February 14, 2020

What's a secret ingredient for chili that most people wouldn't think of?

I just thought of: peanut butter.

I googled my question and found "7 Ingredients You Wouldn’t Think to Put In Your Chili, But Definitely Should," and damned if peanut butter isn't one of the 7 things.

Got to get more creative!

AND: Here's "10 Secret & Bizarre Chili Ingredients—Here's the Best" and, again, peanut butter is one of them.

76 comments:

Will Cate said...

I've used both chocolate and red wine in chili (on different occasions)

MikeR said...

Instant coffee

Limited blogger said...

Tequila. But I guess that is not a secret.

Chuck said...

Molasses.

tim maguire said...

Your second link calls beer a secret ingredient. So they clearly don't know chili.

Temujin said...

PB is like bacon. It makes anything better.

Flat Tire said...

unsweetened cocoa, expresso powder, cinnamon

rhhardin said...

Peanut butter goes with everything. People just don't experiment.

Kid sandwich - peanut butter and mustard.

Anonymous said...

I was invited to an event with Chef Robert Irvine a couple years ago. He made a dish from steak, spam, peanut butter, pure cocoa powder, salt, pepper, and Froot Loops. I volunteered to taste it. It was fantastic. The peanut butter pulled all those flavors together.

Bob Boyd said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathaniel_Bar-Jonah

Scroll down to 'Allegations of Cannibalism' to skip to this guy's secret chili ingredients.

zipity said...

I use smoked paprika, re fried beans, molasses, fire-roasted garlic tomatoes, and Thai fish sauce.

Also use beef or chicken stock instead of water for the liquid.

stevew said...

Only put into chili that which will improve the flavor, that will make you enjoy it more. I've experimented with chocolate, waste of chocolate. Peanut butter sounds like a nasty addition - though I love it on an english muffin. I've added a strong, dry red wine (cab, malbec, zin) and it is very nice. Cinnamon I've not tried. It is definitely one of those spices that can really enhance the flavor without overpowering.

Ann Althouse said...

"... and Froot Loops...."

The 10 ingredients article (linked in the post) has Flamin' Hot Cheetos.

mockturtle said...

I make a lot of chili and always use cumin. And I make it very hot but also add a Tbs. sugar [or Splenda] just as I do to any tomato-ey dish like spaghetti or lasagna sauce. It definitely makes it richer. Have never tried peanut butter but wouldn't rule it out. BTW, everyone loves my chili.

Karen of Texas said...

Cinnamon and cardamom are the bomb.

Hagar said...

First, you all need to learn to spell chile.
Second, become aware that chile does not automatically mean chile con carne.

Nonapod said...

The only unusual thing I add to my chile is brown sugar.

Unknown said...

I suppose peanut butter adds umami.

But I seem to recall there was a restaurant (in Providence?) that sold chili with a mystery ingredient (peanut butter) and someone died. This was perhaps 30 years ago.

Karen of Texas said...

I also put cinnamon and cardamom in my hot cocoa. Dash in some black pepper(or cayenne), turmeric, clove, and sea salt. Use cacao, sweeten with stevia, drop in some collagen peptides, mct powder, and use coconut milk powder if dairy messes you up.

Cacao Bliss sells for 70 bucks a pop. Mine is just as tasty.

Paul Snively said...

I immediately thought both "coffee" and "bourbon," and also immediately thought "they'll be on the list if the list is worth a tinker's damn," and sure enough, they are.

Howard said...

The key to great chile is homemade Chile sauce made with a blend of mild and hot dried Chile's. The second key is fork tender Chuck chunks. Beef stock is a must. Onions garlic Mexican oregano cumin salt pepper. Anything else and your just gilding the lily, which is fine. I've used all that stuff on both lists and more except for the peanut butter. My biggest homemade chile con carne fan is my granddaughter who is allergic to peanut butter I won't be using it unfortunately.

Karen of Texas said...

