chickpeas, cannellini beans, and black beans.

I also always use fresh oregano, toward the end.
posted by padraigin at 9:56 PM on January 22, 2009


Dried chilies, molasses and Jack Daniels.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 9:59 PM on January 22, 2009


One thing I've started doing recently is toasting dried chilis on a medium-hot skillet (no oil) for a bit before using them in chili. It adds a nice smoky complexity to the spiciness.
posted by goingonit at 10:04 PM on January 22, 2009


I agree that good quality chili powder is the key. I use World Spice's Ancho and/or Chipotle blends. They're both really good. Also beer--maybe 1/4th or so of the extra liquid you add. Some say to use a dark beer, but I think a very hoppy and bitter beer works better instead. If you're into beer then you know what I mean, otherwise something like Sierra Nevada (which you should be able to get anywhere) instead of Guiness. Save the dark beers for beef stew.

I also leave out the beans because I can't stand to eat them. I do however put in lots of as many different peppers as I can get. I roast them first.
posted by sevenless at 10:14 PM on January 22, 2009


A cup of strong (brewed) coffee, heap of cumin, unsweetened chocolate.
posted by dawson at 10:19 PM on January 22, 2009


I've been known to throw a little (good quality) Cocoa powder in, as I see others do as well!

Seconding the use of some marinated, chopped (good quality) beef, as opposed to (or in addition to...depending on your desired texture...) ground beef.

A nice prepared mustard - just a tablespoon or two - has been a delicious, savoury addition as well. I have used a basic Dijon, and Grain mustard as well. Never use the day-glo yellow junk.
posted by miss_scarlett at 10:22 PM on January 22, 2009


also, paprika...I made a coffee/chocolate chili last weekend...wish I'd written a recipe down. Probably a quarter cup of cumin...
posted by dawson at 10:22 PM on January 22, 2009


Make your own chili powder! It's a little time consuming but not hard at all and it will change your chili eating life! It's also a great general seasoning and dry rub for meat. I base mine off Alton Brown's recipe but freely substitute whatever dried chiles I can find and am in the mood for (bearing in mind that it's 3 large, mild peppers 3 medium size and medium heat peppers, and 3 small, very hot peppers). I frequently sub guarillo chiles for the cascabels and add a dried chipotle instead of the smoked paprika. So, so, so good.
posted by mostlymartha at 10:24 PM on January 22, 2009


Peanut Butter.

It's awesome combined with chocolate.
posted by schyler523 at 10:25 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sweet potato, yes it's fucking delicious in chili. Just dice it up and throw it in.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:40 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


*cough* bacon.

Actually it's really important to make sure there's enough fat in your chilli or it'll just taste like thick soup. God soup, I'm sure, but not chilli.
posted by mce at 10:54 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


here, while not exact, is the chili recipe I used this past:

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
3/4 pound beef sirloin, cubed
1 (14.5 ounce) can peeled and diced
tomatoes with juice
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle dark beer
1 cup strong brewed coffee
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
4 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans
2 (15 0z) cans pinto beans
4 fresh hot chile peppers, seeded and chopped

DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions, garlic, ground beef and cubed sirloin in oil for 10 minutes, or until the meat is well browned and the onions are tender.
2. Mix in the diced tomatoes with juice, dark beer, coffee, tomato paste and beef broth. Season with brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, coriander and salt. Stir in 2 cans of the beans and hot chile peppers. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
3. Stir in the 2 remaining cans of beans, and simmer for another 30 minutes.

posted by dawson at 10:58 PM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


No beans - beef (well that is traditional TX but, now I chase fat so....)
posted by caddis at 11:52 PM on January 22, 2009


Little bit of ground cloves.
posted by zachawry at 12:10 AM on January 23, 2009


Beets! Roast them in the oven first to soften them, then peel and slice and throw in the pot. Not only are they delicious, they'll turn the chili into a deep scarlet red that will have everyone saying "ooh, what's that?"
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:12 AM on January 23, 2009


I use a little bit of bacon as well. Finely diced and browned with the ground beef.

Also, as someone up thread mentioned, a bit of sweetness -- honey, maple syrup or a TB of brown sugar -- will help provide depth and a nice counterpoint to the spiciness.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 12:13 AM on January 23, 2009


Fry a pound of lean gr. beef, or small cubed beef chuck or sirloin beef w/ chunked bell peppers, chopped celery, garlic, onions, then add a quart of water and a soup bone (rinsed under running water to remove bone fragments first)...simmer/boil for about an hour with the meat and vegetables

Remove bone, add 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 to 1 cup red wine, 1 can tomato paste, 1/2 cup salsa, a can each of three kinds of beans, 1 can tomatoes (chopped or in pieces), 1 tbsp chili powder, 2 to 3 tsp cumin, 1/2 finely chopped Anaheim pepper, red pepper flakes, (to taste...I'm a wimp so only about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp, since the Anaheim pepper's in there) 1 tbsp brown sugar, salt and pepper (to taste). Oh, and a couple squirts of Tabasco's chipotle sauce.

