Chili Three Ways

Brooke Newberry
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The religiosity of chili inspires controversy, cook-offs and competition. Nourishing, warm, spiced and homey, the one pot wonder is the perfect set-and-forget potluck dish. Everyone has their secrets: some like it as hot as Hades, others are all about the garnishes, and some will contest the “bean or no bean” ’til the end of time. Perhaps the biggest debate is Texas chili vs. Cincinnati chili. Texas takes a hearty, meaty, no-fuss approach (no beans or tomatoes in sight), while Cincinnati chili caters to the indecisive and plays up options of user-friendly add-ins. With football season in full swing, let chili do the entertaining. Pick a chili, any chili:

The Many Faces of Cincinnati (AKA Skyline) Chili:

Cincinnati chili could actually host a four-way chili article all by itself. This warmly spiced, beef, bean and tomato-based chili is served over spaghetti (two-way), with cheese (three-way), with diced onions (four-way), or with kidney beans (five-way). Cocoa powder and cinnamon are also part of this American classic’s flavor arsenal. Here is Saveur’s recipe for the regional staple.

Chocolate in Chili:

Esteemed Parisian pastry chef David Lebovitz offers up his recipe for a beefy, bean-laden chili nuanced with none other than dark chocolate. Just like its purpose in a mole sauce, chocolate gives chili a deeper, more complex flavor. Add dark, unsweetened chocolate to any rich, meaty chili base to kick up complexity.

Lebovitz’s method is also a bit elaborate and involves soaking dried beans overnight and salt-marinating beef. We recommend adjusting intensity of the heat to your liking and serving it with cornbread or crème fraiche. 

Sweet Potato in Chili:

In the gamut of bean-dominated vegetarian chili recipes, this recipe uses sweet potatoes, black beans and beer as its starchy base and favors the light side of the chili spectrum. This recipe’s garnishes balance the heat and showcase the brightness of its flavor profile.  

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