Chili in a stockpot?
I usually cook my chili in a 5 quart Calphalon nonstick stockpot. I'd like to make a bigger amount, so I am thinking of using a large stainless stockpot I have. Do you think it'll work?
It's not the thickest metal, so I'm a little worried about uneven cooking (maybe I brown the meat in something else...). I'm also a little worried about the depth of the pot - with much less surface area / more height, will it stay too wet? Thoughts?
1. You never want to brown in a s/s stockpot. Browning involves high enough temps to potentially warp the thin metal. Once it's warped, even slightly, it won't contact the burner correctly and drier soups/stews (such as chili) will scorch easier.
2. If your chili is very wet and your burners simmer reliably, then you should be fine with relatively lightweight stainless steel. My chili tends to be on the dry side, so I put the covered stockpot in a 275-300 deg. oven. I get far more even simmering in this manner.
Just make sure that this pot has nice thick bottom and can tranfer heat nicely. I've scorched chili in th large stainless pot I have, ruining the chili. Not once but several times. I now use my crockpot accepting the fact that you can't rush a good pot of beans. I like to use dried beans, so I'm pretty much committed to the chili for a day. I brown the meat and onion, in a saute pan then add that to the crockpot. I add addtional onions and etc. the chili as it cooks.
IMO it will work fine......You may want to brown the meat in something smaller and in several batches...Combine everything in the larger stock pot. You're right.. there will be less evaporation in the taller, narrower pot, but that's not necessarily a bad thing........
Have Fun & Enjoy!
I think you are overthinking this. My Mom has what we call the prison cauldron (a very large stock pot) that she hauls out for really be outings like the neighbourhood block party and she makes great chili for the masses. You may have to extend the simmering time to allow for more evaporation/reduction, but it should not in anyway change the outcome. In fact, I think chili is one of those things that gets better with time. You may have to freshen the spices at the end of a longer cooking time though.