Whether you're making real Texas-style chile con carne (no beans please!), a quick weeknight ground beef and canned bean chili, or even a vegan or vegetarian version, the best thing you can do to up your chili game is to leave those jars of pre-ground chili powder on the shelf. Starting your chili with honest to goodness real whole dried chilies will save you money while adding layer upon layer of complex flavor that you never thought was possible. Here's how to do it.
'Chile' on Serious Eats
Whether you're making real Texas-style chile con carne, a quick weeknight ground beef and canned bean chili, or even a vegan or vegetarian version, the best thing you can do to up your chili game is to leave those jars of pre-ground chili powder on the shelf. Starting your chili with honest to goodness real whole dried chilies will save you money while adding layer upon layer of complex flavor that you never thought was possible.
Crying Tiger Lamb from Katie Chin's new cookbook, Everyday Thai Cooking, is named for its ability to make even a tiger weep. It's not only fiery, but it's also got a strong hand with salty fish sauce, sour lime juice, and grassy cilantro. In other words: it's seriously awesome, and a true gift to lamb lovers.
We're taking the intensely rich, smoky, and hot chile sauce from a Southwestern chile verde, the comforting bean stew of white chicken chili, and adding to it my own personal touch: a perfectly braised piece of chicken; deep flavors, crisp skin, and all. If you're into heat, beans, and chicken, this is about as comforting a dish as you can hope for when the hot summer days start to slowly transition into cool fall evenings.
Chicken legs are browned and braised in a stew of green chiles and white beans. The key to a richly flavorful green chili is to peel the chilies and use their charred skins in the sauce base.
I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of great chicken tacos I've had in my life, and I'd still have one finger left to point accusingly at all the people who've served me dry, bland, flavorless meat in tortillas past. See, chicken tacos don't have to be dry. Just ask the lady who serves up the incredibly juicy chicken tacos at the El Gallo Giro truck in San Francisco's Mission district, or the slow-roasted pick-it-yourself affair from the Los Potosinos truck in Columbus, OH. Here's how I make mine.
Classic creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese get more interesting with tender poached chicken, green chiles, salsa verde, and fresh cilantro.
While Texas-style Chile con carne—that is, real chili with big hunks of tender beef simmered in a tomato-and-bean-free sauce—may be the pope of Chili Town, carne adovada—its New Mexican pork-based cousin—is his right hand man. I've never understood why carne adovada doesn't get as much recognition.
The chance to visit Chile—a long, narrow, and exquisitely beautiful country full of mountains, valleys, beaches, and amazingly warm people—was not one that I could pass up. And since I was visiting my sister, a temporary Chilean resident and a permanent Serious Eater, a lot of my trip was spent eating.
An English pub snack is re-imagined with Mexican ingredients: Devils on Horseback become Diablos a Caballo. A great snack for Halloween, or Dia de Los Muertos, or anytime a boozy beverage is in hand.
Trader Joe's has taken advantage of good deals in Chilean wine by releasing their own brand of Trader Joes Viñas Chilenas wines—a line of bottles that are $4 a pop. We tried 4 bottles in the lineup against competing brand Santa Rita 120.
A fat patty of grilled beef draped with a melty, oozy slice of pepper jack cheese, topped with roasted green chilis, and a handful of pickled jalapeños, served on a hearty bun with a generous swipe of chipotle mayonnaise. This is the burger that bites back.
The wine industry in Chile is far from new—Spanish explorers brought grapevines to the country as early as 1523, and wine has been made there for centuries. Here are my snapshots of harvest season in Chile, from 135-year old cellars to new coastal plantings.
Sriracha's lovely. Harissa is a fiery punch in the mouth with flavor to match. But if you're looking for a sweeter, funkier flavor from your chiles, gochujang (pronounced go-choo-jong) is the thing for you.
A common complaint I hear from spice newbies is that their palates just can't take hot dishes. And while I'm not one of those people who eats spicy food just for the sake of it, some of the world's best cuisines employ heat as an essential part of their flavor profile. So what's a globally-minded spice wimp to do?
If you don't have mezcal on hand, you can still make this spicy and delicious hot chocolate—try using aged rum or tequila.
This drink, from the recently opened New York bar The Tippler, was inspired by Rocket Pops from the ice cream trucks of childhood. Tippling Bros. co-founder Tad Carducci says the challenge was getting the cocktail to taste "something like an actual Rocket Pop, but with sophisticated, complex flavors as well." By layering a refreshing blend of gin, blue curacao, and lemon over a spicy homemade chile-hibiscus syrup, Carducci created a cocktail with great depth of flavor—and a bit of a sense of humor.
Green chiles, french fried onions and ground red pepper give this luscious corn casserole a little kick...but don't worry - the cheesy sauce controls the heat and leaves you with nothing but great flavor.