Chilli is a popular dish, and can be greatly improved by serving it with appropriate companion dishes. Because the consistency of chilli is a lot like soup, it goes well with foods that have more body and consistency to them such as breads, and starchy foods such as rice or potatoes.
Cornbread is a traditional accompanying food for chilli. The flavours of the beans in the chilli and the cornmeal in the cornbread create a natural and complementary contrast. The texture of the cornbread also goes well with chilli, and the absorbency of the cornbread makes it ideal for cleaning out your chilli bowl when you're finished, so you don't waste a drop of your delicious chilli.
Chips provide a nice complement to the flavours of chilli. Corn chips and crisps go equally well with chilli, and can be served as a side dish or just eaten out of the bag in a less formal setting. If you made a large pot of chilli and have leftovers, you can make nachos the next day by laying out a bed of corn chips, covering them with chilli and grated cheese, and heating the concoction up in a toaster oven for a few minutes.
Sour cream is the ideal topping for chilli. It makes the dish look nicer when it is served, and the sour cream provides a cooling effect when the chilli is eaten. Sour cream is particularly welcome if the chilli was made with serious spices like habanero peppers, which are unbelievably hot. If you inflict this level of heat on your dinner guests, have a bowl of extra sour cream available on the table in addition to the dollop of sour cream on top of the serving of chilli.
A green salad makes a delicious side dish for a big bowl of chilli. In addition to providing a cooling break for the palate and a healthy nutritional boost, the green of the salad will even make your table more visually appealing as it contrasts with the deep red of the chilli. Try a salad with leafy lettuce, spinach, feta cheese, cucumbers and slices of fresh tomato.