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Crazy chili

Today I was in and out. In between times I cooked some leftover dried black beans in the PC, browned some chopped chuck roast, and slapped together a chili which cooked on simmer in the crock pot while Mr. Sueatmo and I were out. We came home, ate chili, and I went out again. My chili was made of available ingredients--nothing special. The chili was very good, not as thick as my regular chili, but very spicy.

I wonder what interesting, unusual, unexpected ingredients Hounds put in their chili. Whatever chili you make, brown or white, beans or not, meat or veg, is there an unusual ingredient that sets your chili dish apart? I'm interested; please share.

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  1. It may be commonplace to many folks, but the first time I added a slurry of masa harina, it was a revelation!

    10 Replies
    1. re: pine time

      I've used cornmeal to thicken the chili. Does that count? And sometimes I add frozen corn kernels.

      Never used masa harina, though. Interesting.

      1. re: sueatmo

        I've used in the distant past added corn meal and/or corn flour and I like the taste. I've also used corn kernels decades ago and liked it, but I think corn flour and corn meal used as a thickener gives a integral flavor -- and then why not also add a few kernels of corn :-))

        1. re: Rella

          I use toasted corn tortillas myself--but getting some kind of corn product in there definitely makes a huge difference.

          I don't know if I have any super "crazy" ingredients but I always add add a lot of Spanish smoked paprika, which I guess is a somewhat personal touch. I also use bacon fat for the browning and sauteing and add some unsweetened cocoa powder at the end (although that's not too original).

          Oh, and sometimes I make chili with bison meat, especially when I can't get any chili-suitable grass-fed cuts--it's really delicious AND sustainable! And I have at times added a dash of good, smoky scotch (when I have some on hand...)

          1. re: Lady_Tenar

            Smoked paprika is good. So is smoked serrano.

            1. re: Lady_Tenar

              I've actually used puleverized tortilla chips with pretty good results!

              1. re: Jason1

                I do that as well -- learned it from Alton Brown. Basically, whenever I have a bag of corn or tortilla chips that's down to inedible crumbs, I toss them into a Ziploc and store them in the freezer. Whenever I need some for thickening, I grind them down to dust in a spice/coffee grinder (not the one I use for coffee).

                Just be careful with the salt in your chili, as the chips are pretty heavily salted. I usually under-season (salt-wise) the chili until the chips are incorporated.

                1. re: Jason1

                  That is a dandy idea.

          2. re: pine time

            I've been making chili for years, but know what you mean. The masa harina slurry during the last 20-30 minutes not only thickens the chili, but rounds out the flavor of it.

            1. re: DavidA06488

              I totally agree!

            2. re: pine time

              You can also thicken with quick grits. Or refried beans...

            3. One of my chili recipes calls for sesame oil.

              1. Since I can't buy fresh Hatch chile peppers from Hatch, New Mexico, I keep in the freezer:

                Hatch Medium Red Chile Powder

                Hatch Extra Hot Red Chile Powder

                from

                http://thechileshop.com/

                I use it in every batch of chile I've made for many, many years. But I don't make much chile. It is my go-to chile powder.

                My chile bean of choice is dark red kidney beans only because that is what I'm used to and like the taste of best.. It is difficult to find DARK red kidney beans anymore.

                But when I use dark red kidney beans I'd rather make rajma.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Rella

                  I use a combination of dried guajillo peppers (dark chocolatey aroma and color), New Mexican dried peppers (bright color), canned chipotles in adobo, dried arbol chiles(sparingly), and some green chile powder if I'm in the mood. While I enjoy more heat than most, my aim is to create a chili with layers of flavor. Onion and garlic, Mexican oregano and dried cilantro are a necessity. Sometimes I'll add ground coriander and even a little unsweetened chocolate if I add the chiles de arbol, to round off some of the piquancy. Beans and rice are separate. Rice is good as a base under the chili to soak up the extra sauce. Beans can be added from the side bowl if you need to feed some extra people and extend the food.

                2. I like bulgar in vegetarian chili.

                  1. We use Tomatillos as a base. They are Mexican green tomato's. NO red tomato. You might find them in a can but normally you can buy them fresh. Cut in half and cook really quickly in a toaster over. Then whip up in a blender/grinder.

                    We have to bring our chili for the last 6 years to New Years celebration(we were ordered). No questions asked! Cooked and delivered in a 10quart cast iron Dutch Over on the stove top.