Simmer for 1/2 hour, to an hour with the lid off (or longer, if it's not as thick as you like it...I like it kinda soupy). I love a lot of the other ideas above, in particular 2 or 3 tbsp of cocoa powder.

Serve topped with grated sharp cheddar, chopped cilantro, big dollop of sour cream, spoon of salsa, w/tortilla chips on the side. Oh, and corn muffins. This sounds so good...I'm making it tomorrow.

I realize this is a recipe, and not just some ingredients...but people tend to ask for amounts...and minus a recipe, hard to give ingredient amounts.

Ixnay on oregano-ayay, personal preference only...gives it an Italian rather than south of border slant.
posted by mumstheword at 12:35 AM on January 23, 2009


Beer, Bacon
posted by Good Brain at 12:59 AM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like pinquito beans in mine, along with kidney beans. I also like to put a little green chile in, as well as some corn (fresh off the cob, if possible). Also, I like to use tomato paste, rather than stewed or canned tomatoes -just for the texture and sweetness of the gravy.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:10 AM on January 23, 2009


Hominy, instead of beans.

Lamb (leg, shoulder), chunked and browned ahead of time.

Make your own chili powder from dried chilies such as ancho, guajillo, etc. Cut into small pieces and grind in an electric coffee grinder.
posted by jon1270 at 2:14 AM on January 23, 2009


cumin, green salsa (salsa verde)
posted by hal_c_on at 2:19 AM on January 23, 2009


I like to grate a little cucumber in there right before serving - it cuts through the sauce and burn that can come across as a little heavy.

People will tell you to take that cucumber and put it in with the creme-fraise as a side dish. These people are talking out the side of their heads. Fact.
posted by Jofus at 2:31 AM on January 23, 2009


I'm surprised no one has said grape jelly yet. Just a couple spoonfuls, really inproves the mouthfeel and brings the other flavors up in the mouth.

And the usual...chocolate, cinnamon, a shot of whiskey, mustard...
posted by notsnot at 3:06 AM on January 23, 2009


Here's the spices I use: garlic, cumin, chipotle, smoked paprika and smoked (manuka) salt, I also like to add maple syrup and red peppers as a paste. If I was being fancy I would take the peppers and fresh tomatoes sliced in half and salted lightly and roast them in the oven, then blend and add them to the mix.
posted by tallus at 3:14 AM on January 23, 2009


Cumin and beer!! Drool....
posted by Nutritionista at 3:40 AM on January 23, 2009


One cup of day-old coffee, and about half of a plain Hershey's bar. I don't taste either in the final product, but they make it taste and feel much richer.
posted by jbickers at 4:13 AM on January 23, 2009


It's not chili without cumin.

Beer. Venison. Habanero peppers (like, one, no seeds, for a whole big pressure cooker full; it'll be mouth-burning hot).

And who doesn't put beans in their chili? Pfff.
posted by Netzapper at 4:23 AM on January 23, 2009


Ground beef AND ground sausage
posted by poppo at 4:25 AM on January 23, 2009


Definitely nth-ing the corn suggestion, as well as celery... they definitely add something texture-wise. I add both after the chili has stewed for a bit so that they don't lose their crunch.
posted by karyotypical at 4:34 AM on January 23, 2009


I use sweet Italian sausage meat instead of the ground beef.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:44 AM on January 23, 2009


Ooh, I JUST made chili on my day off Monday, here's what I used from a quick off the top of my head shopping trip to Whole Foods (some of it was cheating for simplicity, like the salsa):

0.5lb each Ground Beef, Pork, and Buffalo
2 Cans Diced Tomatoes
1 Can Whole Peeled Tomatos (broken up a little bit)
1 Jar of Hot Chunky Salsa
1 can Kidney Beans
1 can Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans)
1 can Cannellini Beans
1 can Black Beans
1 can Corn
2 Habanero Peppers
4 Thai Chile Peppers
3 Serrano Peppers
One Large Onion
Generous amounts of chili powder, cayenne powder, Louisianna Hot Sauce, Tabasco Sauce
Small amount of sugar (or honey)
Tiny amount of cinnamon and/or nutmeg

Brown meats in pan, add onions for last minute or so, drain fat, put in BIG ASS pot.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Simmer for HOURS. Like, 3 or 4, ideally. Depending on how hot you want it, crush the habanero/serrano/thai peppers with the ladle after an hour or so when they are softer.

