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Chili Today - Hot Tamale

Chili - a food with a thousand faces.  Aside from the countless meat or meatless varieties, there are a myriad of colors and flavors.  It really is a food group of its own.  I have whole cook books with just chili recipes.  Some have up to 500 varieties.  Wow.

There are a few ingredients that I want to chat about that make the difference in any chili.

First is corn.  Adding corn flour, meal, or chips to your chili not only makes the flavor fuller and more robust, it can tighten up your chili.  It is really the roux of chili.  I use corn chips or taco shells here at the camp.  They crumble nicely and I always have a ton on hand.  When we serve nachos or tacos, I save the remaining corn chips or shells.  I dump them in a big bag and freeze them.  They will stay for a while like this.

Second is garlic.  Always use fresh grated or crushed.  Fresh minced if you must.  Stay away from the powders - always.

Cumin.  Add it in conjunction with your chili powders.  If you make a batch of Mollie Katsen's Veggie Chili you will get a real good idea of how this spice works in chili.  Then use that as a base of understanding for all your meat chilis.  There are other Moosewood recipes that capitalize on this fine spice, too.

This triumvirate will add some stability to any of your favorite chili recipes.  I also feel cilantro is a must for chili, but have been met with a lot of resistance from campers and guests.  This taste has not permeated American Cuisine yet.  But, someday.  Until then, I tend to add it to my own chili after cooking.  For guests, I add it to sour cream for them to use as a garnish.




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