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Crackers in Chili: Yes or No?+ Toppings You Love...or Hate

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Just a simple survey on whether you eat crackers with your Chili, and if you do what kind?
I'm an Oyster Cracker guy myself, but what's your preference?
Or is it an abomination to add toppings to Chili?

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  1. I prefer cornbread over crackers, buttered well and crumbled atop the chili. Barring that, I'd opt for Fritos next, and then Oyster crackers, with saltines being perfectly acceptable, but the least desirable of the options.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DarkRose

      I, too, prefer cornbread, but I never crumble it over the chili. Just eat it buttered on the side.

      Now failing that, I've been known to dip a few saltines into my chili, but again, never crumbled over it.

      1. re: DarkRose

        Yes, cornbread, or nothing.

        Never really liked crackers in my chili. In clam chowder, yes. Chili, no.

      2. I believe I have read that FDR put crushed crackers in his chili. If toppings are an abomination, then most of the restaurants that serve chili are violators. If I order chili, I always make sure they will serve it without "surprise" toppings. I will take a little grated cheese on the side, though. If I make it for visitors I provide toppings on the side. A good chili is a good thing!

        6 Replies
        1. re: sueatmo

          I don't usually put crackers in chili (no beans please)

          But I love a topping of cheese and/or sour cream or mustard.

          1. re: laliz

            Whaaa? Mustard?

            I've never heard of that and I've been eating chili since before I had teeth!

            1. re: DoobieWah

              yea. mustard. comes from my love of chili dogs w/mustard. Now I ask for mustard when ordering chili. No beans.

              1. re: laliz

                Oh yes, of course.

                I always eschew the mustard on a chili dog. I never thought about adding it to a bowl of chili.

            2. re: laliz

              Diced ripe tomato or good mild salsa on mine, with sour cream - but if the chili contains beans, I have to have it over cornbread with some chopped onion.

              1. re: laliz

                I have been known to put mayo on top of chili. And while I don't put mustard on chili, I do often add it to cheese type things (like my mac and cheese) to amp up the flavour. Sounds like it might be good.

            3. Gluttony reigns supreme - shredded cheese, sour cream and a few dashes of Tabasco and yes to crackers, if there are no tortilla chips in the house. ;-)

              5 Replies
              1. re: lynnlato

                No crackers, but I like to scoop it up with tortilla chips too.

                1. re: Pia

                  Agh! My husband does that and ends up with it all over his chest. He likes tortilla chips and sour cream. I stick with hot sauce. Never crackers.

                  1. re: Glencora

                    Ha! You're post made me laugh. My husband and son are sloppy chili eaters... with the tortilla chips. It must be a boy thing. ;-)

                    Pia, I'm a scooper too!

                    1. re: Glencora

                      Time to get him a bib. I made my husband one. I thought he would be pissed, but it turns out he likes it. He is an odd duck.

                  2. re: lynnlato

                    I like queso fresco, too much Tabasco, cilantro and a few crushed saltines on my chili.

                  3. I'd give you a very mean look if you put them on as a topping. On the side, where I can just ignore them, is fine. I like crunchy and salty, but not with my chili. If I do have a starch with chili, it'll be some tough/chewy bread.

                    1. I like my chili -- assuming we're talking about a red, meaty chili -- over spaghetti or elbow macaroni, with lots of shredded cheese on top. If there's no pasta to be had, white rice would be my second choice, with crushed crackers a distant third.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                        Bloody hell.

                        1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                          Why do I feel quite, quite certain that you either live in or have spent time in Cincinnati?

                          1. re: mamachef

                            +1 That was my first thought. Although I have not been to Cincinnati, we used to host a Super Bowl party every year and our friends - who were from Cincinnati - brought it to the party every year!

                            Personally, I like cheese, diced tomatoes and diced onions.

                            1. re: boyzoma

                              I'm a Florida boy, lived here my entire life. While I have had Skyline Chili and like it on rare occasions, my family always had chili (or more likely, tangy sloppy joe-style meat sauce) over pasta and somewhat ironically called it "cowboy spaghetti."