                    If you want you may Google TFM from Fla who I got this recipe from.

                    Supernc

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: supernc

                      Tomatillos are not tomatoes, not related, they just look like them. They are more like giant gooseberries.

                      1. re: wyogal

                        Taxonomy update on T-tillos and T-toes.

                        Related. Same family (Solanaceae). Different genera (Physalis, Solanum).

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomatillo
                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato

                        The reference to gooseberries is a good one. See wikis for Physalis / Gooseberry., also genus Ribes.

                        Both T's have a place in my various chilis.

                        1. re: FoodFuser

                          I love 'em. It may be heresy to some, but I put them in my green chili. I like the tartness they impart, and add to that whole "green" flavor.

                          (and quite frankly, if I have a bunch of green tomatoes, I use them in a similar fashion... shhhh...)

                          1. re: wyogal

                            Not heresy as far as I'm concerned, and according tp some of the "authentic" recipes.I've found. Glad you like them as much as I do.Yeahhj, they're goooood!

                            1. re: wyogal

                              Tomatillos are usually paired with fresh green chiles, and with 'white' meat (pork, poultry), while dried red chiles are used with beef and optional red tomato. Those aren't strict rules, but a common pattern. In Mexico pork can be cooked with a 'chile colorado' (red) sauce, or even a sauce that uses achiote for added red color. And in Colorado pork is cooked with green chiles (but not tomatillos) to make a meaty gravy that served on everything. While in New Mexico the red and green sauces are made almost exclusively with the corresponding chiles, without tomatillo, tomato, or meat.

                              1. re: paulj

                                Yes, which is why I used the word "heresy," because some people think that one should not use tomatillos in green chili. I know that different regions have different types of chili.

                                1. re: wyogal

                                  My motto is, rules were made to be broken!

                                  1. re: coll

                                    of course. I don't follow rules slavishly. Just a comment. Because if I came on this board and said I used tomatillos in my green chili, there would be at least one response telling me how stupid I am because everyone "knows" that authentic green chili is.... blah, blah, blah.
                                    So it was just a disclaimer.

                                    1. re: wyogal

                                      One person would say something, and 10 others would take note silently and incorporate it into their repertoire. At least that's what I like to think!

                                      1. re: coll

                                        Me too! And just who gets to make all these rules anyway?

                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                          Rules come about through decades, sometimes centuries of trial and error. They are the culinary repository of generations of cooking wisdom. They exist for a reason. And they don't exist simply to be broken wontonly.

                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                            Except for the authenticity thing. Cooking, like the English language, changes repeatedly over time.

                      2. Just my small chili story.
                        Our family makes a gringo style chili: brown meat, add chili powder, cumin, onions, tomato sauce, celery, chipotle, red pepper, green pepper, and kidney beans. Yeah, I know, not authentic, but its what we grew up with.
                        Anyway, its my neice's baptism and we're all tasked with bringing potluck. My brother? Chili. He made one mistake: confusing cayenne for chili powder - about 4 cups worth...
                        So what, right? Just another extra spicy chili....
                        I'll tell you though, all guests were sweating and tearing up, noses running, mouths gagging. But weirdly enough, everyone was coming back for more. I guess the endorphins were in full swing.
                        People were talking about that chili for years.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: porker

                          What a great story! My last batch made me sweat too. And I loved it. Is it endorphins?

                          1. re: sueatmo

                            Yes, your body releases endorphins when you eat spicy food in response to the pain that it's feeling. :-)

                          2. re: porker

                            Four cups of cayenne?! How many pounds o' meat?

                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                              Umm, the whole hog?!

                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                At least a quarter of it! LOL

                            2. re: porker

                              Did the similar thing 20 years ago when making three batches of fried chicken for a picnic. When I reached for the paprika to flavor the flavor before shaking the chicken, I grabbed the chili powder instead. I did not realize it until I was cleaning up. I tasted the last batch and it was great. Just like Popeyes.

                            3. I make a deep dark almost black chili with a homemade chili mix. I dry and grind all the peppers and spices myself. Sometimes, but not always, I'll add chocolate to my chili. It works in mole and it definitely works in chili.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: gbque

                                I was just going to say that I add some unsweetened dark cocoa to my chili. It adds some depth to it. It doesn't taste like chocolate, just a little "something."

