The Slept-On Garlic That's The Secret Ingredient For More Flavorful Chili

With fall just around the corner, what sounds more perfect than curling up with a piping-hot bowl of chili? Depending on what region you live in, chili variations could look very different. While Texas chili has a firm no-bean policy, Springfield chilli out of Illinois is chock full of pinto beans. No matter what chili style you prefer, there's one thing this dish needs to have — and that's a ton of flavor. Black garlic is one secret ingredient that can boost any style of this hearty comfort food.

Black garlic, which is nothing like white garlic, reportedly enhances the flavor of chili by adding umami. Umami, known as the fifth taste, lends a more deeply savory profile to our food. Think about the flavor of ingredients like soy sauce or kimchi. Plus, in addition to its savoriness, black garlic also adds sugary notes.

Chili is primed to take on more umami flavor since it's already loaded with saltiness from ground beef, which makes it a great place to start if you've never worked with black garlic. However, once you get used to its flavor, you can find numerous other uses for this underrated ingredient. 

What's so special about black garlic?

From the outside, black garlic could be easily confused with regular garlic. Black garlic is regular garlic that has been aged until it turns black, but the color is not the only aspect that changes. It has a gummy texture and a less spicy, bitter flavor than regular garlic. This rich, tangy profile pairs well with other chili ingredients, adds depth, and imparts some sweetness to contrast all the heavy, savory elements. If you've never seen black garlic for sale in your grocery store, you can make your own black garlic with store-bought heads of garlic.

Black garlic can be used in any way you would use roasted garlic. Since the texture is a bit chewy, you'll want to slice it thinly and add it to entrées like soups and pasta dishes or use it as a topping for homemade pizzas. Many people prefer to blend black garlic and use it as a flavor booster in salad dressings and sauces. You can even turn black garlic into a seasoning powder, which makes it easier to sprinkle on your dishes whenever you see fit.