The Ingredient You Need For Thicker, More Flavorful Chili

As bouts of cold weather start to hit, the trees begin to lose their leaves, and frost creeps up our window panes, it's time to shelve our cold-lunch recipes and grab our cookbooks because the season of hot meals has begun.

Chili is the perfect meal to cook up because of its natural warmth, spice, and the hearty meats and veggies that help to beat off the sharp sting of winter. There are a lot of chili recipes floating around the internet today, but traditionally, chili is a mix of various beans, beef, and spices, cooked in a tomato base and served with a bit of cheese on top. It is a wonderful mix of hearty foods meant to warm you to your bones and taste flavorful, but it is also one of our favorite winter meals because it is easy to make and can be stored in your fridge or frozen and stored to be used at a later date (via Easy Budget Recipes). And while some people like their chili spicy, mild, chocolatey, or cheesy, no one likes a watery chili. Here's a simple trick to help thicken up your chili.

One of the oldest tricks in the book

A simple way to prevent your chilli from being unsatisfyingly thin is by adding masa harina, or corn flour, to your recipe. Many at-home cooks are probably already familiar with masa flour, which is created via the ancient practice of grinding corn into a fine powder. According to Epicurious, masa harina is nixtamalized corn flour. This process is pre-colonial and essentially turns dried maíz (corn) into a more nutritional food with the addition of calcium hydroxide (historically achieved by adding wood ash or lime), and the masa produced has been used to make dishes like tamales, maíz cakes, atole, and tortillas for centuries.

Maseca is a brand of masa harina and is perfect to use as a thickener for your chili while also adding a subtle flavor to your dish. All you have to do is add it to equal parts water and stir the mix into your pot (via Serious Eats). Masa harina is not hard to get your hands on either! It is often sold in big-box stores and is almost always found in Latin marketplaces, and it's absolutely the best way to thicken up any soup, stew, or chili your heart desires.