                              And as for the white rice thing, that's a Miami thing (where I was raised) all the way. One of my favorite Cuban dishes is picadillo, ground beef in a spicy, richly-seasoned tomato sauce, served over rice. It's an easy substitution to use chili instead.

                              1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                you should come to Hawaii, you would fit in just fine.... place here called Zippy's. chili spaghetti with rice is a standard. Order it with garlic bread on the side, and maybe a piece of corn bread.

                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                  YUM. Chili with rice, cheese, onions...and fried chicken! I love the Zippy's chili/chicken combo.

                          2. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                            When I lived in NY a restaurant my friends and I ate at all the time served chili with rice and I grew to love it, but I've never done it that way myself. I like oyster crackers or saltines or tortilla chips--not fussy. I'm on a chil jag right now, maybe I'll try it with rice.

                          3. I like to eat my chili with either cornbread or saltine crackers on the side.

                            1. I prefer cornbread waffles with my chili, but wouldn't turn up my nose at tortilla chips or fritos. I like crackers with soup, but not with chili.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                                Cornbread waffles are a genius idea. More crusty corners!

                                1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                                  do you have a recipe for those?

                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                    Basically you just thin out some regular corn bread batter and cook it on the waffle iron. I've tried a few corn bread recipes for this, but honestly (and I'm kinda ashamed to admit it) the best ones I've made come from the Jiffy mix.

                                    1 pkg. Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
                                    1 egg
                                    2 Tbsp. melted butter (or rendered bacon fat)
                                    3/4 cup milk

                                    Mix until wet but still slightly lumpy. Pour onto a pre-heated, greased waffle iron. Cook until brown and slightly crisp.

                                    1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                                      no shame LoBrau, I was raised on jiffy corn muffin mix. both my grandmother's swore by it, and they rarely agreed on anything. sounds great. one of my grandmother's used to make corn meal pancakes, loved those. waffles sound even better.

                                2. Always cheese and onions on chili, whether beef or venison. Crackers... only if it is too soupy. Give crackers 10 minutes in a bowl of chili and you could eat it with a pitchfork.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    Right in there, with ya, on the role of two bowls of chopped onions and cheee.

                                    And again to the soupiness, which some wold call slurpiness
                                    on decision of whether to add some Saltines.

                                    I'm pretty much partial to give roll and give rumble
                                    to a hand crumpled half stack of a sleeve of them crackers.

                                    Maybe it's the feeling of coarse corners of crackers
                                    that crumble as our pulsing palms roll
                                    those baked squares down to their crumbles.
                                    Or maybe just the tingle of fingers and salt
                                    and the finish with flourish
                                    as we wipe our hands dancily to get them a'clean.

                                    Anywhere that there''s chili there's gonna be chopped onion
                                    and a bowl of shredded cheese
                                    and discreetly laid saltines encased in their sleeves.

                                    1. re: FoodFuser

                                      Ditto to both of ya. But a buttered flour tortilla on the side.

                                  2. Oyster crackers, sour cream, and diced onion. 1st post.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: hamboney

                                      a hambone out of my own heart :-)

                                    2. My favorite toppings for chili are first a layer of crushed corn tortilla chips, followed by a layer of shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, a blend, whatever) placed on the chili-filled bowls. The bowls go into the oven & baked until the cheese melts. Then the bowls are topped with shredded lettuce, sour cream, & diced raw onion for those who like it. Works for us.

                                      Sometimes we'll vary this by adding fresh diced tomatoes during tomato season &/or avocado when nice ones are available.

                                      I figure if it's something you like, why not? It's not etched in stone. :)

                                      1. Another vote for cornbread, barring that, saltine crackers on the side. Usually I just eat it straight, but on occasion I like diced green onion and shredded cheese

                                        1. cornbread on the side, buttered. Cheese, sour cream, and onions topping the chili.