Fun fact - chocolate can be contaminated with concerning levels of lead and cadmium. Source your chocolate!

etbass said...

My wife makes conventional chili but puts spaghetti in it, which I hate. Sometimes she puts corn in it. Says it's a boring dish otherwise.

When she is out of town, I make it the conventional way but no spaghetti or corn.

Howard said...

I'm really trying to keep my salt intake down and Thai fish sauce has about 1 1/2 grams of sodium per tablespoon serving. As a substitute I buy sardines packed in water without salt. It makes an excellent umami substitute.

Rocketeer said...

Canned peaches.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I don't know about secret ingredients, but I half some damn fine elk chili at Wonderland cafe in Gardiner MT the night before last. The jalapeno cornbread that came with it was wonderful too.

Howard said...

Instead of corn try it with hominy. you can get all the ingredients that you need for dirt cheap at any available Mexican market.

Francisco D said...

I often use either pork or chorizo with ground beef for the base. Different combinations of black, kidney and pinto bean give different flavor. However, technique is most important.

Roast the tomatoes, jalapeño, Anaheim and other peppers and peel the skins. Blend them with sautéed onions, carrots and celery. You will get a LOT of flavor without overpowering heat.

Cook everything in the same pot. If you use various powders (cumin, garlic, chili, etc) toast them to bring the flavors out.

If the chili is too hot for your liking, put some lime juice in it.


Anonymous said...

Hagar, never be pedantic about chili when there's Texans in the room; we'll drag you down to our level and beat you with experience. God forgive you if you start us talking about beans. But since you started it, there's a difference between chili (a bowl of red) and its ingredients, which include chiles. "Learn the difference", as somebody said recently.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

etbass said...

My wife makes conventional chili but puts spaghetti in it, which I hate. Sometimes she puts corn in it. Says it's a boring dish otherwise.

That's how they do it in Cincinnati.

Francisco D said...

I forgot about quinoa.

A handful lightens the heaviness of the beef and compliments the spices.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Mrs. NorthOfTheOneOhOne uses instant espresso and cocoa powder. She also uses cinnamon, which I don't particularly like as it gives the chili an overall sweet taste.

PMH62 said...

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a bowl of chile is a carryover from my childhood. My wife, for one, has questioned the combination. Maybe it's not so odd.

reader said...

I have multiple chili recipes but the one my boys enjoy the most has spicy Italian sausage, honey, and coriander in it.

Triangle Man said...

Marmite

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Beano

...cannabis @ #2

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Ground lamb.

Beasts of England said...

Olive oil.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

etbass said...
My wife makes conventional chili but puts spaghetti in it, which I hate. Sometimes she puts corn in it. Says it's a boring dish otherwise."

That is just so wrong.

Smoked paprika is an excellent addition. So is wine.

Jim at said...

Honey and mustard.

Beach Brutus said...

Molasses and sage.

Ambrose said...

There was a tragic case in my hometown about 30 years or so ago where a woman with a peanut allergy died after eating secret ingredient chilli that had peanut butter. It happened before peanut allergies had received so much attention.

Maillard Reactionary said...

Phil @12:28 PM: I'm glad to hear that you had a good experience, but you are a braver man than I.

I suppose (hope) that the Froot Loops break down and that their gaudy colors disappear into the savory red-brownness during cooking. (If I am wrong, you may leave me unenlightened without prejudice to yourself.)

I wonder if Chef has tried it with Lucky Charms.

All of this reminds me that it's been too long since I made chili. My wife probably won't eat it, but that's not necessarily a problem.

Unknown said...

Spicy mustard

Bourbon or Tequila

Cinnamon and cloves (1/4 teaspoon ea)

and the usual stuff

whitney said...

I'm surprised no one's tried miso, I guess I'll be the first

Curious George said...

"Nonapod said...
The only unusual thing I add to my chile is brown sugar."

Me too. I takes the bitterness out when you amp up the heat. A must.

Bilwick said...

