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5 Chili Recipes to Get Creative With

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chili recipes
Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Let's be honest: Chili can be a controversial subject. And that's because some cooks swear by meat, while others believe legumes are the only way to make the dish shine. In some cases, cooks even add their own twists to make chili pop, whether that's a shot of beer, a tablespoon of soy sauce, or a dollop of peanut butter (ps: don't knock it 'till you try it!).

But no matter which way you see it, this cold weather classic is synonymous with experimentation, and National Chili Day(1) (February 24th) is the perfect excuse to get creative with your batch. So, if you're looking for ways to spice up your weeknight meals, these five chili recipes will allow you to experiment with the dish, whether you want to stick to the basics or go the extra mile.

1. Classic Chili

Using both meat and beans, this chili recipe will satisfy everyone you serve it to. It's also very simple to make and calls for bare bones ingredients. This means it's perfect for a weekday when time is scarce, and you need something to hit the spot ASAP. Pair it with some nachos or a grilled cheese sandwich for a complete meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups textured soy protein (TSP) beef bits
  • cup dried onions
  • ½ cup dehydrated kidney beans
  • 2 cans (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried garlic (granulated)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, add the beans and 2 cups of water. Transfer to a pot, fill with water and cook until fork-tender (about 20 minutes). Remove from the water and set aside.
  2. Add the beef bits and 3 cups of water to a bowl and soak for 15 minutes. Remove excess liquid and set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Sautée the onion for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the beef and cook for 6-7 minutes.
  4. Stir in the sugar, cumin, garlic, chili powder, and tomato paste and sautée for a while longer (1-2 minutes).
  5. Add the broth, tomato sauce, and beans to the pot and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and bring the chili to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and serve.

2. Black Bean & Corn Chili

Contrary to popular belief, you don't always need meat to make chili taste good – and this recipe proves just that. Made with black beans, it's just as filling as its meaty counterparts and slightly more crunchy thanks to the corn. For a spicy kick, add a little bit of jalapeno.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, add the beans and 2 cups of water. Transfer to a pot, fill with water and cook until fork-tender (about 20 minutes). Remove from the water and set aside.
  2. Add the corn to a bowl along with 1 cup of warm water and soak for 15 minutes. Once hydrated, squeeze away excess liquid and set aside.
  3. In a pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sautée the mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to low, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.
  4. (Optional Step) To thicken the chili, remove 1 cup of the soup and pulse in a food processor. Transfer back to the pot and stir.

3. Meaty Mushroom Chili

For those days when you feel like indulging (but don't care for all the meat), this easy chili recipe is the way to go. Swapping mushrooms for meat, it's slightly less heavy than most chilis but just as tasty. Plus, it comes together in a slow cooker, which is always a bonus.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, add the beans and 4 cups of water. Transfer to a pot, fill with water and cook until fork-tender (about 20 minutes). Remove from the water and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Sautée the onion for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients to the instant pot (except for the corn) and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
  4. Release the pressure, stir in the corn, and cook for another 3 minutes. Top with grated cheese and serve immediately.

4. Thai-Style Chicken Chili

Inspired by Thai cuisine and its flavors, this chili recipe is on the fancier side. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a shot. In fact, it's super easy to follow and calls for simple ingredients - which means you don't have to stock up on anything exotic (or, to put it simply, expensive).

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Add the beans and chickpeas to a bowl along with 3 cups of water and transfer to a pot and cook until fork-tender (about 20 minutes). Strain and set aside.
  2. Add the chicken to a bowl along with 3 cups of warm water and soak for 15 minutes. Once hydrated, squeeze away excess liquid and set aside.
  3. Add the vegetable oil to a large pot and heat over medium heat. Sautée the chicken for 4-5 minutes or until it's lightly brown. Stir in the onion and sautée for another 3 minutes.
  4. Then, add all the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to low, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Remove from the heat and serve.

5. Beer Chili

Perfect for games days (or simply when you want to switch things up for dinner), this beer chili is a definite crowd-pleaser. While several types of ale can do the trick, we'd encourage you to opt for stout beer as its rich, malty flavor pairs excellent with beef.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Add the beans to a bowl along with 3 cups of water and bring the water to a boil and cook the beans until fork-tender (about 20 minutes). Strain and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, add the beef bits and 4 cups of warm water. Soak for 15 minutes. Once hydrated, squeeze away excess liquid and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sautée the onions for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the cayenne pepper, cumin, and garlic and sautée for one more minute.
  4. Add the beef and cook for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir occasionally so that the meat doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Mix in the tomatoes and beans and bring to a simmer. Stir in the beer and molasses, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the chili thickens. Remove from the heat and serve.

Which of these chili recipes intrigued you the most? Let us know in the comments down below!

References:

  1. https://nationaltoday.com/national-chili-day/
  2. https://www.thewholesomedish.com/the-best-classic-chili/
  3. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/22924/black-bean-chili/
  4. https://recipes.instantpot.com/recipe/black-bean-mushroom-chili/
  5. https://lifemadesimplebakes.com/thai-chili-6/#wprm-recipe-container-32241
  6. https://tasteandsee.com/stout-beer-chili/

 

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