                                          1. I cook beans separately, drain them, and offer them as a garnish with my chili.

                                            1. I used to do saltines. My best experience ever was a chili sundae at Tony Packos. Since then, I layer my chili with cheese, onions, sour cream...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: rHairing

                                                Mmmm, Tony Packo's. That sounds fabulous.

                                              2. Usually serve on top of rice or with cornbread on the side. Sour cream and cheese on top. Will scoop up with tortilla chips instead of spoon.

                                                1. All these posts and no freaking cilantro?

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                    The salsa I invoked above always, always contains cilantro.

                                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                      no cilantro ever. But I forgot about diced avocado.

                                                      1. re: laliz

                                                        Happy to see I'm not the only one who likes diced avocado on my chili!!

                                                        On chili with meat, I don't like any toppings.. just the chili itself maybe over some brown rice.

                                                        Last night I made veggie and bean chili. Served it with cornbread, diced avocado, and 'chili fries.' The chili fries are basically strips of poblano peppers dipped in egg and panko and baked. I ate them plain, husband dunked them in his chili.

                                                      2. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                        Sorry - forgot about cilantro!!!! Husband doesn't care much for it, but it definitely goes atop my chili.

                                                      3. The biggest selling bowl of chili here is thickened with saltines but long before the pot is finished. You can taste them but not see them. The place is aimed at families with children and it's a very mild chili, suitable as a base for chili pie but not by itself afaic.

                                                        I like some kind of bread on the side with chili but not in it - saltines, cornbread, biscuits, grilled sour dough.

                                                        The only topping I want on my chili is chopped onions, white or green, and only a teaspoon or two of them. Hot sauce? No thanks to the vinegar. Chopped chillies? There should be a minumum of four kinds of chili peppers in the seasoning mix why should I need to add more at the last minute? Sounds like the chili wasn't well made to begin with.

                                                        The easiest ways to ruin a good bowl of chili are cheese and tomatoes; I won't even consider sour cream. Chili is a meat and spices dish, not a casserole or dip. If I want chili pie, I'll make chili pie. If I want a chili casserole, I'll make one (rice, spaghetti, cornbread). But when I want chili, keep it pure and simple, just meat and spices.

                                                        34 Replies
                                                        1. re: brucesw

                                                          Amen to that, brother.

                                                          1. re: brucesw

                                                            Bruce,

                                                            I'm also in Houston. What is the "biggest selling bowl" you refer to? JCI?

                                                            Thanks,

                                                            DW

                                                            1. re: brucesw

                                                              There ain't nothing "pure" about chili. There are as many different ways to fix it as there are folks to fix it for - none are the proper way. But each and every way are the correct way, if you catch my drift, so good for you - enjoy that chili, brother. ;-)

                                                              1. re: lynnlato

                                                                Quite. I think I will make a chili out of frozen octopus, boiled tofu, friseed tarragon and a poached egg.

                                                                Beef? Powdered chile? Oregano and cumin? Hell no! That's for those closed-minded purists.

                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                  Sounds nasty, but to each their own. Don't forget the cumin! :-P

                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                    PK, we better just use the spelling "chile".

                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                      But, PK? Next time I come for dinner, if you serve me that, you can call it Al, you can call, it mishmash, you can call it goulash. But if you call it chili (seeing as how it's evidently SO open to interpretation and ingredients) I shall be forced to take you out and get you drunk. And then, elsewere for dinner. ; ) For which I shall pay, since you made "dinner" and all.

                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                        Yo, mama! What I mean is that for chile purists, generally of the New Mexico/Texas/Colorado ilk, chile is a specific entity. Mine has red chile pods, water garlic, salt and garlic and is then usually cooked w/ fried, diced pork and is served OVER pinto beans. Nothing else will do. PK', I think, uses beef and cumin. Just like the BBQ purists or the NYC pizza purists, we are a fussy lot.
                                                                        The other "chili" is an undifined stew.
                                                                        I am still happy to cook for you and for you to take me out and get me drunk.
                                                                        Happy Holidays!

