Who’s ready for Chili Con Carne Month over in the US? We’re certainly all ready to celebrate this spicy and oh so tasty stew!
It’s a great big myth where Chili Con Carne first originated. The flavours and ingredients would suggest Mexico, though many Mexicans actually refuse to lay claim to this world famous dish. If we ignore some other rumours, including the Canary Islands and a weird story about a Spanish nun having an out of body experience and teleporting to America (?!), it seems most likely that Chili Con Carne took off in the late 1800s in San Atonio, Texas. This is where the first recipes originated from and where the ‘bowls o’red’ were sold on stands by women called Chilli Queens. To this day, it’s the official state food of Texas.
The dish has created its own fan clubs worldwide and is an initiator for cook offs, festivals and competitions all over the U.S.A. They’re a pretty big deal! Cook offs are regulated with pernickety rules, can be for charity, or to simply see who can make the perfect Chili. Families compete through generations with their closely guarded secret powder mixes that you wouldn’t be able to get out of them if you tried.
These days, there are so many variations of Chili it’s hard to count. Cincinnati style Chili from Ohio is a version with a much thinner sauce… Chili Verde is the New Mexico version made with pork… White Chilli incorporates white beans and turkey meat… Vege Chili contains, well, err, vegetables. You know, like this:
The biggest controversy around the dish is around beans- yes beans! The translation of Chili Con Carne is literally ‘Chili with Meat’ and so the original recipes didn’t include our little friends, just a no frills, potent concoction of meat, spices and as many chilies as you dare to eat. In fact, to date, many Texan cook offs are super strict and actually ban beans in the competition! Do you guys add beans to your chilies?!
Once you’ve decided which version to go for, the decision starts all over again. What are you supposed to have alongside it? Cheese, onions and sour Cream? Corn chips, corn bread or tortillas? On rice or baked potatoes? On french fries? You could even pop the mix in a burger or hot dog. Let us know your favourites in the comments, ok?
Whatever you’re opinion (and we want to know!), there are hundreds of ways to cook and serve up a delicious batch, whether for a Friday treat, a ginormous bonfire party or for the Super Bowl. You can even just chuck it all in a slow cooker and come back to something delicious!!
Now you’re all up to speed on the Chili con Carne scene! So here’s our last question… what’s the one thing that makes your ultimate Chili?