Richard Blais gets a little nutty with his delicious chili recipe, interview

Richard Blais Chili with PB, photo provided by the Peanut Butter Board
Richard Blais Chili with PB, photo provided by the Peanut Butter Board /

From Next Level Chef to his successful restaurants across the U.S. to his entertaining social media accounts, Richard Blais is never afraid to bring some hair-raising culinary creativity to the table. As the cooler temperatures have many people craving warm, comforting dishes, the celebrated chef is ready to encourage home cooks to think a little outside of the traditional ingredient list. With this delicious chili recipe, it is time to get a little nutty.

Recently, Richard Blais partnered with the National Peanut Board to highlight a variety of recipe uses for peanut butter and peanut butter sandwiches. As seen in the TikTok PB Chili Cookoff challenge, Blais is getting everyone excited about the creativity that peanut butter offers. While some food influencers have thrown their recipes into the competition ring, anyone can get a little nutty in the kitchen.

During a recent conversation with Blais, it covered why peanut butter works in chili, his preferred style of chili, and the importance of texture in a dish. Even though there were no smoke and mirrors in this recipe idea, adding peanut butter to chili might not be as usual as it appears on first glance.

Blais discusses how peanut butter can be used in a variety of recipes, like a chicken satay. The combination of peanut butter, soy and lime juice is classic. Applying the similar concept to chili makes sense.

According to Blais, “adding the peanut butter is about elevating your chili to the next level because there’s more flavor. The combination of a charred tomato paste and peanut butter has a similar umami component as a satay style dish.” In addition, the ingredient can balance some of the heat from the jalapenos. Overall, it rounds out the dish in a lovely way.

He went onto explain that the texture is equally as important. While the peanut butter ravioli is one component with its smooth texture, the “crunchy texture of the garnish combines with the salinity” makes for a composed bite.

Richard Blais chili recipe with peanut butter
Richard Blais Chili with PB, photo provided by the Peanut Butter Board /

For Blais, texture is an important component as he creates a recipe. Looking at this delicious chili recipe, he explained why it matters. As he said, the peanut butter ravioli has the soft side of things. In contrast, there are “the crunchy salted peanuts, raw onions, cilantro leaves and stems give more texture.” That cacophony of ingredients works in a harmonious way.

In addition, Blais encourages any home cook to consider texture in their recipes. Specifically, he said, “even though it might not be the most important thing to make happen on that dinner table at home, it is vital in a competition.” Given Blais’ expertise in cooking competitions, it could be the secret to success.

Although many people might be putting their delicious chili recipe up for the blue ribbon, the reality is that chili styles can be a matter of debate. For Blais, this particular recipe falls closer to a version of Cincinnati chili. He shares that the allspice, cinnamon, oregano, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and coriander are combined together. While his recipe falls under a particular genre, the idea of peanut butter and chili can apply to many styles, including that no beans Texas version that some people prefer.

While the #PBChiliCookoff on TikTok has people voting for their favorite pairing of peanut butter sandwiches and chili, the bigger takeaway is a simple one. That jar of peanut butter in the pantry is more than the filling between two slices of bread. Creamy or crunchy, peanuts can add that boost of flavor to a multitude of recipes. Home cooks just have to be willing to open the jar and embrace some culinary creativity.

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