                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                          I think Pdk is on the right track. It is probably impossible to provide a perfect definition of chili/e, but there are certain sine qua nons: pork or beef in abundance; spices in abundance stemming from the garlic/cumin/oregano/salt grouping; broth or stock in varying quantities; some combination of peppers, dried or fresh, powdered or whole. Onions in one form or another are quite acceptable, and the same goes for tomatoes, although I do have reservations about putting fresh maters in chili/e. Additionally, serious chili/e cooks are expected to include at least one oddball secret ingredient. But this secret ingredient must be used merely as an enhancer, not as a central component of the dish.

                                                                          And last, but certainly not least, beans are right out. Serve 'em on the side if you like, but if they go into the chili/e it's not real chili/e anymore.

                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                            That may be Texas chile, but not New Mexican.

                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                              What about that differs from New Messican?

                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                No onions in the chile and no tomatoes; cumin only if you have cheap chile.

                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                  I didn't say cumin was required, only that it is one of the acceptable spices. Likewise for onions and tomatoes. And indeed, I said that I "have reservations" about the inclusion of tomatoes, although I do use tomato sauce about half of the time.

                                                                          2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                            PK and Perilagu: Next time you are both in the SF Bay Area, it will be my pleaure to have both of you escort me at my expense to Espetus over in San Fransisco. There will be wine, and there will be coktails. There will be sausages and charcuterie and meat-centric Hor's d'ouvres. There will be what they call a salad bar, which contains itetms like composed salads w/ caprese, grilled sardines, charred endive, cheeses, roasted garlic and breads, olives, and they can call it what they want, I call it a little slice of the world-to-come. Then, when it can't get better, it does: Out come huge platters, smelling of smoke and wood and the grill, and upon them splendidly lay every.single.part. of the most delicious, tangy, gamy aged beefy coppery goodness that you've ever tasted. Heart to offal and tenderloin to sirloin or virtually any other cut you know, plus some you don't, this is a paean to meatlovers of all ilk. Not fancy, comfortable as hell. Then tomorrow when you recover from the hangovers that I will personally see to, you will shake hands and be brothers, and all shall be well in the land. Burp.

                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                              Well, that sounds just fine. I'll start with a couple of semi-dry martinis (one Magellan Gin, one Wyborowa Vodka), move on to the cheeses, breads and olives (at this point a bottle of brawling zinfandel will make an appearance), and then on to the prime beef (strip, primarily). I believe I'll round off this repast with a double blast of Lagavulin and a dash of spring water.

                                                                              The offal I'll leave to my awful buddy, Pdk. For Espetus' sake, I hope they don't skimp on the gustatory gonadular delights.

                                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                                Ahem, we have been planning to be in Walnut Creek this Passover/Easter.
                                                                                There is a long history of Texas imperialism against New Mexico. (They can keep El Paso, we don't want it back.)
                                                                                Does one snort a coktail?
                                                                                What's a hangover?
                                                                                When it comes to chile, however, Texans and New Mexicans are hermanos!
                                                                                We look forward to it, PK can you pick me up on I-40?
                                                                                Carpe chow!

                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                  I guess you'll find out what a hangover is when you snort yor furst coktail.
                                                                                  Meanwhile I look forward to it. If PK can't pick you up I will.

                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                    Never been to California, but I suspect it's high time I make the trip. And seeing as how Pdk is a grizzled miner (but definitely not a minor), I imagine he'll want to pan for gold on the Russian River. So I'll look for him, his mule and his kit wandering down the road between Grants and Gallup. Vive l'empire.

                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                      We have a large valuable old oil painting of the Gualala R., just north of the Russian, by one of my wife's Maine family ancestors that took a saw mill to Cal. in '49, Anne Lyle Harmon had over 400 painting destroyed in ot '06 quake. We have 2.
                                                                                      PK we're a days drive from Lubbock.
                                                                                      Only in New Mexico can one say Christmas for chile. Red and green.
                                                                                      Just had a bowl of green chile stew at the Frontier in Alb. tonight. Beef, green chiles, onion, a little potato and tomato and a fresh tortilla on the side.

