Question about questionable item in chili recipe

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ericats
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2005/02/05 21:43:31 (permalink)

Question about questionable item in chili recipe

Lately, I've noticed a disturbing trend: chili recipes that call for sugar (either white or brown.) The first recipe that I saw was in a Bush's Beans ad and it was a recipe by the Sterns! Then, I kept seeing more recipes for chili that call for sugar.

I've never heard of putting sugar in chili. Is is a regional thing? Is this a new trend? Does it taste good? I just can't imagine putting sugar in my chili.
#1

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    prius
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/05 22:01:16 (permalink)
    The addition of small amounts of sugar to a recipe tends to bring out the flavor of the food being cooked. Sugar also reduces the acids from the tomatoes in chili...chocolate also works. Mind not to dump a lot of sugar into chili or anything else.
    #2
    SouthHillbilly
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/05 22:32:24 (permalink)
    My wife always puts a light tsp or so of chocolate powder in her chili. It's one of the few things she makes that is better than mine.
    #3
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/06 03:38:40 (permalink)
    My grandpa always put brown sugar in his chili... I can't make mine without it! I love a slightly sweet chili...
    #4
    ericats
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/06 10:44:48 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Peachpie9

    quote:
    Originally posted by SouthHillbilly

    My wife always puts a light tsp or so of chocolate powder in her chili. It's one of the few things she makes that is better than mine.


    Unsweetened chocolate powder, Hillbilly? Or do you mean sweetened?


    I have heard of putting cocoa powder in chili - isn't that what makes Cinicinnati (sp?) chili different? Cocoa powder is not really sweet and can be slightly bitter.

    My preference is for Texas style chili so I guess that's why I wouldn't want sugar in my chili.

    Thanks for your answers y'all; this has been very informative.

    #5
    Theedge
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/06 10:52:38 (permalink)
    I put a bit of sugar in almost everything I cook with tomatoes. I put it in the meat sauce I made yesterday for lazagna. A Tablespoon of peanut butter is terrific in a big batch of chili.
    #6
    ericats
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/06 10:54:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by pdxyyz

    I always laugh at people questioning recipes.

    I have a friend who shreds a carrot into his chilli, says it cuts down on the gas production.

    Anyway when I heard that I said "YOU don't put carrots in chilli".

    His response "Yes I do".

    His recipe his ingrediants.



    I don't recall seeing carrots in a recipe for beef chili but they are a staple in vegetarian chili recipes and I think that I've seen carrots as an ingredient in chicken/turkey chili.

    I would always put carrots in a bolognese sauce but I guess I would feel that the carrot might interfere with the spicyness of the chili.

    Interesting that the carrot helps with the gas; does you friend put beans in his chili? (I realize that on this board that's a loaded question!)
    #7
    ericats
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/06 11:01:07 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Theedge

    I put a bit of sugar in almost everything I cook with tomatoes. I put it in the meat sauce I made yesterday for lazagna. A Tablespoon of peanut butter is terrific in a big batch of chili.


    I find that canned tomato products usually have too much citric acid in them. Since I find them to be too acidic, I really go out of my way to buy canned tomatoes without citric acid (kach$ng).

    Since my heritage is Italian, I'm always interested in the difference between Italian and Italian-American cooking. It seems that the basic Italian-American tomato sauce has a bit of sugar in it, but in Italy they would never put sugar in their sauce (the tomatoes there are just so damn good!)

    Actually, I have heard of putting peanut butter in chili! What does it add to the chili?
    #8
    UncleVic
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/06 12:57:15 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by pdxyyz

    I always laugh at people questioning recipes.

    I have a friend who shreds a carrot into his chilli, says it cuts down on the gas production.

    Anyway when I heard that I said "YOU don't put carrots in chilli".

    His response "Yes I do".

    His recipe his ingrediants.


