I would like to use habenero pepper in a chili, but would like to know how many fresh peppers / pound of chili should I use to maintain an edible chili or another what amount is safe to start with. I know there's probably not a cut/dry amount, but any experience in the matter would be greatly appreciated. I planned on pureeing the pepper(s) and slowly adding it in and testing, but a suggested amount would be good to know since I would like to 'marinade' my meat ahead of time.
One habanero per six quarts of chili, containing approximately one quart meat, provides a solid heat that an average palate can handle. I have cooked chili on numerous occasions for groups of people and found this formula works for most people. Typically I stack it with other, lower-Scoville peppers to produce a well-bodied heat.
Other things to bear in mind:
- one habanero per six quarts will not really showcase the subtler flavors of the habanero, only bring out its heat.
- capsaicin is fat soluble, more fats in the chili gives you more wiggle room to add more heat. Up the meat or oil (bacon fat), up the peppers
- browning your meat in the diced peppers will lock away some flavor in the meat as long as you don't stew it forever
- using the bulb's flesh, rather than up by the stem will lower the capsaicin in the pepper, discard seeds and pith as well; this will allow more pepper flavor without overwhelming spiciness
- some habanero peppers are weaker than others, you might seek out some that are less spicy if trying to add heat
- If all you're looking for is heat, a plurality of pepper types/cultivars will yield better heat; single pepper chili can be hotter, but have a thin kind of heat as opposed to a whole-bodied punch in the jaw kind of heat