But for the love of God don't have Harvey Weinstein to fertilize the chili peppers.

Ken B said...

Cinnamon. But it’s not unknown, it’s characteristic of Cincinnati Chile.

traditionalguy said...

Almond butter so you don't kill the peanut allergy folks?

Hagar said...

Diced pork, javelina, venison, bear meat.
Wonder what it would be like with stockfish and some source of fat?

rsbsail said...

No, no, no, no....no peanut butter.

Chili originated in San Antonio back in the early 1800s. Here is a Texas Monthly article that describes the true chili. And there are no beans.

https://www.texasmonthly.com/food/chili-recipe-no-beans/

Hagar said...

And there is a whole world of green chile out there that you guys never even knew existed.

Hagar said...

I have heard that in Texas they make chile (rojo) con carne with whatever they can find out by the highway.

MAJMike said...

Bakers' chocolate.

Mary Beth said...

I used to eat my chili (no beans) with saltines and peanut butter. Now I just put the peanut butter into the chili. It's not that weird of a combination, think of Thai peanut sauce.

Cincinnati chili is Greek influenced, that's why it has cinnamon, clove, and the like mixed in with the hot spices.

Wince said...

Peanut butter works just as well in a savory dish as it does sweet, and when paired with a hefty dose of spices and flavorful meat, well, the rest is history.

I put my breakfast bacon on peanut butter toast.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Grapes?

I'm not much of a cook.

Anonymous said...

Phidippidus: he ground the froot loops finely, coated the spam with it, and seared it on cast iron at 500. The guy's a complete character.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Ray said...

Jeez people! You describe chile as some kind of "Chopped" cooking contest. It's not out of the four secret ingredients in the basket before you. It is more similar to what Hagar described @3:16. It never tastes the same, because the ingredients are rarely the same, even from the same cook/chile chef -- Real chile, that is. Go to San Antonio at an off beat restaurant, South Texas, out here in far West Texas, New Mexico, northern Mexico. You will not find cinnamon, kale, fish crap or forbid peanut butter in your bowl.

tcrosse said...

Some people are dogmatic about what does and does not belong in chile, just as they can be about pizza or barbecue. It's funny because these are all poor peoples' foods, and primitive artists do what they can with the materials at hand.

mockturtle said...

Well, I added peanut butter to my chili this evening. It added a very tasty je ne sais quoi and it will be a part of my ingredients henceforth.

Laslo Spatula said...

No Soylent Chile comment.

Disappointing.

I am Laslo.

Mark said...

Maybe I'll try peanut butter on my next chili dog.

Should not be surprising that peanut pairs well with spicy food. Kung pao chicken for example. But peanut butter, I find, has a different taste than unground peanuts.

LordSomber said...

On occasion i've used small amounts of cinnamon, dark chocolate, and even a bit of citrus with good but subtle results.

Aromatic bitters also seem to make a nice difference to chili and stews.

The Drill SGT said...

molasses
cinnamon
beer
mustard powder
chocolate

LordSomber said...

Tamari sauce is another, used in small amounts.

dgstock said...

Ginger. Mexican chocolate. And marshmallows.

Michael B. said...

This is my go to recipe, however I don't add basil and I prepare a pot of pinto beans for my wife.....https://www.bakerita.com/paleo-chili/

JAORE said...

Beer for the hops flavor. Hopsecutioner is a long ball hitter.

Next up Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix.

PluralThumb said...

When I think chilli,
I think, lots of cheese !

Peanut butter sauce on pasta with duck.

Love the peanut butter chilli and the bacon and peanut butter. Add a baked potato with butter and sour cream. I'm in !


Unknown said...

I don't know that no one thinks of it but cocoa goes in most of my batches and I make red and green.

Steve Pitment said...

Powdered sugar.

raf said...

I've been using raisins for some time now.

tim in vermont said...

anchovies, kale, maybe seaweed.

Sugar is just cheating.

tim in vermont said...

I see Howard beat me to it.