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My chili is lacking in something. Not sure why. - Page 2

post #21 of 60
I add dark chocolate chips to mine! It gives it sort of a molé flavor. Adds a lot of depth.
post #22 of 60
Mine is pretty much like yours, but I add paprika. I've never added chilli powder. I have this thing against premixed spice combos lol.
post #23 of 60
Do you add salt? I see the others noted that. When I started cooking, I was unaware of the importance of salt, I'd been so ingrained with the anti-salt propaganda (right or wrong).

When I started using it, wow.

I don't use chili powder at all. I only use single spices. A few cloves and cinnamon wouldn't hurt but they're not going to give it that TASTE that salt will.
post #24 of 60
Thread Starter 
I've been avoiding premixed chili powder, because it almost always has an additive to prevent it from caking. I have ulcerative colitis, and I have unpredictable reactions sometimes to these little "inert" ingredients. I was thinking that my hot peppers would substitute for it. They're either fresh, or home-dried, depending on the season. But I'll try and see if I can find one that I can tolerate.

I like the worcestershire suggestion--- what's in there is some sweetener, and vinegar. I think those might be the missing pieces. I'm gonna try that. I won't do worcestershire-- I'm pretty sure that has additives-- but I can do some brown sugar and some vinegar.

I can't do cinnamon-- DD2 has an allergic reaction to it.

I do add salt-- I forgot to list that.

I do brown the meat well, but I haven't paid much attention to carmelization of the veg--- I'm going to try that. I think that might deal with the need for sweetener, so I can just add vinegar.

Do you think the type of fat makes a difference? My meat is grass-fed, so it's fairly lean. I've been using either olive oil, or palm oil.

Thank you for all the suggestions. So many things to try!
post #25 of 60
Try that oregano. Two teaspoons of dried oregano. And beef broth, not water. Or a bottle of beer and enough broth to cover.

I've been using the same recipe from Food & Wine magazine for 13 years now.

Many brands of chili powder do not have anti-caking additives. I'd shop around.

Or, here's Alton Brown's recipe:

Alton Brown's Chili Powder

Even better, here's what Rick Bayless says:

Quote:
If you mean 'chili powder' as in powder for making a big pot of chili, then I'll tell you that for every 1/4 cup of pure powdered chile (try a combination of ancho, New Mexico (or the spicier guajillo) and a little chipotle) add 4 teaspoons salt, 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons crushed dried Mexican oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. You can certainly play around with the herbs and spices to suit your own taste, but if you want mixture that carries the right amount of salt, use the "1/4 cup ground chile to 4 teaspoons salt" ratio. The sugar adds a nice balance to the natural bitterness in the ground chile. Without the cumin, I use this mixture as the dry rub on steaks and ribs, and to add to barbeque sauce.
He also says if he's going to use it within a few weeks, he'll mince 2 cloves of garlic (he's not a fan of dried garlic), mix them in and store the mixture in the refrigerator.
post #26 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Llyra View Post
I've been avoiding premixed chili powder, because it almost always has an additive to prevent it from caking. I have ulcerative colitis, and I have unpredictable reactions sometimes to these little "inert" ingredients. I was thinking that my hot peppers would substitute for it. They're either fresh, or home-dried, depending on the season. But I'll try and see if I can find one that I can tolerate.
You can actually use just dried peppers for flavor if you have enough of them. Like this recipe for Texas Red: http://www.g6csy.net/chile/recipes/T...0Carne%202.txt It makes really great chili with not much more than meat and peppers (plus a little cumin and oregano)! I make this kind when I have enough time to deal with the dried chilis - I don't bother peeling them like the recipe says though.
post #27 of 60
I like to add worchestershire sauce. Gives it a good depth of flavor.
post #28 of 60
Agreed to sauteeing the onions, garlic, and fresh peppers in some kind of fat! I also add the spices to the cooking meat and veggies before I add the tomatoes. It brings out the flavor.

I put lots of fresh ground black pepper as well in my chili.
post #29 of 60
I agree: you are missing chili powder. Not the pre-mixed spice blend, but ground chiles. I use ground ancho chili powder.

I use:
chili powder (several Tbsp)
mild paprika (1 Tbsp)
cayanne (1 tsp)
cumin (4 tsp)
garlic (1 Tbsp
oregano (1 Tbsp)

I also saute the onions in fat, browning them just slightly. If the chili needs a bit of perking up at the end I add just a bit of wine vinegar.
post #30 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
For those who are saying that she doesn't have chili powder in it, these 4 ingredients are the main components of chili powder. I think too many people think that chili powder is a spice, when as a pp mentioned, it's actually a blend of spices.

I disagree that cayenne is all heat and no flavor, but you might try a powder from a different chile, such as ancho or anaheim. We really taste the flavor of cayenne in our dishes, but that could be a personal thing. A milder chile powder might be a good idea.
The main component in every chili powder I've ever gotten is chiles. I don't get the spicy kind. Yes, it has the other spices listed also usually, but without the dried chiles, you're not going to have that smokey flavor. You can buy dried chiles, roast them and grind them yourself. You'll just have to experiment to find how much to add. I'd go for the big red/black dry ones myself (there are several varieties and they're called different things in different areas). Each one has it's own flavor.