                                1. re: eamcd

                                  I normally use a high quality 60% or above dark chocolate. It really helps to round out the spiciness of my mix. I also like that it adds a bit of a silky mouth coating texture. You are right that it's not really chocolatey but more "full". Damn, now I gotta make some chili...

                                  1. re: gbque

                                    I also add cocoa powder (good quality stuff), and a splash of tequila. The cocoa rounds out the flavors, and the tequila brightens it up.

                                    1. re: gbque

                                      I'll be at your house for dinner. I just love chili and yours sounds fabulous.

                                      1. re: gbque

                                        +1 on chocolate--either cocoa powder or I grate chocolate intended for Mexican hot cocoa. Cinnamon, too, sometimes. Also vanilla!

                                    2. re: gbque

                                      yeah, homemade chili powder is definitely the way to go. I don't always dry the pepper myself but I always toast the whole dried peppers and spices myself and then grind them. Makes a huge difference.

                                      1. re: gbque

                                        I like what you do, but I simmer the whole dried (and seeded, of course) toasted chile pods in chicken broth for about 1/2 hour, then puree them in a blender to make the base. The depth of flavor is great, and there isn't any loose pwder floating around.

                                      2. A half bottle of beer and a splash of tequila.

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: coll

                                          I done both, but never together .....

                                          1. re: coll

                                            Lightweight! ;) Or are you drinking the other half? Teasing, I hope you know. I put the whole bottle in. Love the tequila idea--I throw that in salsa. CENT'ANNI!

                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              Gotta save some tequila for the margaritas!

                                              1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                Absofreakinlutely!

                                                1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                  Actually if I had to open a bottle of beer I'd pour the whole thing in, but I usually have a partial, open bottle on hand for whatever reason. With chile, I never measure anything really.

                                                  And I do add some lime juice to the pot too, since I have it out for margaritas already....

                                                  1. re: coll

                                                    "I usually have a partial, open bottle on hand"

                                                    Wow! I just usually have one "in" hand.

                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                      I'm just a cheapskate, don't drink much beer myself but if my husband doesn't finish his I hate to throw it away. Coffee too, if I don't finish my last cup in the morning it goes into the next thing I stew up. Sustainable living! (BTW I'm not a teetotaler, but vodka is more my everyday style)

                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                        HEE HEE, when I'm making chili, me, too, for sure. It just seems like the right thing to do. ;)

                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                          A dose of tequila for me. Since it's out already anyway.

                                                          1. re: coll

                                                            while i have heard their are people who dont finish their beer, i have never actually seen it!

                                              2. Although I'm a simpler-the-better chili lover these days (no beans even) I used to add white hominy. It gave the chili a bit more body and I found hominy to be tastier than beans.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                  Good man.

                                                  An old chili adage: the best way to improve your chili is to remove an ingredient.

                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                    I was on a low fiber diet for a while due to a health problem (I know, sounds odd) so I stopped putting beans and/or hominy in my chili and was amazed at how much better it tasted. It was as if the beans were somehow neutralizing the spices in the chili. My partner has never complimented my chili as much as he has since I have been making it "bare bones" so to speak. I am definitley in the less-is-more group now when it comes to chili.

                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                      That's a good way to describe the function of beans in chili. They basically smother the savory essence of the chili. Only reason to put them in, IMO, is as an extender.

                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                        I don't know, I enjoy the textural contrast of the beans. But I don't add a lot of them, and they are soaked, dried beans. No reason to muddle a good batch of chili with mushy, canned beans.

                                                        1. re: Lady_Tenar

                                                          I agree. And I like to add bean cooking water to the chili, but I've cooked the beans in chicken broth beforehand. The broth is delicious. I think I need a little cornmeal and a little bean broth added. Cocoa or chocolate too.

                                                        2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                          PK, I have a much more compelling reason to put beans in chili: so that Mrs. O will eat it! While I agree with the Chili Orthodoxy that chili is a meat dish that heretics often put beans into, my dearly beloved asserts that it is primarily a bean dish which may or may not contain meat. And the last time I made it I had just two cans of beans (yes, we like canned!) instead of the usual three, and she groused that "there are hardly any beans at all in here!"

                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                            Ah, the sacrifices we make for love and domestic tranquility.

                                                            Fortunately, Mrs. Khan--a Penn'lvanny Yankee, I'll have you know--is almost as much of a carnivorous chilehead as yours truly. She'd give me a poke in the chops if I adulterated our chili with beans.