                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                        Huge numbers of redwood trees left Gualala in the latter half of the 19th century, bound for San Francisco where they were used to build houses. Be sure to hang on to that painting, PDK.

                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                          Now that's fascinating. What a very small world we live in. I grew up in the little town settled by them there Russkies; your wife's ancestors for whom the Russian river and Pudding creek are named. Boyee, did they log hell outta the area - but it wouldn't be settled at all had they not arrived. NaZdrovye!

                                                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                                                            Sebastopol?

                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                              MMm, I was thinking of the Ft. Bragg/Mendocino area, but again, viva le coincidence, I lived in Sebastopol (the one in Cali., not the one in Russia) for about 5 years.

                                                                                2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                  Ahem- Arizona doesn't fit into this, or are we presumed to be soothng ourselves with menudo and posole?
                                                                                  Not that it doesn't work for the most part...

                                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                    Where DOES Arizona fit in all of this? I'd be interested to know what Arizona chili is all about. I'm assuming it includes cactus.

                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                      Eastern Ariz. and much more of the state is like NM. A Mexican - Native American mix. Much like mine, naturally.
                                                                                      I'm making Navajo green chile mutton w/ posole for Christmas.

                                                                                3. re: mamachef

                                                                                  How could a guy pass up such an offer? I shall prepare said abomination and I shall christen it chili. Then I'll expect you to make good on your promises. All of them. ;)

                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                    Too late my avitar is better & bigger.

                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                      From where I'm standing, you're outgunned.

                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                        I wine 'em, dine & bed 'em; your weapon looks pretty ancient, too old to fire.

                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                          It's been known to blow a hole amidship at three miles. More than potent enough to repel the navy of the Rio Puerco.

                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                            The Pinot Evil hits just below amidship!

                                                                              2. re: lynnlato

                                                                                I like you and your post so much.

                                                                              3. re: brucesw

                                                                                Sour cream or a little dab of plain yogurt in a hot bowl of chili is very good, very cooling to the mouth. I don't think you can ruin the chili if it is good to begin with, unless you know you add sugar to it or pour it over ice cream.

                                                                                I admit I do like grated cheese on a loose bowl of chili. If the chili is very hot/spicky, I might go for a dab of sour cream. If not on a low carb diet, then I would prefer corn chips as accompaniment to my chili. That's the beauty of chili; it can be all things for all eaters.

                                                                              4. A good bowl of red may not need anything else, but it can lend magic to a wild range of combinations.

                                                                                Over fries w/ cheese, over mashed potatos, rice, or cornbread, saltines, pasta, old leather shoes....

                                                                                1. Fritos!!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: CharlieKilo

                                                                                    Abomination! Abomination!

                                                                                    8^O

                                                                                  2. My chili is too thick to really put crackers with, but I do like some good buttered bread to eat and "clean the bowl" with. If there is sour cream or cheese around, I might put it on top, but not generally. If I make chili without beans I like it over rice.

                                                                                    1. Jalapeno Corn Bread on the bottom, Chili poured over the corn bread topped with raw onions and a little pepper jack cheese. Pure comfort food right there!!

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                        Yeah...

                                                                                      2. Never oyster crackers, they belong in chowder. I like my chili with cornbread on the side. Toppings I deem acceptable include cheese, hot sauce, and/or sour cream.

                                                                                        1. I don't always do this but when the mood hits....

                                                                                          Tater tots on the bottom, covered with the chili. So delicious, as the tots become soft and mix in with the chili adding a potato-y thickness. Top with fresh cilantro, green onions, and cheddar cheese... plus a few more tater tots around the edge.

                                                                                          1. I'm not much on crackers added to soup or chili. My father, on the other hand, views chili as an excuse to eat a sleeve of Saltines!

                                                                                            Additions to chili, depending on the style can be raw onions, shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapenos. If chili is the main dish then I like either cornbread on the side or a bowl of rice to pour the chili over.

