Chili brought back to life from a frozen state and smothered with gobs of Mexican-blend cheese. Presentation is a little sloppy, but c'mon, we just heated frozen chili. I'd have slow-roasted a chicken or something if we weren't starving.
A few months ago, I made chili and said that leftover chili can be frozen and reheated later for a fast dinner. It's true! I'm gonna prove it.
Leftover chili, frozen in a 1.75 qt Pyrex bowl, straight from the freezer.
There are essentially two steps to get this job done, thaw and reheat, each step with options:
- in the refrigerator over a couple days -- this is the best option, in my humble opinion
- by using the defrost capability of your microwave, like we did tonight (I'll talk about that shortly)
- by soaking the frozen bowl in cold water, changing water occasionally (if your bowl is air-tight)
- using a chisel and forcing the hunk of chili out of the frozen dish into a saucepan and thaw/reheat in one step -- I don't recommend this method as you might break your dish and pierce a hand, possibly resulting in bloody chili. And your hand will hurt.
- turn thawed chili into saucepan and reheat over medium heat about 15 minutes until heated through and steamy hot
- reheat in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl
- reheat in a slow-cooker
- Loosen the lid from the bowl.
- Defrost in microwave:
- Rodney assumed this was 2 lbs and told the microwave so. (The defrost is essentially designed to use really low power over a "long" period to thaw meat. Chances are, when you push the "defrost" button, your microwave will wait for you to type in the weight of the meat you want to defrost. Simply type those digits in and press "Cook" or "Start". After a couple/few minutes, the microwave will beep and wait for you to do something. That's when you turn/flip the meat, er, chili.)
- Rodney turned the chili brick inside the bowl when the microwave beeped at it's regular intervals.
- If you want to get anal, you can scrape the thawed parts from the chili brick into a saucepan, expediting thawing overall and minimizing the chances of "hot spots" in your chili.
- Add more defrost time if the total weight was underestimated and the chili is still a brick.
- Turn thawed chili into a saucepan and reheat over medium heat until piping hot, stirring occasionally.
Chili placed in saucepan, lid on, ready to be brought back to life.
The thing about reheating the chili is that the spicy-heat is diminished especially if it's been in the freezer for oh, say, 6 months. If you want as much, or more, spice-level as the chili had when it first prepared, I'd recommend an addition of chili powder or peppers, whether powder, dry or fresh during the reheating part.
When reheating our chili, it was a lot thicker than when prepared initially. I'm not sure if that's because Rodney and I eat all the "juice" the first time around, or it somehow dissipated during freezing/thawing/reheating. If you like juicier chili, maybe an addition 1/3 cup of water/tomato juice/V8 will do the trick. Personally, I like it thicker. It sticks to tortilla chips better that way.
What's nice is that there is no chili waste and dinner tonight is essentially zero effort, fairly quick, and best of all, FREE!!!
So tell me, how do you reheat chili? Or if you haven't done it before, tell me which method you'll try and how it turned out!
Click here for a printable
For updates on reheating frozen chili, check out Part 2, the latest installment.