                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                              I have always found Orthodoxies to be way too chilly,
                                                              with their various assumed powers of ex-communication.

                                                              The debate about beans will never see end.
                                                              I add them for soluble/insoluble fibers, and protein.

                                                              Next day, the consequent flatulence
                                                              Just brings smile to my face
                                                              in remembrance of feast.

                                                        3. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                          There are chili adages? I need to get out more. And if I add both beans and hominy - which I might do in a flight of chili fancy... a chili fugue state - I will NEED to go outside. The cross ventilation in my house is lacking in the Winter.

                                                      2. I make a very basic chili and add corn and black beans along with pinto beans and kidney beans.

                                                        I also like adding the slurry of fine-ground cornmeal - it give it a nice consistency and flavor.

                                                        In this thread, I read about some CH'ers adding unsweetened dark cocoa - that sounds so good. I'll have to try that. Does the cocoa give it a mole type flavor?

                                                        15 Replies
                                                        1. re: prio girl

                                                          It all depends on how much cocoa (or chocolate, I'm sure) you add. I like to add the dark cocoa. If you add a good amount, it can get a little closer to a mole type flavor.

                                                          Every time I make chili, I kind of "wing" it -- in terms of ingredients and quantities.

                                                          1. re: prio girl

                                                            Unsweetened dark cocoa, like the masa harina slurry, rounds out the flavor of the chili. Sometimes I use it, sometimes not, but don't omit the masa. Your fineground cornmeal is similar, but not the same. The reason that the MesoAmericans had a complete diet with beans, squashes and corn is because they treated the corn with limewater to loosen the skin off the corn. In the process they unknowingly allowed the protein and other nutrients to become available dietarily in what is known as nixtmalinization. That's why they were healthier than a lot of people in our country in the early 1900's who had a similar diet without the corn limewater treatment. FYI, the treated, but unground corn is hominy, which is great in posole and menudo.

                                                            1. re: DavidA06488

                                                              I just discovered the joys of hominy, thanks for the history lesson! Bought a couple of cans yesterday just to have around, after making my first pot of pozole. So much better than regular corn.

                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                Sorry if I came off as preachy, but it's something I only came across about a year ago, and it fascinates me that in some ways the so-called "savages" were more advanced than the Europeans. And yes, hominy tastes far better than regular corn in posole. :)

                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                  Maybe try draining a can and heating (almost sauteeing) in a little butter for breaky....tasty.

                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                    Sounds good. I like the idea of subbing it for beans too.

                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                      Try cooking it from dried hominy. Takes it to another level.

                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                        Great, isn't it?

                                                                  2. re: DavidA06488

                                                                    When touring the cliff dwellings in CO, the guide specifically told us that the women were probably all anemic because their diet did not have enough iron in it. He mentioned that the lifespan of these people was probably not long, partially because of their limited diet.

                                                                    I have also read that with the coming of the cultivation of corn, tooth decay became prevalent in the early Native American settlements.

                                                                    I don't really think that a diet of beans, squash and corn is a complete diet. Lots of carbs, and not as much protein, for one thing.

                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                      At least in Mexico they cultivated turkeys and shot game, too. In North America in what is now the US, they didn't do the nixtmalinization(I don't think). From Mexico on south they did. But corn, beans and squash were the primary diet. Corn by itself does not produce iron. Beans have iron and protein in them, and supplemented by the iron and protein in animal meat that make the vegetable protein more available nutritionally. No one thing makes it all work, but without nixtmalinization corn isn't very nutritious.

                                                                  3. re: prio girl

                                                                    There is so much more to mole than chocolate. Mole is a complex flavor because of the amount of different ingredients in it. Chocolate does not make it mole. And, there are many types of mole.

                                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                                      Agreed. In any market in Mexico you can find 8 or 10 different kinds of mole, each wonderful in its own way. Why do you think that chocolate is associated with mole in most people's minds? IMHO it's because most people only know mole poblano. Do you think so?

                                                                      1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                        I'm not sure. But there are basically just two on the grocery store shelf, one with chocolate/cocoa, and a green one. Also, it might be due to chain restaurants or something. There are as many moles as there are cooks. Kind of like the ubiquitous "curry."

                                                                        1. re: wyogal

                                                                          Right! If you look for mole recipes, you find the 8 or 10 basic types, but as you say, there are as many variations as there are cooks. But, the number of ingredients in all of them are so much more than chocolate, and most don't include it.

