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Repurpose Today's Meatloaf By Making It Tomorrow's Chili

Chili in a cast iron pot
Chili in a cast iron pot - Rudisill/Getty Images

Meatloaf, although a tasty meal, can also be one of those dinners that tend to hang around, especially if you don't have a lot of people to help you eat it. So, rather than resigning yourself to numerous nights of the same meal, why not repurpose your leftover meatloaf into a hearty bowl of all-American chili?

Although making chili out of leftover meatloaf might sound novel, the two dishes' flavors combine perfectly thanks to the ingredients used in each. For instance, meatloaf typically contains spices such as oregano and basil, which marry well with chili's savory, tomatoey sauce. Speaking of tomatoes, meatloaf often has a ketchup- or a tomato-based spread on top of it to add extra flavor. When you add your leftover meatloaf to a pot of chili, that crust melds with the ingredients in chili and enhances its flavors. Meatloaf top sauces can also contain a touch of brown sugar, which would add a slight sweetness that can balance out some of the chili's saltier notes.

Using your leftover meatloaf to make a pot of chili is about as straightforward as it seems. However, there are a couple of things to know as you go.

Read more: 15 Tips For Making The Best Meatloaf

Steps And Tricks For Turning Meatloaf Into Chili

A slab of leftover meatloaf
A slab of leftover meatloaf - Haha21/Getty Images

You can use any kind of meatloaf in chili, whether you made a classic ground beef meatloaf, a turkey meatloaf, or used a different protein altogether. To make chili out of leftover meatloaf, first crumble up the meatloaf. If you have enough leftover meatloaf, these chunks will replace any meat or ground beef used in a from-scratch chili recipe. You may want to finely crumble the meatloaf if you don't want chunks that might be too large to heat all the way through.

You can cook meatloaf chili on the stovetop or in a slow cooker, just as you would any type of chili. Once you've crumbled the meatloaf into your chili pot, add the rest of your ingredients. Stick with just tomatoes, onions, and green peppers for a meaty, bean-free chili. Or, add silky pinto beans for their mild flavor, which can balance the more pungent spices used in chilis with a kick. Kidney beans, on the other hand, can add a touch of sweetness that works well with the slightly sweet tomato topping on many a meatloaf. Black beans have a firm texture that won't break down easily as your chili simmers, as do cannellini beans and garbanzos, also known as chickpeas.

How To Make Your Meatloaf Chili Spicy, Chunky Or Even Boozy

Bowl of chili with cheese and scallions
Bowl of chili with cheese and scallions - Dny59/Getty Images

When making chili with leftover meatloaf, think about the spices you add. A traditional ground beef meatloaf typically isn't very spicy, so if you want your chili to have some fire, you'll need to set it yourself. A handful of chopped jalapeños or a generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes could turn up the heat; as would a few dashes of hot sauce or a solid shake of cayenne pepper powder.

You could also add vegetables to your leftover meatloaf chili. Chopped bell peppers can add color, crunch, and light grassy notes. Corn, whether fresh, canned, or frozen, will bring a bright punch of sweetness and vibrancy to deep, dark chilis; roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes can play up the chili's deeper flavors.

Several ingredients can take your chili up a notch besides vegetables. A can of beer will give chili an unexpected complexity. Any kind of beer will work, but a dark beer or stout will provide an unparalleled depth. You could also stir in a bit of molasses or brown sugar, which can help sweeten your meatloaf chili, and gently balance the acidity of the tomatoes.

The next time you make more meatloaf than you can eat without getting burned out, don't just suffer through another meatloaf sandwich. Use that leftover meatloaf to make a super easy, super tasty pot of chili, and you might never again reach for white bread and mayo.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.