Serve with corn chips, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped chives (or green onion).

Oh, and I usually put sliced mushrooms in as well, but forgot this time. I like it chunky and varied.
posted by Grither at 5:34 AM on January 23, 2009


Egads! I also crushed a couple cloves of garlic in there as well. I think I forgot to add that to my list because garlic should be used for EVERYTHING. Mmmmm garlic.
posted by Grither at 5:36 AM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oooh....and it's really better after a couple days in the fridge and/or freezer. Fresh chili is delicious, but leftover chili is deliciouser.
posted by Grither at 5:58 AM on January 23, 2009


Chipotles en adobo add a lot of flavor and a hint of smokiness.

Lately I've also been adding tortilla chips, at the suggestion of Alton Brown. They completely dissolve but add texture and flavor to the chili.
posted by Wet Spot at 6:04 AM on January 23, 2009


I can't recommend cinnamon enough, as several folks upthread have mentioned. I never make the same chili twice, but I always use cinnamon.

In the best chili I ever made, I used smoked chuck roast. It was a multi-day affair, because I smoked the roast myself, so some premeditation was required. But it was spectacular, and well worth the effort. You may be able to find some smoked beef of some sort at a market. FWIW, my attempts at brisket chili have been lackluster.

I prefer pintos if I'm using beans. I also like a mixture of dried New Mexico and Poblano chiles. I usually buy dried, roast them a little in a hot skillet, then grind them up to make my own chile powder. Judicious application of fresh habanero can be nice, too, if you're into the hot stuff.

Chili is a wide culinary canvas. Most chili has a lot of stuff in it that tastes good with other stuff- Go wild!
posted by Shohn at 6:07 AM on January 23, 2009


cocoa, grape jelly, oregano, celery, mystery hot peppers I grew in the backyard last summer and froze, and beer. (I use porter, mostly because I drink half the bottle, and put the rest in the chili)

this is all top secret by the way.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:09 AM on January 23, 2009


oh, and cinnamon.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:09 AM on January 23, 2009


I've been making the Alton Brown pressure cooker chili of Alton Brown's recipe (in Wet Spot's post above) recently and it is surprising how good (and quick) it is. Those chipotles in adobo sauce are an amazing ingredient. You could certainly make the same recipe in a pot or slow cooker if you used just vegetables or ground meat.
posted by galaksit at 6:13 AM on January 23, 2009


I like using chipotles, too, as well as beans (pinto, red, black, whatever.) My other secret ingredient is about a tablespoon of peanut butter. (After all, peanuts are a bean, too.) It's not enough for it to taste strongly of peanuts, but it does add a lot of richness.
posted by desuetude at 6:21 AM on January 23, 2009


n'thing cinnamon and sausage. Cinnamon adds heat and flavor and the "what is that taste I can't put my finger on it" factor. I put in a whole stick of cinnamon in a big pot of chili. Sausage is softer than ground beef, and the pork flavor is of course fantastic in nearly anything.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 6:34 AM on January 23, 2009


Smoked Paprika
posted by onhazier at 7:38 AM on January 23, 2009


Jicama. It holds up and adds a nice crunch and it's not strongly flavored on its own, so it's excellent in chili. I always toss one in, peeled and cubed.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:38 AM on January 23, 2009


I made the best chili I've ever made in my crockpot earlier this week. And I've made a lot of good chili. Good time to ask!

I skipped the ground beef and used stew meat or similar, cut into chunks. If you're doing it in a crockpot it doesn't matter if it's tough meat since it'll cook all day. Small can of tomato paste, can of diced tomatoes, half a large onion, large can black beans incl liquid (like them better than kidney), a bunch of chili powder (prob closer to 2 tbsp than 1), 1 1/2 tsp or so cumin, and cayenne to taste. Enough water to just cover everything. No additional salt for me since the canned foods all already had salt added. Cooked about 8 hours.

It doesn't even sound like anything special, outside of being heavy on the seasoning, but it amazed me and my roommate.
posted by 6550 at 7:50 AM on January 23, 2009


Cumin is a requirement. Lots and lots of it (taste test as you go). I start with a whole onion chopped, cooked in olive oil for a few minutes.

Chipotle peppers in sauce are good.