                                                                                            1. RICE! I love chili over rice. My fav toppings are onions, cheese and sour cream. Hot sauce if needed. YUM!

                                                                                              1. Cheese, onion, siracha, cilantro n a little sour cream

                                                                                                1. Definitely cilantro. Maybe some kind of slaw if I'm feeling fancy -- jicama works really well.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: piccola

                                                                                                    slaw? I'll have to think about that one.

                                                                                                    1. re: bbqboy

                                                                                                      Vinegar-based, not mayo. That would be gross. :)

                                                                                                      And only enough to add crunch.

                                                                                                    2. re: piccola

                                                                                                      Last year for superbowl party, I made red cabbage slaw with a (pureed) green onion and cilantro dressing. One guest piled the slaw on top of his chili and everyone did the same... was actually very tasty!

                                                                                                    3. I like chilli with sour cream and grated cheese... DH likes crackers with his but I prefer potato.(preferably baked, but microwaved and diced at a pinch.) it's also nice served over white rice.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                        When I make a big pot of chili, baked potatoes with chili, cheese, diced tomato, diced ham and sour cream are the 2nd day dinner. Yum.

                                                                                                      2. I had an amazing chile verde made with pork that was served on tortilla chips, and it was damn good.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                          Green chili is aces. Very much a New Mexican specialty, with Colorado another hot spot.

                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                            It was Chile Colorado at a colorful little joint in Mendocino, CA, that turned me onto the tomato and sour cream topping. Soooooo gooooood.

                                                                                                        2. crumbled cornbread, or good deli rye bread and butter on the side...

                                                                                                          1. No crackers in chili. No crackers in soup. No hexagonal crackers in chowder.

                                                                                                            Crackers are good with cheese, however.

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                              I can see how the Hexagon is sort of a stop sign
                                                                                                              but numbers of edges have no count to texture
                                                                                                              when rolled in the palms and sprung free by the fingers.

                                                                                                              Dodecahedrons have twice the six edges
                                                                                                              plus the beauty that comes from the concept of "dozen"
                                                                                                              is 12 more edible than those crackers with six edges?

                                                                                                              I guess that's just why I just crumble and roll 'em.

                                                                                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                I was referring to oyster crackers for the chowder, natch. I had to google them to see how many sides they have.

                                                                                                                Crackers are not my preferred starch for soup/stews, especially if they already contain one. Chili, I'll eat on rice. Soup can have potatoes or noodles. If it doesn't, I may eat it with a sandwich. Chowder usually has potatoes in it.

                                                                                                                1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                  Those home-chopped potatoes
                                                                                                                  presented in chowder
                                                                                                                  are the perfect expressions
                                                                                                                  of multiple Polygons.

                                                                                                                  Indefinable in sense of the number of edges.

                                                                                                                  I don't mean to take our present discussion
                                                                                                                  from chile to chowder
                                                                                                                  and ''taters or crackers

                                                                                                                  That's why there is ease
                                                                                                                  in those perfect baked squares, quadrilateral rectangles
                                                                                                                  of saltines that come in those quarter pound sleeves
                                                                                                                  to be hand-crumbled down to indefinite Multigons
                                                                                                                  and placed atop chile

                                                                                                                  Hand -crumbled,, with the savor of salty
                                                                                                                  and texture released with power of hands..

                                                                                                            2. I only eat vegetarian chili, which i'm sure many here would consider an abomination to begin with, but it is a recipe that I have shared with many a meat eater and they loved it too.

                                                                                                              I love cheese, sour cream, green olives, hot peppers, avocado, salsa (not always all together) and sometimes even whatever's around, like ranch dressing, mayo or bacon bits. No crackers or chips, or cornbread.

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                im-nomad, I'd love it if you shared your particular recipe with me.

                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                  Sure thing! It's in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4795...

                                                                                                                  That's the basics, I often "doctor" it up with chipotle for extra heat, mushrooms, sometimes a bit of vegetarian bouillion and other toss-ins. I make it til it tastes good.

