Help. My chili is too acidic. What to do?

leibrookOctober 31, 2007

We are having friends over tomorrow night for Halloween dinner.....Chili with beans over rice and hot corn muffins. It's a tradition. Normally, my chili comes out just fine, but I just finished cooking it and it's way too acidic. Help!! I have read a few things on line, but I didn't want to try them without consulting this forum. Does anyone have a tried and true way to reduce the acid. I sure would appreciate it. Thanks.

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bunnyman

My dad always added sugar to "cut the acid". I like it sour so never do that. You might try adding more beef and letting the meat soak up some acid... can't hurt.

: )
lyra

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 9:30AM
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fenworth

To be honest I've never been convinced that I know what "too acidic" tastes like, but I have seen recipes for marinara, etc. that say if too acidic add some butter.

Since I obviously don't know what I'm talking about, I don't know if this would help, but I figured I'd throw it out there!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 9:39AM
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msafirstein

If it's tomato based it is always going to be acidic. I'm with fenworth and not sure I understand what too acidic means.

Try adding some chicken stock and see if that helps.

Michelle

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 9:45AM
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sigh

Not too sure about what you mean by too acidic either but I have a recipe for a vegetarian chili that calls for 1 suqare of unsweetened chocolate in order to cut the sweetness of the tomatoe. It works like a charm & gives the chili a real depth of flavor (my husband says all it's missing is meat).

Good luck!

Nina

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 10:00AM
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wizardnm

A little bit of sugar is what I would try. It will help smooth out the flavor.

Nancy

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 10:00AM
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weed30

I have not tried these ideas, but you could pull out a small amount and experiment:

>Add chunks of carrot and simmmer.
>Add a tiny bit of baking soda, like 1/8 tsp. Add more in very small amounts if needed.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 10:34AM
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lindac

I know exactly what you mean....that sour bitey taste....hate it!
I add sugar....a little at a time...
Also grated carrot will sweeten it up...but that's because of the sugar in the carrots....
I would add some brown sugar...don't know how much chili you have but a tablespoon for a pot to serve 8 would be a start.
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 10:47AM
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lucyny

You don't mention what type of chili you have. Is it a tomato based chili, if so was tomato paste used?

Lucy

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 11:07AM
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leibrook

My chili is tomato based, 2 cans diced toms, 1 large crushed toms, and 1 8 oz tom sauce, 2 lbs chili (beef) meat, 2 envelopes of McCormick's chili seasoning - one mild, one original, 1/2 t. ea of basil, thyme, oregano, sugar, and a gulp of red wine; 2 cans chili beans, 1 can pintos. I really like to taste the tomatoes, but what I mean by acidic is that it has a bite to it, not hot, but an acidic bite. That's how I describe it. lol, lol. I usually cook it in a big ole iron kettle, but decided to use the slow cooker and am wondering if it didn't cook up the same. I haven't tried it yet today, but will be serving it up tonight. I will try some of the ideas in a sample of chili. I am open to any other suggestions and thank you all for your help. I will let you know how it turns out.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 11:55AM
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femmelady

definitely a little more sugar or some honey so it's not too cloyingly sweet. I also add pinches of cinnamon & cloves (not a lot) which gives it a little complexity.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 12:12PM
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spacific

Leibrook,
I know exactly what you mean. I think you were right in the observation of cooking it in the iron kettle vs the slow cooker. The iron kettle is more "roasting" (which brings out more sweetness in the tomatoes) instead of the slow cooker which is closer to "steaming". The flavors will probably have melded a bit today, so I'm guessing some of the "bite" will be lessened. But I would put it on the stove top today in the iron pot and cook it down a bit more. Then if necessary, use the shredded carrot trick. The unsweetened chocolate will tone down the acidity and give it more depth as Sigh mentioned, but it will more noticeably cut down on the "tomato-y-ness" of it as well, so will the cinnamon and cloves. Those ingredients are used in moles which I love, but may not be what you intend.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 12:24PM
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mimsic

Sugar! Increase the sugar. Thats a lot of tomatoes for just a half teaspoon of sugar. My dad made killer tomato sauce when I was growing up and always gave it a good size Tbs. of sugar, just plain old white sugar, but it made quite a difference in the taste. I agree with spacific that cooking it down a bit more in the iron pot (without the cover)will help the flavor too. Sometimes the old reliable pot seems to know how to flavor the stew!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 3:45PM
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annie1992

I agree with the "add a bit of sugar" camp. My lasagna sauce recipe calls for a teaspoon full of sugar and grandma always added sugar to spaghetti or goulash, she said it cut the acid taste of the tomatoes and brought out their natural sweetness.

As spacific mentioned, I'd taste it first, though, to determine how much it needs. I find that things like chili mellow nicely overnight, and I like them even better the next day after I make them, so it might not be as acidic as it began.

Annie

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 3:57PM
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dgkritch

I'm in the sugar camp too.......in fact, I just made chili Monday and had to do the same thing. Molasses is an option too. Not so sweet, nice dark color.

Just add a tiny bit (maybe a couple of teaspoons for a 6 qt. crockpot full). Simmer a few minutes, then taste. Adjust as necessary.

Now, if somebody could tell me how to take out one too many jalapenos............... (grin).

Deanna

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 4:56PM
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shaun

Sugar Camp!! Add sugar (or splenda)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 5:41PM
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chase_gw

sugar here too, but butter works well as does baking soda....

how helpful is that! LOL

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 5:44PM
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leibrook

Hi, Everybody, I wanted to get back with everyone helping me with my acidic chili. I tried several suggestions mentioned under this posting. My chili was a hit....got so many compliments. Just shows how things work out with the help of friends. Thank you for making my Halloween Dinner such a success!!!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 1:53AM
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eileenlaunonen

Im wondering (even though im late) if the acid taste was from the WINE....ya gotta watch your wine especially if you dont cook with good quality drinking wine.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 8:58AM
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velodoug

The caterer I work for adjusts her chili as needed to compensate for the acidity of the tomatoes with a tiny bit of Grade B maple syrup. I usually use San Marzano tomatoes in my own chili. They don't give me this problem. When I have to use other tomatoes I add a grated carrot when I put in the canned green chiles.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 1:55PM
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susytwo

As others mentioned above, chocolate. I always add a chunk of chocolate to chili. I find it rounds out the flavor.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 2:06PM
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leibrook

I did use wine, but it was pretty good drinking wine. However, I never used it before this. Maybe it was the wine that caused it to be tooo acidic. What are San Marzano tomatoes? Where do you buy them? Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 2:13AM
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texasredhead

Specifically, add brown sugar. This is sure fire for us competition chili heads. Brown sugar will also reduce some of the heat but use it with care unless you want sweet chili.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 8:31AM
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m4ry4nn

OK I came to this site 5 minutes ago. I just tried two thin squares of an expensive dark chocolate bar and it worked really well. I've had bad luck in the past using sugar or baking soda. I don't have any carrots on hand. I know this is an old thread, but thanks.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 5:54PM
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debbyga

Always put in a tablespoon or so of cocoa powder and a couple teaspoons of sugar.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 8:33PM
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