If you want to thicken it and give it a little more authentic southwest flavor, add some masa harina. It's in the Wick Fowler "kit" and you should be able to find a bag in the mexican food section. Masa harina is not to be confused with corn meal or corn flour; it's different enough that you'll notice.
posted by jdfan at 7:54 AM on January 23, 2009


I like using bacon, sausage, chipotles in adobo sauce, and mushrooms in addition to the usuals. Not necessarily all at the same time though. I'm also fond of chickpea chili.

I've started roasting the tomatoes, onions and garlic recently and am quite pleased with what it does for flavor. To do this, preheat your oven to about 425-450oF. Take plum tomatoes and cut them in half long ways, and cut onions into similar sized chunks. Put these in a bowl with some olive oil, salt and pepper and get them oiled up. Take an entire head of garlic and cut the pointy end until you can see a bit of the garlic cloves inside - pour a bit of oil in there and wrap the head of garlic in foil. Take the tomatoes out of the bowl and put them on a sheet pan along with your foil wrapped garlic and toss them in the oven. Cook them until the tomatoes collapse somewhat onto the tray. To get the garlic out of its husk, just squeeze. You can also roast hot peppers in the same way.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:58 AM on January 23, 2009


I know it's going to sound weird, but it's really good. My dad always threw in a good healthy dose of brown sugar toward the end of the chili cooking time. It just brings out all the flavors without making it taste sweet. The amount you use will vary with the size of the batch.

Also: seconding roasting everything you can roast beforehand. It brings out so much flavor for so little effort. Roast all of it, the onions, the peppers, the garlic, the tomatoes; whatever you put in there can benefit from a roasting beforehand.
posted by cooker girl at 8:00 AM on January 23, 2009


Cavender's Greek Seasoning.

The cucumbers are a great idea. I grate carrots on top for a cooling feel.
posted by jgirl at 8:09 AM on January 23, 2009


This was a good previous askme on the subject. Metatalk has the results here.
posted by edd at 8:12 AM on January 23, 2009


Fry up some sausages, slice 'em up and put them in. Also, steak.
posted by chugg at 8:25 AM on January 23, 2009


My secret ingredient is a can of refried beans.
posted by nitsuj at 8:42 AM on January 23, 2009


In the best chili I ever made, I used smoked chuck roast. It was a multi-day affair, because I smoked the roast myself, so some premeditation was required.

My Triple Meat Chili starts with a smoked chuck roast. I make a paste of 4 minced garlic cloves and 2 tsp salt and rub it into the roast. Then I grill it on a hot fire with 1 C of wood chips that have been soaked for an hour. Cover with the grill lid and cook 12 minutes each side. Cut up the roast and save the juices.

Next, into the cooking pot goes some ground pork, onion, jalapeños, dried chili powder and diced bacon. When the bacon is well cooked add your cut up roast and juices.

Meanwhile, 3 dried ancho chilies, and 3 Chipotle Chilies are re-hydrated by putting them in a bowl and covering with boiling hot water. When they are soft (about an hour) de-seed and remove stems. Then put them in a food blender or processor and add: beer, cumin, oregano, cocoa, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and a can of crushed tomatoes. This goes into the pot with the meat.

There are all kinds of dried chilies out there, usually available in plastic bags in the Mexican Food section.

For something very different, you might want to try a White Chicken Chili
Saute an onion in butter and then make a roux using 4 TB butter to 1/4 C flour. Add 1 C chicken broth and 2 C of half-and-half. Season with Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, white pepper. Stir in cooked chicken, canned green chilies, grated Monterey jack cheese. Simmer 20 minutes and serve with sour cream.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:44 AM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Onion and celery, sauteed until soft and then blended into a paste (use a hand-blender). This provides a good "base" for a chili, or any similar stew, that thickens the final dish without having to add flour or potato to make it thick. This also provides a good flavor to the dish, like adding a high-quality gravy or stock. The secret to a good chili is to keep the taste light and fresh -- too much seasoning and you get a heavy, dull flavor.
I start with a gently fried onion or two (can't have too much onion), stir in cumin, paprika, mixed green herbs, and pulverized chili (use a mortar and pestle, or the end of a rolling-pin in a bowl, to smash up dried chili peppers to small flakes). Add finely chopped or ground beef and saute on a low heat until browned. Add a carton of Pomi strained tomatoes and a carton of Pomi chopped tomatoes (this brand is Italian - it has nothing added and tastes very fresh - this makes a lot of difference to the result and you'll find these in a good supermarket). Then add a can of Kidney beans, a can of Pinto beans, the celery/onion paste and additional water (add more than you think you need - this will evaporate with cooking). Bring to the boil, turn down and cook on low heat (simmer) for an hour.
When almost ready to serve, stir in some minced garlic and Trader Joe's 21-Seasoning Salute to taste. Let this cook in for 5-10 minutes, then serve. Don't add salt unless it needs it at this point: plenty of the ingredients have salt in them and too much salt spoils the taste.
You can serve some lightly-spiced side dishes to liven up the meal. Frozen sweetcorn, sauteed with onion, coriander, and a little tomato is good. Add some fresh, chopped cilantro just before serving. Zucchini sauteed with onion, mushroom, and cumin is another good one.
posted by Susurration at 9:36 AM on January 23, 2009


