I am in the middle of making this for editors' pick and as I was putting it together, I realized that there was no chili powder or chiles other t...

...han jalapeños. I'm about 2 hours in and it's really sweet. I've sent a note to the author but she hasn't responded. What should I do, pickle friends?

  • Posted by: drbabs
  • February 10, 2012


dymnyno February 12, 2012
I really think that the red onions are the ingredient that is making the recipe sweet. Most recipes call for yellow onions because of that.
drbabs February 12, 2012
OK, here's my report. Two days later and it was still really sweet. I was able to rescue it a little and I'll put my comments with the recipe. It has great possibility--it just needs to be tweaked a bit. Thanks to all of you for your help.
The C. February 11, 2012
Hi there...
Apologies for the late reply. You're right in that this is not a SUPER HOT chili, but rather a milder one. Nikki has advised that the fresh chilies she used were the very small, really hot ones. After tasting halfway through, she did then add some chilli powder and red chili flakes for more heat. Ideally, this would be done at the beginning with the dry spices.
Chocolate used was the darkest you have ie at least 50-70% cocoa. This is also definitely better the next day!
drbabs February 11, 2012
Thanks so much. My chiles were probably not very hot. I'll have to add chili flakes or powder tomorrow when I heat it up to serve it and will let you know how it turns out.

dymnyno February 11, 2012
I think if the recipes specifies fresh chiles, there is not a dried substitute. The fresh contributes to texture and mouth feel as well as flavor and heat. Get thee to the grocery and get a couple of jalapenas or other small chiles, but not bell peppers.
drbabs February 11, 2012
Thanks, Mary. There are already quite a few jalapenos in there. I'm hoping time will improve the situation.
dymnyno February 11, 2012
The red onions may be making the recipe sweet but, is too late to use yellow onions instead of red onions. I am assuming that the red and yellow peppers are bell peppers? It is amazing how a day will change the taste. A squeeze of lime when serving will add some acid which may mitigate the sweetness of the red onions.
Bevi February 11, 2012
I think cayenne with add some true heat. You can regulate that to your taste.
drbabs February 11, 2012
Thanks, Bevi. I went back to the recipe it was based on (Nigella Lawson's cornbread chili) and she adds red pepper flakes for heat. The chili is chilling (haha) in the refrigerator as we speak, so I'll see how it comes together when I reheat it and add as needed. I think the issue may be one of proportion, but I know that an overnight rest can help the flavors improve as they come together.
drbabs February 11, 2012
I want to thank you all for your help. I continued to follow the recip, let it cool, and will see how it comes together when I heat it up for dinner tonight. I'll let you know what happens!

LeBec F. February 11, 2012
babs, p.s. i also see that she has only 2 tsp cumin for 3 pounds of meat ,and 2-3 ounces of dark chocolate. 2 tsp cumin is very little for that amount of meat.
Maybe as an editor's note you would want to suggest that other cooks attempting this recipe- might want to begin by leaving out the brown sugar and increasing the______, until it has cooked awhile and they have tasted it and decided what to adjust.
LeBec F. February 11, 2012
babs, i'm looking at the ingreds to figure out what made yours taste sweet. I see brown sugar and dark chocolate.It could be that she used a darker 'dark choc' than you did. I also see that she is very vague in her description of green chiles- both variety and size. So you could be comparing your apples to her oranges there as well. She does call for spices that combine to taste like chile powder, so you could add more of them(particularly cumin , paprika and cayenne) to overcome the sweetness, and include that 'needed addition' in your editor's notes.
SKK February 11, 2012
The recipe does call for chilis - not chili powder in the format we are used to in this part of the world. My recommendation is follow the recipe and taste tomorrow. Spices in chilie do need time to blend. The Communal Pantry is an amazing group of people - this may be a match made in heaven.
drbabs February 10, 2012
As the meat kinds of falls apart and it all blends together, it does taste good, but I still think it needs some heat. I'll wait till tomorrow and will let y'all know. Thanks for weighing in!
susan G. February 10, 2012
I have found that the heat of jalapenos can be in the little to none range. Maybe you could sneak in a hotter pepper, even crushed chiles (pizza style) or pickled jalapenos.
Mr_Vittles February 10, 2012
Cumin Powder + Cayenne Powder + Paprika Powder is my go-to when I have no Chili Powder. Leaving out the Cayenne Powder would be okay, but if you can stand it a little will go a long way.
Mr_Vittles February 10, 2012
Oops sorry, I didn't read all of your question. Maybe when its left overnight, the flavors develop into something not as sweet. Have you shredded the meat yet. I think that should reduce the sweetness as well. The addition of sour cream as a condiment may also tamp the sweetness.
drbabs February 10, 2012
Thanks--the meat isn't at the falling-apart stage yet. I think it may be an error in the recipe. I'm hoping the author sees this question or my message soon.
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