                                                                                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                    Thank you, im_nomad! 'preciate it!

                                                                                                                2. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                  As an omnivore, it sounds good to me.

                                                                                                                3. I like crackers in chili for the texture. Oyster crackers are the best, but many places just give saltines. A friend of mine made individual bowls of chili for us one night and gave everyone a bag of chopped onions, shredded cheddar and a tiny bag of fritos. The fritos made his kickin' hot chili perfect. The salt balanced the sweetness and the heat perfectly. Best chili I've had in ages.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                                    My husband's family introduced me to fritos, onions, and chopped dill pickles. Weird, but delicious, and I like it that way now. I grew up with cheese and sour cream, though.

                                                                                                                  2. I love chili so with or with out toppings/sides is not an issue. Chili good!

                                                                                                                    I do feel it is missing something if I don't at least put fresh, chopped or diced or very thinly sliced raw onion on top of the serving. Cheese is not a must but I sure do like it.

                                                                                                                    I'm not too much of a cracker fan so I don't (if ever) have it with chili.

                                                                                                                    Corn chips, home made whole wheat flour tortillas, home made blue corn tortillas or just plain old store bought corn tortillas are favourite chili sides.

                                                                                                                    My guy will crumple a couple handfuls of corn chips on top of chili then mix it in. Oh, he is doing that the wrong way! I like to line my corn chips around the inside edge of the bowl, sticking them into the chili about half way and then I keep a plate of a few extra chips nearby in case I need more.

                                                                                                                    Tapatio sauce on top of sour cream (or plain yoghurt) is another favourite.

                                                                                                                    And, if we don't have any toppings or sides, we like to serve it on a bed of brown rice or hard red winter wheat. If we do that, Iike to put the shredded cheese on top of the grain, then chili, then more cheese and also onions.

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                                                                      how do you serve hard red winter wheat? Toasted kernels?
                                                                                                                      I'm intrigued.

                                                                                                                      1. re: bbqboy

                                                                                                                        We either cook it like rice but with 2.5 cups water to 1 cup of grain or toast it in the pan for a few minutes and then cook it.

                                                                                                                        Toasting it gives it a slightly corn-like taste which goes great with chili!

                                                                                                                        Oh, and it takes for EVER to cook! Plan on at least an hour. Edit: ...boyfriend says at least 90 minutes cooking time!

                                                                                                                        Not sure if it cooks more slowly because we are at 8250' elevation or not because rice still only takes about 30 to 45 minutes to cook.

                                                                                                                        It is totally worth the wait though!

                                                                                                                        1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                                                                          Thanks so much. I'll try.

                                                                                                                    2. I go with cheap saltines on the side and ladle occasional spoonfuls of deliciousness onto the crackers and convey the precious morsel directly to my mouth. Delicious and so simple.

                                                                                                                      I'm also a fan of frito pie with little fritos and yaller cheese--just slit the side of the bag, ladle in hot chili and top with grated cheese.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: marthasway

                                                                                                                        I like to line my bowl with fritos corn chips, topped with chili, cheese and sour cream. My other favorite way is to crush saltines (Premium) in to the chili followed by chipotole hot sauce.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Edward Tyson

                                                                                                                          Premium Saltines don't thrill me like they used to, hence the move to store brand for such plebeian pleasures as chili or tuna salad.

                                                                                                                      2. Yesterday afternoon during commercial breaks in the NFL action I micro-thawed a container of chili leftover from a recent competition, stuck some frozen steak fries in the oven, ladeled some chili over the fries and topped with grated cheddar. The wife had hers with a dollop of sour cream, while I opted for sliced pickled jalapenos.

                                                                                                                        Divine.

                                                                                                                        1. I don't mind crackers, but in my house chili is served with Fritos [with cheddar cheese, chopped red onions, and sour cream out as additional condiments to add] ....

                                                                                                                          1. I like to dip saltines in chili, but will sometimes go with cornbread or a grilled cheese. Not a huge fan of topping with sour cream, but definitely with cheese.