Give Your Brisket Chili A Deep, Smoky Flavor With Ancho Chiles

Many bonafide home cooks who swear their chili recipe is supreme likely rely on some sort of secret ingredient that doesn't go in a traditional version of the dish. There's a reason why there are so many annual chili cook-offs and competitions across the country and episodes of cooking shows like "Chopped" that focus on chili. If you're looking for a way to elevate your go-to chili recipe with a unique ingredient, try ancho chiles for a deep, smoky flavor.

You can swap the bell peppers or jalapeños that typically go in chili with the ancho chiles, or use a combination. In case you aren't familiar, ancho chiles are dried poblano peppers sold whole, ground, or in powdered form like the spices in your cabinet. On their own, the chilis have a mild heat level with a Scoville rating between 1,000 and 1,500 units. Their taste is sweet and slightly smoky, which is why Tasting Table recipe developer Taylor Murray incorporates them into her smoky brisket chili recipe. "When soaked in hot water and blended, the chiles form a paste that is bursting with delicious, smoky pepper flavor," says Murray.

How to incorporate ancho chiles

Like other peppers, ancho chiles need to be stemmed and seeded first. To incorporate ancho chiles into your chili with Tasting Table's recipe, Murray soaks the dried chilis, blends them with some of the liquid, and then adds them to the pot with tomatoes to create a base. You could also cut the seeded ancho chiles and saute them in the pot with garlic and onion. If you prefer less prep work or want a milder heat level, use ancho chile powder in the chili with other seasonings like chili powder or cayenne pepper instead.

The pepper's deep flavor profile works in our recipe because it compliments the richness of brisket, but it's not the only type of chili you can cook with the ingredient. A simple beef chili will also benefit from the flavor profiles of ancho chiles. To skip red meat, swap the bell pepper for ancho chiles in hearty turkey chili. It'll also take the smokiness to another level in smoky chicken chili or in your family's coveted chili recipe. We don't think you'll regret the ingredient swap so long as you appreciate bold flavors in every spoonful.