When the wind is whipping and sidewalks are frozen, the best way to warm up is with a warm bowl of chili.
Chili is an inexpensive dish that quells your hunger and satisfies your every taste bud. Guaranteed to warm you up, chili is also easy to make and flexible on ingredients. At its most basic, chili is a meat stew cooked with chile peppers, often using canned tomatoes as the liquid base. Take this idea and make it better by topping your chili with some diced onions, sour cream, or cheese. Make it vegetarian by substituting extra beans for the meat. Make vegan chili and top it with mashed avocado instead of sour cream.
Chili powder is a combination of ground-up dried chiles and spices. Store-bought chili powders add lots of flavor to your stew, but you can also make your own. Chipotle peppers add smoky flavor and mild heat. Ancho chiles and dried poblano peppers are mild peppers that add lots of flavor. Going up the heat scale, there are jalapeños, habaneros, ghost chiles, or pure capsaicin.
Each region has a specific variety of a stew that they call chili, and each version claims the title of top recipe. Midwesterners have Cincinnati-style, a sauce-like chili flavored with cinnamon and other spices, often served over spaghetti (making it a "two-way"). Texas chili, also known as a bowl of red or chile con carne, is made of up meat and chile peppers and doesn’t include any beans. Kansas chili is a ground-meat sauce made with chile peppers that can top everything from home fries to burgers.
Start a new tradition of chili cook-offs and try out these delicious chili recipes to warm you up on even the chilliest of days throughout the winter.
Anytime Turkey Chili
Use leftover cooked turkey or store-bought rotisserie chicken to make this quick-cooking chili. Click here to see the recipe.
This meat-sauce-like chili is served over spaghetti for a "two-way." Add shredded Cheddar cheese for a three-way, cheese and onions for a four-way, cheese and onions and beans for a five-way. Click here to see the recipe.
Julie Ruggirello is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @TDMRecipeEditor.