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Jun 11, 2006 04:04 PM

your SECRET INGREDIENT for chili?

  • t

Now, first, let's not get into an argument over what chili IS or ISN'T. It is what a person wants it to be....different strokes, and all that.

What I'd like to know, (because i usually buy canned chili with beans)is:

what secret ingredient do you use to make your style of chili extra special, deeper in flavor, better tsasting, etc.

(I've already started mine by browning gd. beef, onions and garlic, along with pasilla and bell peppers, adding diced tomatoes, bay leaf, roasted cumin, chili (ancho) pdr, s&p, a pinch of basil, and a can of pintos and black beans.)

What else should I add? beer? chocolate? red mole? black mole? corn? Worchestershire? relish? ;-)

thanks from a chili novice. It's still go an hour or more on the stove, so fire away!

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  1. My favorite recipe for chili calls for coffee. I've linked the recipe (from Epicurious) below for your perusal.


    2 Replies
    1. re: DanaB

      I'll try it with pork shoulder next time. Do you feel the coffee really adds something?

      1. re: toodie jane

        Yes. The recipe produces a really rich, flavorful chili with a nice depth of flavor. You can't really identify the coffee taste in the final product, but taken together, the chili tastes wonderful!

    2. I find that fresh-ground cumin makes a big difference. I may or may not roast the cumin first.
      Also, for smokiness, I like to add Muir Glen fire-roasted canned tomatos and a bit of chipotle powder.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Val Ann C

        Is chipotle hot? and if so an i use another ground hot chile?

        1. re: Tony

          Oh yes chipotles are hot. They are smoked and dried jalapenos and the process really concentrates the heat. I prefer to use the canned chipotles in adobo. 1 is often more than enough for a batch of chile. And the rest of the chipotles and their sauce will keep for months in the refrigerator. Chipotle mayo on green chili cheeseburgers is a real treat. Just mince some chipotle and add to mayo to your taste and add a bit of the sauce they are packed in too.

          1. re: Tony

            Depends on your definition of hot. It is a dried jalapeno which to me isn't hot. It certainly is much less spicy than a cayenne, habanero, serrano, etc. It has a nice smokey, flavor without overwhelming heat. If a jalapeno is too spicy for you, the chipotle will be too spicy for you. For a milder pepper, I'd recommend an ancho.

        2. Guajillo chile powder. A nice deep, smokey, back of the throat chili flavor.

          1. I use about 1/2 tablespoon of ground coriander per 3 lbs. of meat.

            1. Red wine. Some of the flavor compounds in tomatoes are alcohol soluble. So beer or heck, vodka, would work, too. But I like the red wine.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jess

                Besides beer, I put a dash of tequila and some lime juice.