    I have a buddy who swears that if you add a potato to either chili or bean soup that it will cut down on gas... (I've heard a potato will reduce the salt levels, but never anything on gas)...
    #9
    Theedge
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/06 13:00:09 (permalink)
    Peanut butter has sugar in it so it cuts the acid of the tomato, I use one or the other, not both. It also adds just a hint of that creamy buttery taste. Growing up Chili was always served with soda crackers, well someone started putting peanut butter on their soda crackers. Soon it just ended up in the chili, can't remember who started that.

    I make insanely hot chili so the contrast is nice.
    #10
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/06 21:14:12 (permalink)
    Try a tablespoon or two of Hershey's Syrup in the Mix. I was taught to mix the spices with the liquids, V8 in my case, and I squirt the syrup in after I've poured in the above.
    I usually steam the fat off the meat by pouring on a cup of beef bouillon after browning before adding the V8/spice mix.The chocolate works with the peppers and the sugar helps whatever tomatoes are present.
    #11
    SouthHillbilly
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/06 21:40:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Peachpie9

    quote:
    Originally posted by SouthHillbilly

    My wife always puts a light tsp or so of chocolate powder in her chili. It's one of the few things she makes that is better than mine.


    Unsweetened chocolate powder, Hillbilly? Or do you mean sweetened?


    Hershey's cocoa powder. . . unsweetened. One could probably use it in mole.
    #12
    SouthHillbilly
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/06 21:41:41 (permalink)
    Oh JOY! I just became a hamburger!
    I think I'll have one.
    #13
    ericats
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/06 23:26:28 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bill voss

    Try a tablespoon or two of Hershey's Syrup in the Mix. I was taught to mix the spices with the liquids, V8 in my case, and I squirt the syrup in after I've poured in the above.
    I usually steam the fat off the meat by pouring on a cup of beef bouillon after browning before adding the V8/spice mix.The chocolate works with the peppers and the sugar helps whatever tomatoes are present.


    Now this is getting interesting. So you use chocolate syrup in your chili? I've heard of putting some chocolate (I'm thinking bittersweet not milk) in chili but syrup, hm...You know, many years ago when Sunset magazine still had a recipe column by male readers, there was this one particular spaghetti sauce that I remember; it had molasses in it. My background is Italian so the molasses bit seemed really kooky nutty to me but I've always wanted to make the recipe (I still have after more than 20 years). So, I'll have to try the Hersheys too.

    I'm curious, are most of the people who sweeten their chili from a particular region of the country? I'm fairly new to the board so I don't know where most of y'all live.


    #14
    6star
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/06 23:43:31 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ericats


    I'm curious, are most of the people who sweeten their chili from a particular region of the country? I'm fairly new to the board so I don't know where most of y'all live.


    This is really easy to find out. When you are signed in, just click on the person's "name" in the left-hand column and their profile (with their city and state) will come up.
    #15
    ericats
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/06 23:54:25 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by 6star

    quote:
    Originally posted by ericats


    I'm curious, are most of the people who sweeten their chili from a particular region of the country? I'm fairly new to the board so I don't know where most of y'all live.


    This is really easy to find out. When you are signed in, just click on the person's "name" in the left-hand column and their profile (with their city and state) will come up.


    Thank you so much!
    #16
    ericats
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/07 00:00:49 (permalink)
    Ok, no one from Texas or New Mexico yet. But seems like each region of the country is represented on this thread.

    Anyone from Texas or NM putting sugar in their chili?
    #17
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/07 04:08:43 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by SouthHillbilly

    Oh JOY! I just became a hamburger!
    I think I'll have one.


    Congrats!
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    UncleVic
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/07 08:12:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by SouthHillbilly

    Oh JOY! I just became a hamburger!
    I think I'll have one.


    This just proves you like beans in your chili and Ketchup (Catsup) on your hot dogs! ha ha... Congrats! Now for the Pepper Test...
    #19
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/07 10:16:46 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ericats

    Ok, no one from Texas or New Mexico yet. But seems like each region of the country is represented on this thread.

    Anyone from Texas or NM putting sugar in their chili?

