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Chili - with fruit???

So I've decided to finally use my slow-cooker, and I am definitely going to make "traditional" chili ... but I was curious about putting some twists to chili in the future ... considering how popular fruit salsa is (like mango salsa), and since I've seen quick and easy recipes using salsa for chili, I was wondering ... do people ever make chili with fruit in it? I thought it would cross somebody's mind, but after some googling, I hardly came up with any results. Is that an absolutely absurd idea? I don't mind experimenting when it comes to quick dishes, but I don't think I'd want to risk it with slow-cooked chili.

Also, quick general question about cooking chili ... is there anything that I shouldn't add at the very beginning of slow cooking it? I know people say that spices might lose intensity and they do "dumps" throughout, but are there any other ingredients that should be saved until the end?

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  1. I grew up eating picadillo, a Cuban hash that's both sweet and savory and very easy to make. The fruit is raisins; otherwise it's like a chili with green olives, onions, and almonds and ground beef or pork in a tomato sauce.

    Especially good with chili spices: cumin and cinnamon. It doesn't need a lot of cooking time, but tastes better after the flavors have had a chance to meld.

    Moroccan and Middle Eastern food often uses dried fruits (apricots, figs, dates) with braised meats and olives. Maybe start with a small amount of fruit.

    1. I cook a lot with fruits (i.e. duck, pheasant, pork, etc.) such as roasted grapes, stone fruits, savoury chutneys, pan sauces, glazes and so on. As for chili specifically, a touch of pomegranate syrup is lovely. I usually grate in some chocolate, too, for great balance. Prunes would probably be very good, too - haven't tried it yet, though. It makes sense. I would likely pull them out after they have added their complex flavour. Mango puree is wonderful with pulled pork so perhaps a touch of it would work in chili, too. I also make a great papaya ketchup that works well with Northern African inspired meals.

      Chiles such as mulato are fruity to begin with so I dry roast them, grind them and add to chili as well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chefathome

        I like the prune idea...I think I'd try pureeing them after they had cooked for a bit. I was also thinking along the lines of fruit salsas, and I could see peach or pineapple working well. I make Hawaiian nachos, so I can definitely attest to pineapple, ham, and Rotel playing nice in the same dish.

      2. Here's a link to tradional Texas chili, which means no beans or fillers. These recipies are the winners from the Terligua cook off. Maybe it will help.


        1. There is a Mexican mole (chile and nuts sauce) called Mancha Mantalles (table cloth stainer) that includes a lot of fruit.

          There are other Latin American recipes that cook meat with fruit.

          1. Fruit in a typical American Chili or Mexican Chili (excluding Tomatoes or Tomatillos and Chilies) would be unusual, not that it wouldn't work it just is not traditional.
            There are many Mexican Dishes that use fruits in a savory application ie: Chiles en Nogada http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiles_e...
            I think the subject of making Chili con Carne has been well covered in other threads here.

            1. I've known people who have added apple puree and mashed bananas to their chili.

              5 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                some chili recipes fall in the 'everything but the kitchen sink' category.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Have you ever tried banana ketchup? It's found in Filipino stores. It tastes amazingly like tomato ketchup.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    wow, i was just thinking mangoes or pineapples ... did that turn out any good?? could you really taste the fruit or was that just to add a tad of sweetness?

                    1. re: nanobabes

                      The bananas were grilled, pureed, then added to the chili mix. It was very nice, gave it a nice subtle sweetness without being overpowering.

                  2. I recently made a chili that had pork (chunks) and apple in it. It was the second time I made it and after that I decided I wasn't too wild about the combination of apple and tomato. Just my opinion.

                    1. There are many Brazilian Black Bean Soups that incorporate different kinds of fruit - mango, banana, etc.

                      I like this one that uses mango juice: http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2011/...

                      1. My typical slow cooker chili is lentils and beans and at the end I add grape jelly ( jam is better ) and just a touch of chocolate. The chocolate and sugar add to the tomatoes already in the cooker. I don't really have recipe but Moosewood is a good reference.

                        1. Try topping chili with chunks of mango .... good stuff.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: todao

                            And, really, if one is botanically correct, tomatoes are fruits, and we all know how well salsas and chili go together ...