How to Make the Best Chili

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Few dishes are more comforting—or more versatile—than chili. Over the years, we've created chili recipes for every taste, including beef chili, chicken chili, turkey chili, and vegetarian chili. Here we share with you what we've learned—and what you'll need to know—in order to prepare one of our flavorful, filling chili recipes.

Making Chili

1. DRAIN BEANS

1. DRAIN BEANS

Drain canned beans (or presoaked dried beans) in a colander and rinse to wash away any traces of the packing liquid.

WHY? Packing liquid can taste metallic and will detract from the chili’s robust flavor.

 

2. BROWN MEAT

2. BROWN MEAT

Heat oil (or other fat) in Dutch oven and brown the meat in two batches, if necessary. Break up meat with wooden spoon and cook until no longer pink. Transfer to bowl (or leave in pot, depending on recipe).

WHY? Browning adds flavor.

 

3. COOK AROMATICS

3. COOK AROMATICS

Use the same pan to sauté the aromatics and spices until vegetables are softened. Add tomato paste (if using) and garlic and cook until deep red and aromatic.

WHY? To build a savory base, and to prevent the tomato paste and garlic from burning.

 

4. ADD LIQUID

4. ADD LIQUID

Add broth (or other cooking liquid), tomatoes (with their juice), beans, and meat (if reserved earlier), and bring to a simmer. Cover.

WHY? Simmering cooks the meat and beans gently, which prevents the meat from getting tough and the beans from blowing out.

 

Controlling Chile Pepper Heat

To tame the heat in a chile pepper, you’ll need to do a little trimming.

Most of the heat in a chile pepper resides in the ribs and seeds. To temper that heat, just cut it open, pull out and discard the core and seeds, and cut away and discard the ribs. For maximum burn, leave the seeds and ribs intact. When working with hot peppers, it's a good idea to wear rubber gloves and to wash your knife and cutting board as soon as you're done.

TAMING THE HEAT

TAMING THE HEAT

Cut off the top of the chile, discard the core and seeds, and cut a slit down the side. Open the chile and press it flat on a cutting board. Keeping the knife parallel to the cutting surface, gently trim off the white ribs.

Hollywood-Style Chili
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