    Ericats, if you mean NM green, I would not put sugar into that.
    True Texas Chili shouldn't have tomatos or beans according to them, but why do you think people in Texas know anything about Chili? They just believe they do.
    My first girlfriend's mom, Carmella, taught me to add a tablespoon to Spaghetti sauces,
    something I had never known at 16. We have a friend here who is Italian born and a chef. I'll ask him this afternoon at my daughter's basketball game how he goes about it.
    Carrots in Beans: I have eaten lots of versions of Navy Bean soup with Carrots and have taken to adding them to pinto beans. They actually do a great job of absorbing the flavors. I always remember carrots in the big jar of pig skin or hot pickled eggs on the counter at local Mexican spots in KC. Out here in Oregon some places serve a mix of carrots, Cilantro, Jalapeneos, & onions, in vinegar, Bushie says he's had that mix in California too. You're supposed to use it as a topping, but mine never makes it out of the little boat.
    Bill
    PS: Sweet and Spicy is also the basis for most KC style BBQ sauces; peppers and sugar do well together.
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    Bushie
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/07 22:02:23 (permalink)
    In competition chili, a little bit of brown sugar enhances the flavor. You don't want the sugar to "show through", but it's part of the "base". Just like salt.
    #21
    ericats
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/07 22:09:17 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Bushie

    In competition chili, a little bit of brown sugar enhances the flavor. You don't want the sugar to "show through", but it's part of the "base". Just like salt.


    Yes! Someone from Texas speaks! So are you talking about true Texas chili with no beans, no tomatoes? How much brown sugar are we talking about? The recipes that I referred to in my firt post called for a minimum of 1 Tbsp which to me seems like a lot of sugar. My bro makes a mean Texas chili so maybe I can convince him to add a little brown sugar because it sounds intriguing.
    #22
    ericats
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/07 22:18:43 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bill voss

    quote:
    Originally posted by ericats

    Ok, no one from Texas or New Mexico yet. But seems like each region of the country is represented on this thread.

    Anyone from Texas or NM putting sugar in their chili?

    Ericats, if you mean NM green, I would not put sugar into that.
    True Texas Chili shouldn't have tomatos or beans according to them, but why do you think people in Texas know anything about Chili? They just believe they do.
    My first girlfriend's mom, Carmella, taught me to add a tablespoon to Spaghetti sauces,
    something I had never known at 16. We have a friend here who is Italian born and a chef. I'll ask him this afternoon at my daughter's basketball game how he goes about it.
    Carrots in Beans: I have eaten lots of versions of Navy Bean soup with Carrots and have taken to adding them to pinto beans. They actually do a great job of absorbing the flavors. I always remember carrots in the big jar of pig skin or hot pickled eggs on the counter at local Mexican spots in KC. Out here in Oregon some places serve a mix of carrots, Cilantro, Jalapeneos, & onions, in vinegar, Bushie says he's had that mix in California too. You're supposed to use it as a topping, but mine never makes it out of the little boat.
    Bill
    PS: Sweet and Spicy is also the basis for most KC style BBQ sauces; peppers and sugar do well together.


    Yes, the carrot, onion, jalapeno in vinegar is pretty popular in CA. I think that it is called curtido but it's different from the Salvadorean curtido which is cabbaged based.

    About the bubba que sauces: I really prefer Texas style since I don't like my sauce too sweet (I had some at a rib place in Baltimore that was so sweet it was like pouring pancake syrup on my ribs!) I guess I just don't like sweet with meat(but still willing to try the Hershey's and brown sugar, respectively, in chili!)
    #23
    Bushie
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/07 22:41:35 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ericats

    Originally posted by Bushie

    So are you talking about true Texas chili with no beans, no tomatoes? How much brown sugar are we talking about? The recipes that I referred to in my firt post called for a minimum of 1 Tbsp which to me seems like a lot of sugar.

    I'm talkin' about competition chili which would NEVER have beans or visible tomato pieces. "Eatin'" chili is different.