                                                                          1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                            :)

                                                                  4. Salsa or salsa verde. Black beans.

                                                                    1. I like using fresh poblanos and mushrooms to my beanless chili ...

                                                                      1. I have a recipe from Epicurious for a cashew-based chili... think I only made it once or twice, but it was good.
                                                                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: truman

                                                                          Very interesting; I've bookmarked this for future use (perhaps even tonight, as I have one lonely ounce-square of chocolate left :) . I'd use white cannelini beans, which I quite like with chicken, and the cilantro can be replaced by parsley's non-soapy freshness .

                                                                          Thanks!

                                                                          1. re: megjp

                                                                            If you're going to do chicken and cannelinis, I'd do a green chili sauce with poblanos and tomatillos IMHO. I'm sure it will be great. I'd use chocolate with a red sauce that goes well with turkey and red meat. To me chicken's lighter taste needs a lighter green sauce. ??

                                                                            1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                              You're right, that flavour combination is very good -- I've made similar things before.

                                                                              I have, however, also had success by adapting an Epicurious recipe for chipotle-cherry chili that uses both cocoa powder and the chicken-cannelini combo. I find that, in general, chicken holds up better to strong flavours than people give it credit for. Perhaps this is because I don't use breasts but thighs and bone-in where possible; I generally buy free-range hippie meat; and I generally have homemade stock on hand to use when broth is called for in stews. I make red posole regularly with chicken thighs, even, and have never found them lacking.

                                                                              Nonetheless, I specifically wanted to try the recipe that truman linked because it intrigued me in terms of flavour combinations. I do love me some cashews :)

                                                                              1. re: megjp

                                                                                :-)

                                                                                1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                  I made this last night but didn't eat it; it's tonight's dinner, and I'll report back in WFD.

                                                                        2. I like pumpkin and sweet potatoes in my chili.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: gator28

                                                                            Well, please share recipe. Where did you come up with those ingredients for chili? Sounds interesting and tasty.

                                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                                              Well, I have been experimenting with vegan dishes and found this recipe for a sweet potato chili...I made a couple of modifications of course.

                                                                              http://www.blogher.com/frame.php?url=...

                                                                              I added a black beans, a can of pumpkin, red bell pepper, twice as much chili powder, a can of chopped green chiles, omitted the orange juice, and a little siracha. It came out terrific in my opinion! I'm not a chili purist though...no rules in my book.

                                                                              1. re: gator28

                                                                                Interesting recipe. I think black beans would be good with it too.

                                                                                Chili is food for the poor, or for emptying the pantry, or for a culinary adventure--in other words chili is whatever you want it to be.

                                                                          2. I add a bit of cinnamon and some mashed carrots to add a bit of sweetness and cut the acidity of the tomatoes.

                                                                            1. I'm of the mindset that chili is one of those food stuffs borne of necessity and clever invention which must be "remade" each time in that spirit. No chili should ever be made by following a recipe. Like good jazz, it's essence must be found through improvisation.

                                                                              In that vein, last summer's heirloom tomatoes provided the inspiration for Yellow Chili. Pork shoulder chunks seasoned with habaneros and Hungarian carrot peppers simmered in yellow tomatoes. Tasted great with a sweet, stinging heat.

                                                                              Also, today's NY Times offers up:

                                                                              http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/din...

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                I agree for the most part, but like great jazz, there's always a thread that runs through it. I've never had Hungarian carrot peppers. What are they like? One of my favorite chilies is New Mexico green chile pork stew. Had some of the best at the Albuquerque airport early one morning as I was leaving to fly back East. Love my own better, of course.

                                                                                1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                  They are also know as Bulgarian carrot peppers. They, as the name implies, are shaped like a carrot and yellow-orange in color. See, e.g, http://www.egardenseed.com/Bulgarian_...
                                                                                  They are quite hot with a bit of an earthy citrus flavor, though not as fruity and floral as habaneros. They fairly grow well here in the NJ summer, so they have become a regular chile for us. I like them best sliced thin with chunks of fresh melon or added to curries.

                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                    Thanks. It's a new one for me.

                                                                              2. I wonder where the "no beans in chili" attitude came from? Beans have been added to canned chili con carne for more than 100 years.

