Chili or gumbo, you have to pick one.
- RealMenJulienne Mar 14, 2008 06:03 AM
Which one would you choose if you could only have one the rest of your life? They are both rich, protein-based stews. They both have a (sometimes incorrect) reputation for being scalp-sweatingly spicy. They are both uniquely American dishes. And they are both delicious! Let’s break it down into two sub-questions:
1) Chicken and andouille gumbo VS 100% purist Texas Red chili
2) Your favorite kind of gumbo VS your favorite kind of chili
Which one shall it be, and please provide your reasons!
Chili a condiment? Really? It is the "backbone" of many dishes, if that is what you meant to say. People add lots of things to chili but chili is not added to that many things: chili dog, chili on tamales. It should be capable of standing on its own merits or it isn't decent chili.
Chicken and Chourico gumbo. I choose that due to the fact that I grew up on chili and gumbo has entered my life only in the last ten years or so. I prefer Chourico over Andouille because I live in NE and the quality of Chourico outweighs that of any Andouille I have come across in this region...
I love my dad's chili, influenced by Hawaiian, Japanese and LA flavors, it's not your typical Texas "bowl of red." Beans included, it's fantastic as chili rice, on a tamale, or just served with bread. I'm still trying to memorize the recipe, but I have to refer to notes.
That said, gumbo is another thing entirely. I think there's more variation within gumbo than chili, bite by bite. You might get a piece of okra in this bite, a bit of meat next. I've had it straight, but again, I really like it over rice.
The tough thing for me about picking gumbo is that it doesn't get ladled onto nearly as many things that I enjoy as chili. I don't think I could live without chili fries, or chili rice, or chili on a tamale, or chili dogs, or chili spaghetti (it's a bachelor thing, but pretty darn good)...maybe that will change as my tastes mature, but right now, I'm sticking with chili.
Chili with beans all the way. I've had gumbo in the French Quarter and I've made it at home using different recipes from Emeril, Justin Wilson and others and I've never found it as satisfying as a bowl of chili and beans. I've had bowls of Red and it's o.k. and is a much different animal than chili and beans, but the only time I'll eat it is when I'm visiting the Lone Star State.
not even close. Gumbo any day (doesn't even matter what kind) as long as I have a bottle of crystal or tobasco.