Actually, the wheat is very mild, and takes on whatever flavors you add with spices, etc. The texture ends up much like crumbled ground beef. In fact, I also use this mix in my enchiladas; people don't believe they're vegetarian!
Mushrooms! . In fact i use baby bellas and call it Bella Chili. I started this when I was married and my husband didn't like chili beans, so I substituted mushrooms. They are a little chewy and of course take on the flavor of the sauce; since i'm alone now I use both beans and mushrooms for a delicious chili. You can use canned mushrooms but I do prefer the fresh ones.
We have our own special brand of chili powder. If the store is out of that particular brand, we don't make chili until we can buy some more. I used to add Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves until my husband let me know he didn't like it.
I'm vegan, so my chili has no carne, but it does contain pumpkin, which makes it rich and thick. Also, just a touch of cinnamon, mixed in with more traditional chili spices like cumin and red chili powder.
OMGosh, Lisa - I never heard of anyone using pumpkin in their chili recipe. I bet it does give it a nice thick texture. And a touch of cinnamon probably adds a subtle mystery to the taste. Thanks for commenting.
I use ground ancho chilis instead of chili powder. Meat is boneless beef chuck. I also use masa to thicken it. I don't put beans in. Then there are the assortments of typical spices/herbs, garlic, onions, tomatoes, etc.
Got the recipe from epicurious,com and it's amazing. During the time it's simmering before you chill it and add the masa, you can taste it. You may want to just eat it as-is without the masa and tomato paste. My favorite!
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