Chili… that wonderful idea of beans, meat, tomatoes and spices that should taste warm and wonderful and delicious on a cold winters day.
Why is it, then, that every time I try a new Chili recipe, it just ends up tasting like bland beans, blah meat and mediocre tomatoes?
So, I did a little research.
Technique can play a big role in building flavors….like sauteing bacon at the beginning and then using the fat to then saute the veg… as well as browning stew meat instead of ground meat to provide greater texture and flavor overall.
Building flavors is SO important if you want a chili with more than just heat. I use carrots and sweet potatoes to build a sweet flavor profile to help balance the smoky, beefy and spicy elements.
You’ll notice I don’t use “chili powder” in my chili – it was the first thing my husband commented on. Chili powder is simply a blend of herbs and spices, most commonly combining cumin, chili pepper and paprika, all of which I use individually. Many also contain oregano, garlic powder, celery salt and/or onion powder – I prefer to use the real thing.
Many chili’s often taste bland to me, not because of a lack of heat, but rather it “seems to be missing something”….umami is what I have been missing… That leads us to my “Flavor Bomb Paste”…omg, this stuff is awesome! Inspired by Kenji’s recipe on Serious Eats (as well as others) … it makes ALL the difference.
(Don’t forget chili is always better the next day)
The end result is a deep, dark, complex chili that is truly satisfying.