Chili screams fall gatherings. This hearty dish is a perfect meal to wrap up a long day of skiing or to eat in the parking lot of your favorite football stadium, tailgating with the people who root for the same team you do. However, add a little too much brown sugar, molasses, ketchup, or barbecue sauce, and not only will your taste buds feel they aren't getting the flavor experience your mouth was longing for, but you might also have to find a new team to root for.
But don't fret. If you need to balance that sweetness with a little bit of tang, lemon juice's contrasting flavor can do just that, transforming your chili from sweet to spicy and savory. To use this hack, you are going to want to follow a wash, rinse, repeat approach. Start with just a little -- anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon -- and gradually add more lemon juice as needed until the taste matches your ideal. But be patient. You are going to want to allow the chili to simmer for a few minutes to allow the lemon juice to penetrate that sweetness and for all the flavors to come together.
How Does It Work?
The lemon juice's acidic and sour elements cut the sweetness, bringing the flavor back in line and rounding out the savory and sweet elements. Lemons are known for adding brightness to a recipe as well, so you may find your chili has an added tang to it that complements the spicy and sweet nature of this dish. It is important to remember that because every chili recipe is unique and lemon juice is going to react a little differently with different ingredients, you will want to add it slowly.
Of course, you might also find that similar to cinnamon and chocolate, lemon juice is the secret ingredient your chili has been missing. However, if you find you are plum out of lemons and your chili is skewing toward the sweet end of the culinary spectrum, you can substitute a little vinegar to help rescue its taste. Just remember to start with a small amount so you don't ruin your pot of chili altogether.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.