                                                                                Here's an ad from 1911 for Chili Con Carne with beans:

                                                                                http://tinyurl.com/6whcpfh

                                                                                20 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Antilope

                                                                                  I think it depends on where it comes from. Chili con carne literally means chile sauce with meat. If I wanted beans in it, I'd ask for chili con carne y frijoles. Texas and cowboy chili was made with what was at hand. Beans were, I believe, the most commonly available filling food stuff they had on hand, and so added to stretch it out and make it cheaper to make and to feed a crew. For some of us, the starch in beans tends to bland out the flavor of the chiles in the sauce. That's my only reason for saying no beans in the chili. As far as I'm concerned, people are welcome to add beans after they try the chili without, to compare. I think they'll choose a well-made chili without after the taste test. But then, that's just my own prejudice. ;-)

                                                                                  1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                    I always thought they started adding beans during the Depression, for restaurants to save money.

                                                                                    I HATE when I get a bowl of chili full of kidney beans, and after I pick them out, there's nothing left in the bowl. There oughta be a law!

                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                      Make mine pure! For sure!

                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                        http://tinyurl.com/7zn76dz

                                                                                        Here is another historical link. I did not know about chili Queens in San Antonio.

                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                          Great article. Had a couple of interesting recipes. Yeah, the Chili Queens were an interesting piece of the story.

                                                                                      2. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                        I assume that Chili con Carne is named that way because the original chili was without meat, and possibly was all beans. Like cowboy beans. So to designate the difference, Chili con Carne was used.

                                                                                        I don't really know any of this. Do we have a food historian in the house?

                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                          This is pretty interesting

                                                                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chili_co...

                                                                                          First documented 1519, wow. And all meat (not beef though), no beans.

                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                            Yeah. One of my ancestors was with Cortez, and not anxious to be part of the main course. My grandfather had the land deed from the king of Spain dated 1532. Doesn't change the importance of chili, with or without beans, but does give me an investment in authenticity, if you know what I mean.

                                                                                            1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                              That's pretty cool, wish I could trace my family back that far.

                                                                                          2. re: sueatmo

                                                                                            Chili is the sauce. It is universal in Mexico. Chili con carne is with meat. Chili con frijoles would be with beans. Chili as a Texan/cowboy dish was either with beans or without, but it's important to differentiate it from the sauce.. I think that the original cowboy/Texan dish with meat was with diced meat not ground meat. Beans were a staple of cowboy meals, and made a little meat and a lot of sauce go a long way. Today, Beans and rice as separate sides as a base for the chili serve the same function.

                                                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                              Chili is a sauce without meat or beans. It is the basis for everything else. I think that because the addition of beans was common in early days, they stopped calling it chili con frijoles or chili with beans, since it was understood that you had beans at every meal. By the way, in Mexico they throw either fresh or dried epazote (available through Penzey's) in with any beans they cook. Natural Beano. It works for me.

                                                                                            2. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                              http://tinyurl.com/7rw384b

                                                                                              Here is link purporting to give the original recipe. It specifically does NOT use beans in the chili recipe, or tomatoes. No chili powder either, but cumin and paprika and cayenne and black, I also note that it calls for garlic which I doubt was much in use in West TX. At any rate the chili could be served over beans. You only cook it for 30 minutes, and the recipe doesn't specify what sort of meat you are cooking.

                                                                                              Not sure how authentic the recommendations for serving are, but if served over beans, then perhaps that is how beans migrated into chili itself.

                                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                I see that you have done some research into the traditional preparation. I agree with 'no chili powder' because it is a combination of mild ground chile, Mediterranean oregano instead of Mexican oregano, salt and cumin. I use ground chile powder imported from Fort Worth, Texas as well as fresh or frozen homegrown chiles like serranos, habaneros and/or ghost peppers (bhut jolokia). Many old recipes call for Ge***rt's chili powder, but it is much too mild for me. My liquid of choice is beer.

                                                                                                1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                  I won't use habanero or bhut jolokia peppers, because they only add an amount of heat that doesn't give any other flavors to come through, IMHO. I do add beer on occasion. I use the term chili powder to mean the mixture as you do. I use the term ground chile meaning the ground dried pods of a particular chile, as I think you do as well. I think chile sauce has many wonderful variations depending on the chiles used and the spices and herbs, right?

                                                                                                  1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                    I usually use 1 habanero in my chili and flavor still comes through. I would be wary of bhut jolokias though, but since I loooove heat I would try it, if I had access to them!