    However, in either, you just want to put a little in. In an average pot of 3 lbs, you wouldn't want to put more than 1 TB in. I can't give you exact amount, because I never measure, but go easy at first, and add as needed. Again, you should think of this as you would of salt.
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    1bbqboy
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/08 10:00:54 (permalink)
    Originally posted by ericats


    Since my heritage is Italian, I'm always interested in the difference between Italian and Italian-American cooking. It seems that the basic Italian-American tomato sauce has a bit of sugar in it, but in Italy they would never put sugar in their sauce (the tomatoes there are just so damn good!)


    Ericats: Our friend Marco, The Italian born chef, told me he alway adds sugar to his tomato based sauces, He was taught to do so when he was starting out in Italy before coming to NY, then Ashland.
    Bill
    PS: Bushie's right. You want to sense the sugar not taste it. It's more to break the
    bitterness.
    As far as NM green, though not how I was originally taught, I've found a splash of citrus based juices-orange juice, pinapple -mango, etc., when added to the Tomatillo/pepper mix each add a distinctive flavor beyond the normal lemon juice or lime juice. I usually add Red potatoes to Green Chile w/Pork Stew also.


    #25
    ericats
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/09 11:05:34 (permalink)
    quote:
    [
    Ericats: Our friend Marco, The Italian born chef, told me he alway adds sugar to his tomato based sauces, He was taught to do so when he was starting out in Italy before coming to NY, then Ashland.
    Bill
    PS: Bushie's right. You want to sense the sugar not taste it. It's more to break the
    bitterness.
    As far as NM green, though not how I was originally taught, I've found a splash of citrus based juices-orange juice, pinapple -mango, etc., when added to the Tomatillo/pepper mix each add a distinctive flavor beyond the normal lemon juice or lime juice. I usually add Red potatoes to Green Chile w/Pork Stew also.


    Thank you for asking Marco about the sugar. My family never put sugar in their tomato sauce (I'll ask my mom about the older generation) but I've known other Italian-ams that have; again, I wonder if it is a regional thing. Half of my mom's family is from Sicily and Sicily is known for it's agrodolce (sweet and sour) style of cooking but have never tasted sugar in the tomato sauce (always very savory) I find this topic very fascinating! I have a zillion cookbooks written by famous Italian chefs so I'll do some research re the sugar. Maybe adding the sugar is more homecooking thus not in cookbooks but which class of Italians came to this country a century ago, certainly not people who had cooks!



    #26
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/10 10:06:12 (permalink)
    Just to add, my friend grew up in suburban Milan. Adding sugar's a trick he learned in restaurant cooking, not at home. He said you have to use canned tomatoes(another myth shattered) at some times of the year in Italy too, just like here.
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    Green_Chile
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/10 10:22:54 (permalink)
    Strait outta Alb.,NM and no chocolate in the chile here.....mole is made with chocolate and is not bad. Chili here is usually chile and spicy/salty not sweet. I have had sweet chili before though and it's not to shabby. Sugar is for Aquas Frescas to help temper the heat of the chile, Though I prefer Tecate with Lime, or a gold lager.

    Green_Chile
    #28
    BakersBoy
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/10 10:31:19 (permalink)
    To all,

    My Mom and Grandmother always added sugar to chili and spaghetti sauces. They also added grape jelly to meatloaf, just a tablespoon. I still do.

    BB
    #29
    ericats
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    RE: Question about questionable item in chili recipe 2005/02/10 11:25:23 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bill voss

    Just to add, my friend grew up in suburban Milan. Adding sugar's a trick he learned in restaurant cooking, not at home. He said you have to use canned tomatoes(another myth shattered) at some times of the year in Italy too, just like here.


    After I had written my post yesterday I started thinking about all of the tomato sauces that I've ever had in Italy (yes, I remember them all) and the only one that I suspected may have had a bit of sugar was a sauce that I had in Milano. I suspect that if and when Italians use sugar in sauce that it is a pinch or a dash so that it's not detectable. Here in the US I can always taste sugar in commercial or restaurant sauces; they put in way too much and it's way too sweet (for my tastes).

    I like your viewpoint of treating sugar like salt.

    #30
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