Do you know how to make a great batch of chili? In honor of #NationalChiliDay, I wanted to share my top 8 tips to help you make a better pot!
When the temperatures outside make your face hurt, it is always a good idea to make a delicious big pot of chili! This can be the meal that brings loved ones close together — or tears them apart. Chili is often the focus of cook-offs and competitions. Beans or no beans? Spicy or no spice? Regardless of how you make your chili, you can ensure that every bowl is an experience to love!
Start with the freshest ingredients possible
While opening a couple of cans of beans and tomatoes may make your chili quick and easy, it simply can’t compare with homemade all-the-way chili. Use fresh, seeded tomato and peppers. Even though the seeds often provide a bit of flavor, seeds can detract from a ‘pretty’ bowl of chili. I like to soak and pre-cook my beans. I can soak them in my own blend of seasoning to give the beans more depth.
Cook a pot of beans before you make it into chili
This can make all the difference in the world. It may take a while longer to prepare your chili, but the results will be well-worth the wait. You can also use an assortment of beans. Make your blend unique!
Consider the different types of peppers available
Sure, a jalapeno will add some heat to your recipe, but do you want your chili to have heat or a flavor all its own? You may even want to mix the types of peppers to give your chili the right amount of kick!
Avoid using water to thin down too thick chili
Instead, use beef broth to thin a chili that is too thick. Not only will this provide the extra liquid you need, it can also add depth and flavor to your recipe.
You can thicken up a too thin chili by adding small amounts of tomato paste
You can thicken up a too thin chili by adding small amounts of tomato paste. This will provide both flavor and thickening to your chili. If that doesn’t work, try adding just a little bit of cornstarch or cornmeal. Be careful to add only a little a time or you’ll have the opposite problem.
Avoid using pre-packaged chili seasoning mix
The flavor may be alright, but you want “Wow!” Use fresh herbs, spices and chilis to create a wonderful taste. Experiment with a variety of seasonings. When you hit on the perfect mix, make a large batch, and then separate it out for individual pots of chili. This can be frozen for up to one year.
Cook your meat before adding it to your chili
Brown and drain any excess fat from the meat before you begin adding liquids. Browning the meat sears it and locks in the flavor. Use a better cut of meat and your family will love it!
Make your chili the day before you plan to eat it
Why? Preparing the chili, allowing it to cool and then refrigerating it overnight, you will give the flavors of the chili to “marry.” The result will be so much better than opening up some cans, adding some ground beef and your personal blend of chili seasoning. Your family will notice the difference and will enjoy every drop of it. If you want to eat it the same day, put the ingredients in the slow cooker or allow it to simmer all day before eating it.
Anyone can make chili with cans, but you are wise enough to use these tips to make a delicious batch chili. The results will be well worth the time and effort. Your family will thank you each time you make it.