I occasionally test recipes for Cook’s Illustrated (which is really fun, btw…you can sign up on their web site), and the most recent recipe was for their Ultimate Chili. While I still like my own chili recipe better, there was a technique in their’s that I am completely enamored with! Rather than add a myriad of yummy chile powders, which is what I’ve normally done, this recipe had the following brilliant idea:
- Toast dried chiles (in this case 6 seeded ancho chiles) in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and darker colored
- Place in a food processor bowl along with 3 Tbsp cornmeal, 4-6 chiles de arbol (seeded), 2 tsp dried oregano, 2 tsp ground cumin, 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp salt and process until finely ground (about 2 minutes).
- With processor running, slowly add 1/2 cup chicken broth and process about 45 seconds until a thick paste forms.
Add this to your chili after sautéing onions and garlic, cook for a minute, then add whatever other ingredients you typically put in there. I tell you, this paste is awesome! Gives the chili a real depth of flavor and the actual chile flavors are just gorgeous.
Thanks to Cook’s Illustrated for this inspirational idea….bon appetit!