Heat Up My Chili
October 27, 2004 3:34 PM   Subscribe

ChiliFilter: When I make chili, I use cayenne pepper and red pepper powders and sauces, respectively. But the 'bite' of the heat comes a second or two after the chili hits my mouth and is rather metallic, versus right away and nice and warm and full like chili you get at a restaurant. What's the difference? What ingredients can I add to bring the heat forward earlier, and make it warmer and less "bite"-y?
posted by SpecialK to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm hardly what you'd call a good cook, but it's my understanding that cayenne is known for sneaky heat that hits you after the flavor. White pepper is more up front about its pepperyness; you might try that instead (or in addition).
posted by willpie at 3:37 PM on October 27, 2004


Are you adding any cumin to it?
posted by konolia at 3:42 PM on October 27, 2004


More, and more different, peppers. Each kind of pepper (chipotle/chipolte, habanero, etc.) and each method of preparation (fresh, roasted, dried, powdered, etc.) has its own "profile", and a wide mix of different kinds will help create a much more robust, rounded sensation.

More specifically, it sounds like you need more peppers that are spicy enough to round out the sharpness, but not as sharp as cayenne, etc. You might want to look at ancho (which are dried chipotle, I believe)--you soak them in warm water to reconstitute them, and then chop and use them like anything else.

Also, go back to a fundamental rule...the fresher, the better. If you can find a good produce market, get a couple of everything they've got. If you're feeling really ambitious, roast one of each kind, so you're using fresh and roasted of each type.

Finally, if your chili is tasting too sharp, _no_ seeds or ribs. Whether or not you've already got them in your chili, they'll definitely make it taste more metallic and sharper.
posted by LairBob at 3:43 PM on October 27, 2004


I've had some pretty nice "full" heat in chili but using about a quarter of a bottle of Tabasco harbenaro per half kilo of chili.
posted by ed\26h at 3:48 PM on October 27, 2004


I also recommend ancho chilies.

I have researched and prepared a number of different chilis over the years and if you have the time, this is my very best offering:

Smoked Meat Chili

4 lb beef chuck roast
4 garlic cloves
2 tsp salt
2 TB New Mexico chili powder
3 dried Ancho Chilies
3 dried New Mexico Chilies
2 TB cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 bottle of beer (or 1 C water)
1 C crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
2 TB brown sugar
1 med onion minced
2 garlic cloves
4 Jalapeno chilies
7 to 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 TB lime juice
5 TB masa harina or corn starch

Puree the garlic and salt and rub into th e roast along with the chili powder. Build a hot fire on the grill with bottom vents open. Sprinkle 1 C of wood chips that have soaked for one hour in water. Place roast on the grill and cover with top, opening lid vents. Cook 12 min. each side. Cut up into 1 in cubes, reserving juices.

While the meat is cooking, re-hydrate the dried chilies by soaking them in very hot water for 20 minutes. Remove the stems and seeds. In a blender puree the deseeded, re-hydrated pods with spices, beer and tomato sauce.

Saute the onion in olive oil or bacon fat until soft-- about 5 min. Add Jalepenos and garlic and cook one minute more. Add spices, bacon, cubed roast, lime juice and 6 to 7 C water. Simmer until meat is tender-- about 2 hours.

To thicken, make a paste of the masa harina (or 3 TB of corn starch) and add to stew. Simmer 10 minutes more. For best flavor, cool and refrigerate over night.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:56 PM on October 27, 2004 [3 favorites]


Aww...man. Now I'm starving.

I have got to try that recipe.
posted by LairBob at 4:08 PM on October 27, 2004


Any alternatives to smoking the roast yourself? I don't (and can't) have a charcoal grill.
posted by SpecialK at 4:11 PM on October 27, 2004


While the meat is cooking, re-hydrate the dried chilies by soaking them in very hot water for 20 minutes. Remove the stems and seeds. In a blender puree the deseeded, re-hydrated pods with spices, beer and tomato sauce.

Yes! In my experience, the secret to good chili is to make the base from pureed, reconstituted dried chiles. Lots of them! In addition to ancho and New Mexico, I'd recommend pasilla (called chiles negros when dried, I believe), which has a darker, almost bitter flavor. Use a variety of different chiles: you'll get a more complex flavor. To get a more intense heat, I'd recommend adding chipotles (dried, smoked jalapenos) at this point. You could also add fresh chiles, tobasco, or cayenne powder later to bring up the heat, but it'll be more bitey and not as deep.

