Brrrrr, it's cold out!
When the weather makes your bones cold, you know it's time to get out a big pot (or crockpot) so you can make yourself a big bowl of chili.
I love chili.
And this is coming from a vegetarian!
When it comes to making chili, here are a few tips to consider when making your favorite chili recipe:
-Soak your bean mix (I use Goya 15-bean mix) overnight. Although this step isn't necessary, especially if using a pressure cooker, soaking the beans will decrease overall cooking time (without sacrificing flavor) and will make beans more digestible (reducing gas/bloating).
-To enhance the flavor of chili, sautée onions, mushrooms, peppers and garlic in a skillet before adding to the pot. You can still add raw veggies but this step will really take the flavors up a notch.
-Season early. Although it's hard to know how much herbs and spices to add to give the chili the right flavor (without it being overloaded), you are looking for a rich (not dull) flavor.
-Don't oversalt. The beautiful thing about chili is that it can be extremely tasty without a lot of salt. Too salty and you miss out on all the different flavors from herbs and spices. However, some salt is a necessary component to great chili. Keep in mind that if you are using a stock (instead of water), canned beans or tomatoes or some spices (ex. garlic salt) you are already adding salt added to your recipe.
-Consider making a base chili (vegetarian) with beans and tomatoes and then adding extra ingredients to leftovers. Seeing that if you make a large batch, you may find that by chili meal 4 or 5, you are tired of the same chili recipe. By making a base chili recipe, you then can add different meats, rice, whole grains, veggies or potatoes to your portioned chili bowl base, each day, so your taste buds never get bored.
-Chili is always better the next day. If making chili for a cook-off or event or to impress your taste buds, just remember that your chili will be even more yummy after 12-24 hours in the refrigerator.
-Add enough water/stock but not too much. To avoid soup consistency, you want a thick mix. It's better to not add enough water than to add too much.
-Add a surprise hint of flavor. Karel likes to add a little dark chocolate to chili.
-Don't forget about the toppings. Chives, sour cream, greek yogurt, cheese, crumbled chips, nuts, avocado chunks....there are so many options. As if the chili wasn't flavorful enough, when a new flavor your taste buds first and then you get to yum over your chili, it makes for a yum-yum meal.
There are no shortage of chili recipes in cook books, magazines and on the internet.
So, what are you waiting for?
It's time to start cooking chili!