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Lean Beef and Chili

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Do you think you can make a good chili with a 90% or above lean beef? I'm starting to think not. I've made two batches this year (I am a southern California transplant, so I haven't made a lot of it since moving from the Northeast.) I made some last night and despite the good seasonings and cook time, it just seemed so bland to me. Thoughts?

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  1. bland probably isn't from the ground beef. It's more about technique and seasoning. You can make terrific non-bland meatless chili !

    How are you making it?

    1. I agree with Hamster. I always make my chili with lean beef, I also add a few links of hot turkey sausage, but I still think it would taste good without it. Look up the All American Chili on the Cooking Light website. It's very tasty.

      1. Although I prefer to use a fattier grind for everything, I find that if I must use extremely lean beef, chili is one of the best ways to disguise its blandness. You definitely want to amp up the spices, though.

        1. You can't make anything with lean beef that won't be better with fattier beef. Fin.

          1. I do a bit of party catering and one of the most requested items is my turkey chili.

            Well browned meat.

            Lots of spices (not necessarily hot). Chili powder, cumin, garlic, onion, adobo, Mexican oregano

            I use rehydrated ancho chiles and unsweetened chocolate

            Not too much liquid. I use beer.

            Make sure it's well seasoned. I use both salt and soy sauce.

            I simmer with a habernero pepper which I remove, so it has flavor and some heat but not too much.

            2 Replies
            1. re: C. Hamster

              Thanks, guys. I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but I bought a new jar of chili powder from the .99 Store, and I am guessing this is part of my problem. My last batch of bland chili had beer, fire roasted tomatoes, oregano, a very large onion, five cloves of garlic, tomato paste, cayenne, salt, cumin and the chili powder. Thanks for some of the additional suggestions...I love adobo and that's a great idea. I will also buy new chili powder and add more next time!

              1. re: katiepie

                Definitely buy new chili powder, but also consider adding some rehydrated and pureed dry chiles into the mix. I use a mixture of guajillo, ancho, pasilla, de arbol and sometimes cascabels. A good dose of chipotles in adobo helps too!