Chili is a fabulous one pot meal – and one of the most popular. Everyone has their own take on this dish, but if you're looking for some inspiration, here are some of the most popular regional variants, as well as some essential tips to keep in mind before you start cooking.
Chili, obviously, is named after the spicy peppers that give the dish its trademark heat. Mix-up your chilies. Using just one kind of pepper will make the dish taste one-dimensional. Combining jalapeno, Serrano, and other peppers in moderation will vastly improve the dish.
Meat is the core of a chili dish, and many regional styles such as Texas chili don’t use beans at all in the preparation of the meal. Before you add your meat to the pot, brown it in a pan first. That will help release essential flavors and keep the meat from getting too mushy. I prefer using roughly-cut strips of steak, but ground beef works fine. Ground turkey or chicken is good for a more heart-healthy dish.
That said, vegetarian chili is also increasingly popular. Rely on a variety of beans and sauteed vegetables like onions and mushrooms to create a hearty meal without the use of meat.
Always use fresh vegetables and good quality meats. Chili was originally invented as a way to disguise the flavors of substandard ingredients, but in the modern world there’s no reason to eat bad food. The better the ingredients, the better your pot of chili will be!
Taste the pot frequently as you’re cooking to adjust the consistency and spice blend. Keep in mind that heat will develop slowly as you cook it, so don’t add more peppers unless you’re sure that it’s not hot enough.