Instead of tomato puree
Oops, one 28 oz can short. What to do? On the stove now waiting for me to decide. I do have whole tomatoes in cans - process and drain? Runny chili?
Not sure what other ingredients you have in the pot. But if you have all the flavor you need in there and are just concerned about consistency (since you mentioned runny chili), you can do two things. 1) reduce the liquid by cooking it down on a higher heat until the water steams off and the flavors conentrate, and/or 2) add a slurry mixture to thicken it up (corn starch dissolved in water is the most common).
I would say drain first, then process. And as long as it's chili, you can just cook it down until it's the consistency you'd like. Just let it boil for a few minutes. Prefereably using a splatter screen so you don't have to clean tomato off your ceilings.
I would puree the tomatoes if you want a smoother tomato background or cut with scissors in the can for chunky. Adding cornmeal or polenta, either will work, gives chili a nice richness, and will thicken it. I don't use puree for chili myself, just whole canned or fresh tomatoes. But if you want it nice and thick, another thing is you can mash some of the beans, that thickens it too without adding another starch.
Some chili is made without tomato products using chili powder only.