The One Ingredient I Use for Better, Tastier Last-Minute Chili

published Mar 16, 2018
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

There are two types of chilis in my book: the ones that gently simmer for hours either on the back of the stove or all day long in the slow cooker, slowly building layer upon layer of rich, spiced flavor, and the ones you turn out on weeknights, using a single pot and about 30 minutes on the clock. A rich, full-flavored pot of chili sounds like a tall order without a lengthy cook time, but I assure you it’s not. Here’s the trick I use to make it happen every time.

Fresh Chorizo Is My Secret Weapon for a More Flavorful Pot of Chili

To impart of the maximum amount of flavor in the shortest amount of time, I start my chili with fresh crumbled Mexican chorizo. Packed in a casing, chorizo resembles bright-red sausage links. It’s made from ground pork mixed with chiles and vinegar, which also gives the meat its signature flavor and coloring. Between the extra fat from the pork, the heat from the chiles, and the subtle tang, this meat is a strong start to any chili, and has a more robust flavor than other ground meats.

Adding Fresh Chorizo to Any Chili

There is a place for fresh chorizo in just about any chili recipe, either on its own or alongside other meats or beans. To add it to any recipe, swap an equal amount of fresh chorizo for the meat list in the ingredient list of a recipe, either for the full or partial amount.

When possible, I pick up Mexican chorizo without the casing; otherwise I remove the casing before getting started. Start by searing and browning the chorizo in your Dutch oven, then follow whatever recipe you’re using, as directed. You end up with a deeply seasoned pot of chili — all from this one ingredient upgrade.

Try it here: Chorizo Chicken Chili