                                                                                                    1. re: Solstice444

                                                                                                      Got some bhut jolokia sauce when I was in NM. The heat was barely tolerable. I use a single habanero when I do pickled shrimp, but that's another thread. I prefer to develop multiple layers of flavor with the chiles used and spices. Glad you enjoy the habanero chili.

                                                                                                  2. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                    I've used powdered bhut and it makes a fine chili.

                                                                                                    1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                      The chili powder you refer to with asterisks, is too mild for me too. And I'm no chili head.

                                                                                                      I do use chili powder. I like Penzey's medium hot the very best.

                                                                                                2. re: Antilope

                                                                                                  Here's an ad in the New Zealand Otago Daily Times newspaper from June 1863 for a
                                                                                                  ships cargo, including "chili beans".

                                                                                                  http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-...

                                                                                                  1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                    Wonder what kind of beans are/were indigenous to Tahiti, if that is where they came from.

                                                                                                    Carolina rice on this manifold, and the history thereof, is another intriguing issue, as one most often thinks of Carolina rice and its origin being in the Carolina states.But here we are: a shipment from Tahiti.

                                                                                                3. Couple suggestions from my chili file:

                                                                                                  Whole chile pods make better chili than chili powder. (Obviously...)

                                                                                                  A jar of salsa at the end can really brighten the flavor.

                                                                                                  Try bitter chocolate and red wine together. Or black coffee and ground allspice.
                                                                                                  Or a truly unexpected twist- dried apricots (don't laugh, this one has a sound molecular foundation) and replace half your cumin with turmeric, or use half curry powder instead.
                                                                                                  Well, the OP did ask about the unusual...

                                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                    Chili powder is, I believe, a mix of things, like curry powder. Make your own from ground peppers if you can't get the whole dried peppers. I have made chili (don't tell anyone I did this) with ground cinnamon and allspice. It adds interesting notes. Black coffee sounds interesting, too. I can see it adding dark notes, like guajillo peppers do.I'll have to try it sometime.

                                                                                                    1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                      There are two different types of powders sold here in the States under the name "chili powder." One is actual powdered chilis, the other is a spice blend for seasoning pots of chili. One needs to check the ingredients to be sure which of the two one is looking at. Myself, I keep a jar of the pure chili one around for when I don't have genuine pods on hand.

                                                                                                      1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                        Chili pepper = powdered red pepper, such as cayenne

                                                                                                        Chili powder = blended spices with chili pepper

                                                                                                    2. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                      I totally agree about the chili pods. I buy those, soak them in very hot water (water brought to boil, then heat turned off, then add the dried peppers - pouring off excess water so there's just enough to cover the pods), then, the hard part, I remove the seeds (hard when making a huge batch, which I tend to always do). Then the soft seedless pods go into the food processor and are pureed. The result is a thick, delicious red sauce (no tomatoes).

                                                                                                      1. re: vanyo

                                                                                                        My method, too. I refer to p. 77 in the book, "The Feast of Santa Fe.." It does roast for 4 minutes the chiles in heavy skillet previous to soaking.

                                                                                                        1. re: vanyo

                                                                                                          I do it a little differently. I destem and split open the dry pods, shake out the seeds, then toast the pods in a cast iron skillet, then simmer them in chicken broth, then all into the blender. In any case, as you say, rhe result is a thick delicious sauce. Question for you and Rella, do you vary the types of chiles you use to get different flavors for different kinds of meat you might use for the end product?

                                                                                                          1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                            I usually use only the Hatch and Dixon powdered chile - as mentioned above for when I make 'chili" either with beans and meat.. But as for the recipe I mention in The Feast of Santa Fe, I will not use certain kinds of peppers to make that red sauce recipe. For instance, I would not use habanero to make that red sauce.
                                                                                                            I only use this red sauce recipe occasionally, and then it is not for chile con carne or chile with beans.

                                                                                                            1. re: Rella

                                                                                                              I'm unfamiliar with Hatch & Dixon powdered chile(is it separate ground chile powder, or the combination of ground chile, oregano, cumin, etc all ground together?). When and for what do you make the chile sauce from The Feast of Santa Fe?

