It doesn't matter whether you're tailgating on the fly or preparing meals days in advance, because when the temperature drops outside, a hot bowl of chili is one of the most comforting dishes you can eat. Serve this with warm bread, a crisp salad, and something cool to drink. Before you begin, familiarize yourself with some popular peppers by checking out our visual guide to peppers.
Soak It Up
If you plan to use dried beans for your chili, there are two ways to rehydrate them. The easiest is to soak the beans in room-temperature water overnight or for approximately eight hours. Be sure that the beans are completely covered by at least three to four inches of water. For the quick-soak method, boil the dried beans in a pot of water (again, three to four inches of water on top of the beans) for a few minutes and then let them soak for about two hours off the flame.
Smoke It Up
To add a smoky flavor to vegetarian chili, char the outside of the vegetables before adding them to the recipe.
Sweeten It Up
If your chili tastes bitter, add a little dark brown sugar to the mix.
Top It Off
When serving, set out bowls of toppings such as sour cream, shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese, diced avocado, lime wedges, chopped red or green onion, chopped cilantro, and oyster crackers.
If the chili's heat is too much to take, counter the chile pepper's capsaicin with casein, a protein found in dairy products like milk and yogurt. Another option is to eat bread or rice to help quell the fiery sensation.
Flavorful and Hearty
On the Side
Esther Sung first joined Epicurious.com in 2006. Prior to this, she spent several years in book publishing, including at Harper Entertainment, where the proverbial three-martini lunch was sadly nowhere to be found. When not in the office, she moonlights at the Bottle Shoppe in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and through this she has developed a fondness for Syrah and Malbec. A quasi-vegetarian, she admits to having relished eating yuk hwe, a Korean raw beef dish.
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