As for the cayenne - my entire pot of chili only gets 1/4 tsp of cayenne (to 2 lbs of meat). Because otherwise all the sour cream/cheese in the fridge isn't going to mitigate the burn. Any flavor it adds is nominal.

And for worcestershire sauce - I'd try some molasses, vinegar and anchovies if you can do those. That's actually the "secret" ingredient in worcestershire sauce.

These are the spices in my chili:
1 tablespoon Chili Powder
1 tablespoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon Tarragon
2 teaspoons Oregano
2 teaspoons Basil
½ teaspoon Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Cocoa
1 4 oz can Green Chiles,Chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
½ teaspoon White Pepper
½ teaspoon Chipotle Powder
¼ teaspoon Cayenne

As for grass-fed beef, that's what I use. I start off the onions/garlic with a couple Tbs of CO and go from there and haven't really noticed a need for more fat.
post #31 of 60
I do...

1/2 ground beef 1/2 ground turkey
A lot of beans, I like using kidney, white and red beans to add color (or black..I usually use 3 kinds of beans)
2-3 Bell peppers, if different colors are on sale I like red, yellow or orange ones
4 or so Jalapenos, seeded (or I use fresnos, serranos, or poblanoes I love chilis )
1 big onion
Beef broth
Tomatoes
Tomato sauce
Chili powder
Cumin
Paprika (smoked)
garlic
Pepper
oregano
cayenne
salt
post #32 of 60
I would say that chili powder, black pepper, and salt would be all you need to give those ingredients depth. Also, are you seasoning the meat while browning/ cooking it? I always heavily season ground beef (or turkey) before using it in a dish, otherwise it can cause whatever it's in to be a bit bland.

But really, regardless of whether or not you have fresh chilies in your chili, I think that a nice fine powder is necessary to evenly disperse the flavor among all the elements of your chili. Also, as other people mentioned, salt really brings out all the flavors and makes the whole thing *pop*, IMO.

I've made "flat" tasting chili before too. In every case I either: didn't put enough chili powder, didn't put enough salt, or forgot to use tomato paste in addition to my diced tomatoes. Anyway, I hope you're able to figure out what it is your missing! It's so frustrating to make a meal and not have it turn out the way you're expecting.
post #33 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by cristeen View Post
The main component in every chili powder I've ever gotten is chiles. I don't get the spicy kind. Yes, it has the other spices listed also usually, but without the dried chiles, you're not going to have that smokey flavor. You can buy dried chiles, roast them and grind them yourself. You'll just have to experiment to find how much to add. I'd go for the big red/black dry ones myself (there are several varieties and they're called different things in different areas). Each one has it's own flavor.

As for the cayenne - my entire pot of chili only gets 1/4 tsp of cayenne (to 2 lbs of meat). Because otherwise all the sour cream/cheese in the fridge isn't going to mitigate the burn. Any flavor it adds is nominal.
Yes, what I was saying is the cayenne is a chile, and the powder of it is no different than say, ancho chile powder. It's just the most common chile powder on the shelf, also known as "red pepper" and what the red pepper flakes come from usually, but it can be too hot for some. We actually really like the flavor of it, but we eat a LOT of really spicy food and like the heat. It's just a difference of opinion because I don't think cayenne adds just nominal flavor. In fact, it's the main component in my berebere that I make for Dorowat and it really shines in that dish!

I think you've hit the nail on the head, though, about finding your own dry chiles that are your favorite and making the chile powder yourself... then making chili powder yourself. To me, paprika is more for color than flavor unless you use smoked paprika. Now THAT is a good addition to chili (soup or powder).
post #34 of 60
I just wanted to add that, although I make my own now, for a while I REALLY liked the hot chili powder from Penzey's. This gives a really good flavor to chili soup (if you like it on the spicy side).
post #35 of 60
I agree you need ground chili powder. The two I use are ground New Mexico chilis and also ancho chili powder. They don't have a lot of heat, but they give chili the flavor of, well, chili. I also add cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and the other ingredients you mentioned. Sometimes I like to add a little lime juice and sweet potatoes, for a caribbean take on chili.
post #36 of 60
I haven't read all the replies, sorry if this is a repeat: But I just made a really good pot of chili yesterday and what worked as a great thickener is cornemal Masa flour-mix a little with water to make a slurry paste (about a quarter of a cup for a big pot) and it thickened it great. Didn't effect the flavor, either.
post #37 of 60
Also make sure you have enough cumin in it. Cumin is a large component to the smell of chili, which affects the taste.
post #38 of 60
Dried chili or chipotle and a bit of cocoa! yum. I find mine isn't as good unless it simmers at least a couple of hours for everything to blend. I also layer the spices - put some in the sauteeing veggies, some in the meat as it cooks, and then more in the pot when it's all mixed together. I also really like mushrooms in mine.
post #39 of 60
I use an a**load of paprika as I tend not to make it hot because of the kiddo (we add heat later). The depth of the paprika seems to be good. If it's just for adults, then I would do chilli powder and paprika along with the other spices you mentioned. A tiny bit of cinnamon too.
post #40 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by redvlagrl View Post
I use an a**load of paprika as I tend not to make it hot because of the kiddo (we add heat later). The depth of the paprika seems to be good. If it's just for adults, then I would do chilli powder and paprika along with the other spices you mentioned. A tiny bit of cinnamon too.
I can't do cinnamon. DD2 is allergic to it.
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