The ultimate comfort food – Chili is a deeply personal dish, for both the cooks and the lucky people who eat it. Different preferences, different tastes, different recipes, and many many well-kept secrets. No wonder it is a favorite world over!
Making a good pot of chili is no-rocket science. A good pot of chili should have a rich texture, a balanced, beefy, robust flavor and should be bound together by a thick, deep red sauce. In fact, there a few secrets that can make any chili recipe ‘the best recipe ever.’ Chili-experts and chefs have guarded these secrets for too long, and now we are going to reveal them. Read on and add the right ingredients to your grocery list the next time you are making a delicious pot of chili.
- Balsamic Vinegar: Most recipes call for adding vinegar to the pot. But here is the secret, don’t add just any vinegar –its balsamic vinegar that makes the difference. Top chefs like Jamie Oliver for instance recommend adding Balsamic vinegar and bringing it to a boil to let the flavors blend.
- Use fresh spices: Pre-ground powders are convenient, no doubt. But the real flavor is hidden in freshly ground powders. Be it red chili powder, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon or any other spice that your recipe calls for, go the natural route.
- The meat: While some swear by ground beef, and many others prefer chunky beef the common rule is to use high-quality meat. For those prefer ground beef, instead of the store-bought version try chopping beef by hand into a textured mix. It provides little bits or nearly-ground-beef that added body and helped keep the stew well bound.
- Browning issues?: If getting the perfect brown color and deep smoky flavor is your concern, here is a simple solution. Never add chilled meat directly to the pan. Instead let it sit on the counter for about an hour. For a deeper color, brown the meat first before cutting into chunks or mincing it and then add it to the pot.
- The right tomatoes are really important: Use high quality canned tomatoes or better yet fry freshly chopped tomatoes in peanut oil for better flavor.
- First boil then reduce to simmer: Once you add all the ingredients to your Dutch oven, bring the concoction to a boil and them immediately bring it to a simmer. Let it simmer for a few hours depending on the texture of the meat. Continue to skim the fat at every step of the process, so it doesn’t interfere with the flavor of the spices.
- The beans:If you belong to the sect that believes adding beans to chili is unacceptable, skip this step. While there is nothing wrong with adding canned beans, for deeper flavor you have to go the extra mile. Soak dry beans in salted water overnight and cook them with the lid on. Keeping the lid on is very important for a creamy texture.
- Stock results in fuller taste: Store-bought or home brewed, the right stock is very essential to your chili making process. Of course, beer is a good alternative too!
- Never rush: Take your time and brew the chili for a couple of hours for the right flavor and depth. Rushing your chili is the biggest mistake you can make.