I forgot to say: wash the canned beans in a colander before adding. Using the liquid from canned beans gives everyone gas ... :-)
posted by Susurration at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2009


I can't believe no one has mentioned a pound of browned chorizo sausage. Ole!
posted by Work to Live at 10:01 AM on January 23, 2009


wine

cilantro

semi-dark chocolate

paprika
posted by Beardman at 10:37 AM on January 23, 2009


raisins (if sweet chili is your style!) i'm not a fan, but my boyfriend loooovessss them in there.
posted by chickadee at 3:35 PM on January 23, 2009


roasted poblano and cumin
posted by rux at 5:15 PM on January 23, 2009


Cinnamon. The secret is cinnamon.
posted by piratebowling at 6:31 PM on January 23, 2009


So I have a simpler recipe that I use as my "workhorse" chili, but it was basically this fancy chili recipe I made up (with a few last-minute improvised changes, which I forget now) that won me first place in this cookoff:

The Handsome Barnyard (No Furry)

Veggies and Such:
2 Tbsp olive oil
15 cloves minced garlic
8 green onions, chopped
3 red bell peppers, chopped
4 jalapeño peppers, chopped

Seasonings:
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
1/4 c chili powder
1/4 c cumin
1/3 cup Thai red curry paste
4 Tbsp fish sauce

Liquids
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 15-oz cans coconut milk
16 oz. lime juice (I used 14 fresh limes for this, which I also zested)
1 Tbsp lime zest
1 12-ounce bottle apfelwein (or whatevs; anything light and fruity would probably work)

Meats
1 pound ground pork, browned
1 pound ground beef, browned
1 duck
2 pounds bacon, cooked well and chopped

Final stuff
3 15-oz cans black beans
1 15-oz can red kidney beans
1 15-oz can white beans
1 chopped tomato
1 bunch of chopped basil (about a cup)

1. Mix the Liquids together in a big pot, then throw in the duck and boil it for 45 mintues or so, or whenever the duck's basically cooked.
2. In your main chili pot, sautée the garlic and onions in the olive oil until the onions turn translucent. Add the rest of the veggies and cook until it's sort of a pulpy mass.
3. Add the dry seasonings, cook over high heat until the whole thing is a bit drier and more toasted-smelling. Mix in the curry paste and fish sauce, remove from heat.
4. Pull the duck out of the Liquids and let it cool. While it's cooling, fry up the bacon and brown the ground pork and beef (I dig browning the latter meats in the leftover bacon-fat).
5. Add the Liquids to the vegetable/spice mixture and start it simmering. Skim off the fat as it rises to the top.
6. Pick the meat off the duck, then chop it up (Save the bones to make stock; save the fat to render later). Add the duck, ground pork, and bacon to the simmering liquid.
7. Add the beans, chopped tomato, and basil. Simmer the whole thing for a few hours. Serve with Memphis Corn Pudding.

posted by Greg Nog at 7:30 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I suppose I should tell everyone how this turned out. Based on suggestions above, I chose to use ground pork rather than hamburger, cannellini beans in addition to some kidney beans, and a bit of corn as well. I have usually used cumin and chili powder, but I also added chipotle in adobo sauce because so many recommended it. I also tried the roasted hot peppers, again because it was a recurring theme. I've always been a big fan of the trinity (onion, green pepper, celery) for thickening and crunchiness. Finished off with tomato paste,stewed tomatoes, and just a splash of water and I had a full to the brim crock.

The initial tasting was quite pleasing, nicely spicy, but not overly so. I prefer a thick, hearty chili and this one definitely turned out that way. The pot is in the fridge now. I look forward to tastes the next few days as the ingredients really blend with each other.

Thanks again to everyone for all the great suggestions. There is enough variance that I'll never have to eat the same recipe twice.
posted by netbros at 9:21 PM on January 23, 2009


Late to the game: throw a tamale in there on serving.
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 9:48 AM on January 27, 2009


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