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Oct 30, 2010 11:40 AM

chili help

Need help! I am making my tried and true chili for a party tonight. Texas style. It has been simmering for about 2 hours, and tastes "thin". the spice is perfect (heat) but feels like it is lacking depth. I am not serving for several more hours, do you think it will deepen in flavor as it simmers, or should I add something at this juncture?

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  1. Toss in a small shot of red-wine vinegar; it will certainly lend some "brightness" to the brew. And I do think it will continue developing flavors as it stands.

    1. Depending on your version of "Texas" you could make a sofrito of onion, garlic and paprika by placing the vegetables in the food processor and reducing it to a liquid puree. Then add paprika to make a slightly thicker paste and cook this mixture down till it is a dry paste and add to the pot and finish simmering.

      1. Sounds like it could be undersalted to me.

        5 Replies
        1. re: MikeG

          actually...i haven't added any salt! duh! will give it a shot. as for the sofrito, all those ingredients are all ready incorporated. the vinegar idea scares me a bit honestly.....

          1. re: noogitlvr

            I understand...but a little acid can help chili immensely. A squeeze of lime or lemon would work as well as vinegar. But MikeG may have hit the nail on the head re:salt.

            1. re: noogitlvr

              But you said that it tasted "thin" add the precooked sofrito reinforces and enriches the flavors with out adding more "heat". If you haven't added salt that would result in a very flat flavor.
              As for vinegar it would would have a similar effect as salt but acid really does not fit into the profile of "Texas Chili " (at least the no tomato kind)

              1. re: chefj

                It definitely needs salt, but the sofrito also couldn't do anything but help. Personally I usually just add a TBSP or so of paprika when the chiles don't have enough oomph or I added too much water, but I like the idea of what the sofrito could add.

                1. re: TongoRad

                  A bit of sugar also helps bring out the flavour of the chiles (and the tomatoes, if you should choose to use them).

                  Another heretical idea, which I would not use or advocate personally: MSG or MSG-containing products. I was browsing at some award winning chili recipes a while back, and I was struck that some of the biggest award winners (e.g.,; contained either bouillon cubes or Mexican seasoning powders (e.g., Sazon) that contain a lot of MSG. I don't use such preparations myself, though I would point out that MSG is actually a natural product (produced commercially by fermentation), and many of the fermented products we enjoy (e.g., soy sauce) owe some of their flavour-enhancing qualities to that much-maligned amino acid...

          2. Probably a little late for this post but in the future, stir in some tomato paste if the sauce is thin. If you've added the paste and it's still thin, it needs more.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Cherylptw

              Many would argue that "real" Texas Chili has no tomato.
              Just as an example:

              1. re: chefj

                That may be but I'm offering an option, the OP has the option not to heed my advice

            2. for future, I think more simmering makes a difference; letting it rest makes a difference; yes salt!; add more chili powder, or chopped poblano, or cumin, coriander, oregano or some combination. I don't know what liquids you simmered in but adding a different one of broth or beer adds complexity. A pure chili powder, by the way, like ancho, will add flavor without more heat. I personally don't think of paprika as a traditional Texas chili ingredient.