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Photo: Natalia Wimberley (Shutterstock) Earlier this week, I made some violent chili. I confused chili powder with ancho chili powder , and poured a quarter cup of pulverized ancho chilis into a pot of simmering tomatoes and ground sirloin. It was good, but it was powerful. To combat the heat, I started looking for some sweet. I had already added a little brown sugar to the pot, but didn’t want it to start reading as too molasses-forward. I opened my fridge and gazed at its contents, shuffling jars and plastic soup containers around until I found a mostly empty jar of Trader Joe’s pepper jelly—which is very mild—hanging out in the back. This was what I needed; I was sure of it. I dumped the approximately three remaining tablespoons of pepper jelly into the pot, gave it a stir, and took a taste. The pepper jelly didn’t exactly temper the heat, but it did distract from it, which was almost as good. It added sweetness, yes, but it also added tanginess, and a brighter, less-smoky pepper flavor to balance the darkness of the ancho. It gave the chili a more rounded flavor profile, which was exactly what it needed after I overdid it with that one very specific flavor. Luckily, you don’t have to add 1/4 cup of powdered ancho chiles to your chili to also add pepper jelly to your chili. You can take advantage of pepper jelly’s sweet and tangy brightness no matter what kind of chili […]