Chili is personal, and you have your favorite recipe. I respect that. I’m not here to argue with your one true chili love.
But I would bet that there are some ways that you could make your tried-and-true recipe even better. I’m just talking about little things to add extra flavor here or give some richness there—small tweaks that, when tallied up, amount to a more fantastic chili.
Some will think cinnamon in chili is an abomination. And I like cinnamon. In ice cream. On apples. In chewing gum. But in chili? It’s worth an experiment – cinnamon can do some interesting things in more savory dishes.
Chili was originally a peasant dish. It was almost always vegetarian because meat is expensive. Beans are a wonderful cheap source of protein. That said wonderful chili can be made, sans beans.
Whatever way you make it, for those times when your chili comes out a bit runny—more like soup than a hearty stew…
The Potato Masher
Unlike some quirky cooking utensils, every kitchen is bound to have a potato masher. And this does not add any ingredients! Just mash a little so that the ingredients break down, releasing their natural starches will help thicken the excess liquid.
Masa, Cornmeal, or even Polenta
Add a little water to a couple of tablespoons of masa flour, stir it in at the end of cooking. As mentioned, cornmeal or polenta would be good substitutes.
Tortilla or Tortilla Chips
It’s common to use these to thicken soups. Tear or break into small pieces before stirring in.
It’s fairly obvious that tomatoes and balsamic vinegar are in a serious relationship. (Rumors have it that they eloped last year, but it has yet to be confirmed.) When used together, you get that signature tangy, sweet, salty thing that somehow totally transforms your dish. What a pair!
You’re probably aware that these lovebirds are perfect together in a summer caprese salad, but have you tried adding a few healthy dashes of the vinegar to your bowl of tomato-based chili?
It’s good in most anything tomato – bolognese too. Worcester (three times fast!) sauce is another substitute, though many contain anchovies (concern for people with fish allergies) and thus not vegan or no-fish vegetarian.
Pumpkin however is not low in vitamin k – 1 cup/240 grams of pumpkin has 2 mcg of vitamin K (2% Daily Value). The following recipe calls for almost 6 cups of pumpkin (though you can substitute with butternut, Red Kuri, or Golden Hubbard). You can eat it, but share:
You have a robotic cooking machine, and you may not even know it. Dust off your bread machine, or go buy a bread maker from the second hand shop for a few dollars. They can be used for a lot more than just bread. Main courses, desserts, appetizers and drinks can all be made with this versatile, under-utilized machine.
You can use a bread machine for so much more than the obvious stuff: bread or pizza dough. Pretty much anything you need to stir and heat is fair game. My favorite idea is using it for soup (just toss in the ingredients and go), but hit up the site for suggestions on casseroles, sauces, breakfast, and snacks.