Chili was one of the earlier things on my bucket list when I was first learning how to cook. At first I wanted a Texas-style beanless chili recipe for the purpose of being more “authentic”, but then I realised I’m not a Southerner, and I’m not really passionate about keeping Southern recipes authentic. Also I like beans, so I decided “screw it” and just went for a nice beanie chili. So the first chili recipe I tried was Chef John’s beef, bean and beer chili recipe, which was amazing and I highly recommend it to everyone who loves beef, beans and beer, but since then I’ve made plenty of other chili pots without following any recipes in particular. I’ve done vegetarian chilis before too. Later I became friends with a fellow cook who says “Chili is something you make when you want to make room in your pantry and freezer.” and there is quite a bit of truth to that… So now every time I make chili, I use it as an opportunity to get rid non-perishables I don’t want to see anymore. Especially dry beans and spices, and oftentimes frozen vegetables.
What most chili recipes have in common is the spices; a large handful of them appear in many different recipes, and chili all comes down to tasting and adjusting the spices until it’s perfect to your taste. So for this post, I won’t be giving an exact recipe with precise ingredient amounts, but rather I want to teach you how to chili, essentially. I’ll be giving out a bunch of commonly used chili ingredients, all of which are optional, even the beans are optional if you want to go southern-style. However, you do need chili powder, whether it’s ancho, chipotle, or even kashmiri. Most people seem to prefer ancho though, especially for chili pots. You can also make your own chili powder blend. And once you know how to chili, you can go on to creating your own personal chili recipes and sharing them! Or keep it as your secret recipe if it really is that amazing. Whatever you prefer!