If you really want a really intense, deep flavor, before reconstituting the dried chiles, briefly roast them on a very hot dry skillet. Just press them down against the skillet with a metal spatula until the skin blisters and they begin to smoke, then straight into warm water. You can take this a step further by actually frying the chiles in manteca before reconstituting them: that'll give you some real depth.

The chiles should soak at least 1/2 hour, and make sure that you get the puree really smooth. Little pieces of dried chile skin in the final product can make for an annoying eating experience.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:42 PM on October 27, 2004


And SpecialK, if you can't grill/smoke the roast yourself, you can always try roasting or braising it. You won't get quite the same flavor, but it should still taste great.

(To roast or braise--coat it like Gravy suggested, and brown it in butter or oil on all sides on the oven in a pan. Then either roast it in the oven--in a dry roasting pan--or braise it, again in the oven with a little bit of liquid in the pan. Braising will generally turn out moister, but roasted will be closer to a grilled flavor.)
posted by LairBob at 4:52 PM on October 27, 2004


LairBob - what temperatures/times would you recommend for roasting or braising? Also, you say braising will turn out moister, but will that matter if it's being thrown into chili?
posted by rorycberger at 5:50 PM on October 27, 2004


LairBob - what temperature/time would you recommend for roasting or braising? Also, you say braising will turn out moister, but will that matter if it's being thrown into chili?
posted by rorycberger at 5:50 PM on October 27, 2004


LairBob, you must think you're the pope of chilitown.
posted by funkbrain at 6:08 PM on October 27, 2004


I'd recommend pasilla (called chiles negros when dried, I believe)

Is there a place one can find a "chile concordance" that tells you what chiles are called dried/fresh/canned?
posted by weston at 6:21 PM on October 27, 2004


The phrase "metallic bite" set off a warning signal for me. What are you making your chili in? If you are using tomatoes in your chili and cooking it in a dutch oven, you might be getting a bad reaction from the cast iron. Try switching to something non-reactive like stainless steel or enameled iron.

As for the soaking of dried peppers: I read once that over-soaking them can make them taste bitter. Maybe a shorter soak?
posted by bcwinters at 7:14 PM on October 27, 2004


I love that cayenne slow heat, but if you want a more forward bite, any kind of Tabasco is just the thing. Things that are vehicles for lipid microdroplets, such as long-sauteed onion, little bits of ground beef, and thickening agents like cornstarch, also help to bring the heat (capsaicin) forward after a little bit of slow simmering.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:23 PM on October 27, 2004


sometimes things smooth out after sitting overnight in the fridge.
posted by mecran01 at 8:53 PM on October 27, 2004


You might want to look at ancho (which are dried chipotle, I believe)

Actually, anchos are dried poblanos...chipotles are dried (smoked) jalapenos.
posted by rushmc at 9:50 PM on October 27, 2004


Try adding two teaspoons of sugar to the mix and simmer for a while longer.

No, I'm not kidding. Sugar is the great balancer.
posted by madman at 1:15 AM on October 28, 2004


No, I'm not kidding. Sugar is the great balancer.

Adding brown sugar will help cut the acidity of the tomatos..

Also, be sure to use the proper chili spoon. I suggest carving one out of a bigger spoon.
posted by rajbot at 3:12 AM on October 28, 2004


I don't know about chipotle, I have this definitive profile in my tastebuds for red chili and chipotle isn't part of it.

Yet.

::gets busy c&ping the above recipe::

Brown sugar is excellent for 'cutting' the acidity of the tomato base however one can also simmer longer and add shredded potatoes, which will 1. thicken the final product and 2. add the 'sugar' needed to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes.

Personally, I like the acidity of the tomatoes, it's another bite in the palate of the dish.
posted by kamylyon at 5:05 AM on October 28, 2004


Any alternatives to smoking the roast yourself? I don't (and can't) have a charcoal grill.

Last time I made this recipe, I just prepped the roast and then quick seared it in a skillet before cutting it up. You don't get the extra smokiness, but you still end up with a rich, full-flavored chili.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:03 AM on October 28, 2004


The smoked meat chili sounds great; I may try it next time I make some chili. One way to avoid having to hunt down multiple types of pepper individually is to use a blend; Pendery's is my favorite source. They also have a huge variety of individual peppers so you can mix your own. Unfortunately the descriptions on their web site are very brief, so you have to know ahead of time what you want. One of my favorites is Jalisco, which is a milder alternative to Chipotle when I am cooking for some of my more delicate friends or when I am relying on other peppers for heat.
posted by TedW at 6:34 AM on October 29, 2004


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