|Chili Stands in front of the Alamo
The earliest versions of Chili Con Carne were made by very poor people in the state of Texas. A writer named J.C. Clopper wrote the first description of the chili he encountered in San Antonio, TX : “When they have to pay for their meat in the market, a very little is made to suffice for a family; this is generally cut into a kind of hash with nearly as many peppers as there are pieces of meat—this is all stewed together”. Note Mr. Clopper never even used the word “Chili”. San Antonio was the capital of chili. In the 1880s chili stands were set up in the city market from which chili or “bowls o ‘red” were sold by women called “Chili Queens” A ‘bowl o red’ set you back ten cents which included a glass of water and a piece of bread. Its fame spread and featured at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893, the dish was a major attraction.
By 1900, there were chili joints all over Texas and by the 1920s there was hardly a town that didn’t have a Chili Parlour, most of which were very simple affairs often just a shed or room with a counter and some stools. Credit is often given to chili joints for meaning the difference between starving to death and living through the Great Depression: Chili was cheap and the crackers it came with were free.
Recipe for American Chili Con Carne
Prep Time 30 mins. Cook Time: About 7 hours in a slow cooker
Makes a Big Bowl of Chili that likely feeds 10-12 with ease.
1 ½ lbs. ground beef 80 percent lean
1 ½ lbs. Flank or hanger steak cut into strips
or 3 lbs. ground beef 80 percent lean
3 inches long and ¼ inch wide.
2 large sweet onions, peeled, in large dice
4 carrots, peeled, diced
5 tbsps. Chili Powder
1 tsp. dried Thyme
2 tbsps. Ground Cumin
2 tbsps. Ancho Chile Powder
16 oz. Beef Stock or Broth
1 28 oz. can of Whole Tomatoes in Purée
3 tbsps. Tomato Paste
1/2 tsp. Red Chili Flakes or to taste
3 whole Red and/or Orange Sweet Peppers, cut into 1 ½ inch dice.
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced.
1. Prep the onions and carrots.
2. Put a little olive oil in a large, deep saucepan and add the chopped onions, carrots, and the beef. Thoroughly mix the entire combination and cook over medium heat until the meat is completely browned.
Add the chili powder, thyme, cumin, ancho chile powder. Season with black pepper and salt. Cook a further few minutes. Add the beef stock, the tomatoes, purée and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Take the mixture and add it to your slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker on
High. Cook for 6 to 7 hours. An hour before serving, add the peppers and taste, correcting the seasoning.
Serve in bowls with Sour Cream, Grated Cheddar Cheese and Scallions at the ready.
Recipe for Cast Iron Skillet Corn Bread
Recipe courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli
Total Time:55 mins. Prep:15 mins. Inactive:15 mins. Cook: 25 mins.
8 to 10 servings
1 1/4 cups coarsely ground cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a 9-inch cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
2. Whisk in the milk, buttermilk, and eggs. Whisk in almost all of the melted butter, reserving about 1 tablespoon for the skillet later on. Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Coat the bottom and sides of the hot skillet with the remaining butter.
3. Pour the batter into the skillet and place it in the center of the oven. Bake until the center is firm and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.