Turn Good Chili Into Great By Using Beef 2 Ways

Bowl of chili with beans
Bowl of chili with beans - Foodio/Shutterstock

All-American chili is a tried-and-true crowd-pleaser for meat lovers in the mood for a warm, satisfying meal. Although there are several ways to make chili, most traditional varieties include ground beef, tomatoes, often beans, and a blend of savory, smokey seasonings. Although you can always add a solid helping of red kidney or pinto beans, if you're looking for a meatier way to upgrade your chili, consider using two different kinds of beef.

Ground beef is the standard choice for making an evenly textured, easy-to-eat pot of chili; a mixture of fattier ground chuck and leaner ground sirloin can help ensure your homemade chili has a superbly balanced flavor. If you want to doctor up this comforting meal even more, add chunks of seared beef. Choose cuts of beef that benefit from a long, slow cook such as chuck roast or stew meat. Select beef with fine lines of fat throughout. The fat eventually melts during cooking, adding more flavor to your chili. Not only will your tastebuds be rewarded with the savory goodness of an extra meaty chili recipe, but the contrasting texture of added beef chunks makes for a new and enjoyable eating experience.

Read more: 14 Liquids To Add To Scrambled Eggs (And What They Do)

For Flavor-Loaded Chili, Use Two Kinds Of Beef

Seared beef in cast iron skillet
Seared beef in cast iron skillet - HeavilyMeditated/Shutterstock

There's more than one reason to make your next batch of chili with stew meat. Not only do tender cubes of beef provide more meaty flavor and texture than ground beef alone does, but the way the thick chunks of beef are incorporated into chili has a huge impact on flavor. The meat should be seared before being slow-cooked in liquid with the rest of the ingredients and seasonings. The reason for this is to reap the benefits of the Maillard reaction.

Scientifically speaking, the Malliard reaction is the browning that occurs when food with both proteins and sugars is cooked over high heat. That browning increases the flavors and aromas, and creates a crust on the outside of the meat. These brown, crusty parts also increase the presence of the "fifth" taste -- that deep, rich, desirable umami.

Whether you're making chili with a whole chuck roast you cubed yourself, or pre-cut stew meat chunks, you can only achieve adequate browning by searing meat that is completely dry, so pat it down with a paper towel first. Also, be cautious about searing time to avoid overcooking. Brown the ground beef at the start of preparation and set it aside -- since ground beef is finely minced and cooks relatively fast, do not add cooked ground beef back to the pot until your chili is almost finished cooking.

Tips For Adding More Flavor And Texture To Meat-Filled Chili

Chili with rice and sour cream
Chili with rice and sour cream - Nina Firsova/Shutterstock

Whether you're making chili con carne or slow-cooker chili, using two kinds of beef is a tasty way to make good chili great. To maximize flavor, cover your meat cubes with spices, and then sear them in oil combined with a bit of butter. Add a salty kick by pan-frying a few strips of bacon and then browning the beef in the leftover bacon drippings. Whichever fat you choose, after searing your meat, deglaze your pot to release any stuck browned bits -- that's where the flavor is.

The type of cooking liquid you use will affect the final flavor of your chili. Many traditional chili recipes call for crushed tomatoes and water, but using beef stock will increase the richness of your chili, or use a bottle or can of your favorite beer to lower the heat and sweeten the finish of a blistering bowl of chili.

Allowing chili to cook over low heat for an extended period is crucial in achieving perfectly tender meat chunks and superb flavor. Keeping your pot's lid slightly ajar allows steam to escape and your chili to cook down to really concentrate the rich umami flavors of this perfect bowl of chili. Although chili made with two kinds of beef has already gone from merely good to absolutely terrific, top your bowl with chopped green onions, crushed tortilla chips, or smooth sour cream before serving for the consummate finish.

Read the original article on Daily Meal