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It's a Chili cook-off! Need special ingredient suggestions

I'm participating in an (amateur) chili-fest in a few weeks and want to do a test batch this weekend. I'm not an avid chili maker - but my friends seem to think I'm a pretty good cook so I can't disappoint!

My plan is to use a fairly generic base recipe, then experiment with some unique ingredients. (good plan/bad plan?)

I'm looking forsome suggestions - I know there are some SUPER passionate Chili people out there. What to do? Meat suggestions? Other ingredients?

Help! Thanks so much~

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  1. sometimes I use the left over coffee in mine as well as some dark chocolate. I also roast my garlic and onions.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Analisas mom

      I've also used coffee, dark chocolate, and brown sugar (not at the same time!).

    2. With chili, sometimes it's cool to have "secret" ingredients. I use this and that, (see photos)

       
       
      1. I won a very amateur chili contest (only 6 of us) LOL but still it really was fantastic. I used cubed pork, cubed beef, ground beef and bacon. Mine had bitter choco in it as well. many will say NO tomatoes but I did have one can. This was the awesome recipe that I started with but then revised to my liking (I did not like the bourbon in my first try):
        http://chile.netrelief.com/recipes/ba...

        Good luck, now you have me wanting to do chili real soon.

        1. Rendered beef kidney suet, won a couple chili cookoffs using it.

          4 Replies
          1. re: rcspott

            Must you give away ALL of the secrets?? Ha! This stuff is pure nectar in Venison "burger"/Chili etc. etc......

            I like a bit of Masa Harina in my Chili...not much...just a bit!

            Fun!

            1. re: Uncle Bob

              Me, too - I love a little bit of masa!!

              1. re: Uncle Bob

                Me too about a tablespoon, great flavor and thickens the chili nicely. yum.
                I use a mix of chilis, so that's key. I prefer a deep mahogany colored chili.

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  I usually add a slurry of masa in near the end of cooking--gives great body and adds a terrific flavor.

            2. Masa harina flour. I usually add some after browning the meat and before adding the other ingredients. Stir it into the meat and drippings as if you were making a roux. Slightly thickens the chili and gives a subtle corn tortilla taste to the finished product. You won't regret it!