                                                                                                              1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                http://thechileshop.com/ They used to carry several other chile powders which I used, but now only seem to carry a few. If you don't know, Hatch is an town or area in New Mexico famous for its chiles, Hatch New Mexico. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatch,_.... I can't remember for sure, but I think "Dixon" is the name of a New Mexico chile powder. Also I liked the New Mexican chile powder which they used to carry "Chimayo." The Hatch chile powder I buy is not a blend; and I understand the Dixon is not either. I freeze it.

                                                                                                                The chili sauce I am speaking of is a basic sauce which one adds to it things like tomatos, OR heavy cream, other chiles, garlic or cumin or onion; used to make sauces for enchiladas dipping, This same basic sauce recipe is given for 'green' chiles' made with green chiles, not tomatillos as some think of when they think of green sauce.

                                                                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                  Thanks. I did see your reference to Hatch chiles further up in the thread after I asked the question. I have made a pilgrimage to Hatch up I-25 from Las Cruces. Surprisingly, I can get a variety of dried chiles here in the East, so I do mine from those. Since chili has become so popular, I can even get fresh poblano peppers, serranos, and jalapenos. I love to do a green chili pork stew with poblanos. Happy peppers.

                                                                                                                  1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                    I shop at Foodmaxx here in Winchester, VA which 'always' has fresh chilis. I buy the poblano peppers there because they not only fresh, but cheaper $1.49 vs. $2.99 a lb.

                                                                                                                    I have ONE fresh poblano recipe that I use, that I've used for years, but I always make my own sauce for it - not necessarily by recipe, but in the summer when I buy local chiles, I make and freeze a chili sauce which lasts me over-winter.

                                                                                                                    I actually prefer serranos to jalapenos in the cooking that I do because my main choice is Indian vs. Mexican.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                      I, too, prefer serranos to jalapenos, but in Mexican cooking.

                                                                                                        2. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                          I like your suggestions. I will try bitter chocolate and red wine. I have put red wine in chili before.

                                                                                                          When you specify bitter chocolate, do you mean unsweetened, or bittersweet? Surely not semi-sweet?

                                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                            Unsweetened.

                                                                                                        3. I quickly scanned the posts and decided not to post anything other than one statement.

                                                                                                          Some of the ingredients that I saw some posts were such that I would not call the concoctions CHILI.

                                                                                                          18 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                            Agreed, but to each his own.

                                                                                                            1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                              But don't give up on the thread. There are some good postings.

                                                                                                              1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                Would you accept the term "Crazy chili"?

                                                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                                                  Yeah, I think some of us, myself included, are traditionalists, and are a bit bemused by some of the crazy combinations. But that'swhat this thread is all about, right?

                                                                                                                  1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                    I see both sides of the fence, traditional/purists vs everyone else. Just being around the block, purist seems a bit.....tightcast, no? Im just saying...

                                                                                                                2. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                  They're just words. Vague reference points.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                    You want to see some strange chili ingredients?

                                                                                                                    Accent, MSG, Meat tenderizer, celery, mineral water, Snap-E-Tom.

                                                                                                                    World Chili Champions recipes 1967 - 2011

                                                                                                                    http://www.chilicookoff.com/Recipe/Re...

                                                                                                                    1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                      Strange is right.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                        Wow Antilope, thanks for that link, not only strange ingredients, but kinda "crap" ingredients (IMO) as well... bouillon cubes, powdered spices, canned stock, packaged spice mixes, etc. I suppose they need to do that because they are usually cooking for a crowd in those competitions? I have never tasted an International Chili competition winner's chili...but I am not really sure I would like it. I am not a "traditional" chili fan anyway. It bores me.

                                                                                                                        I tend to like unique things, made with fresh ingredients- not from a package. This thread is giving me some great ideas!

                                                                                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                          You have to remember those recipes go all the way back to the 60s- not only were American sensibilities very different back then (in 1967 many considered onion soup mix a new, exotic & exciting thing, for instance) but many of the ingredients we take for granted weren't widely available... or the techniques for using them weren't widely known.

                                                                                                                          1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                            2011 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
                                                                                                                            2010 Happy Trails Chili Seasoning
                                                                                                                            2009 Sazon goya seasoning
                                                                                                                            2007 MSG
                                                                                                                            2004 V-8 Juice, MSG
                                                                                                                            2003 Accent
                                                                                                                            2002 MSG
                                                                                                                            2001 Accent
                                                                                                                            1998 MSG, Beef granules, Chicken granules
                                                                                                                            1993 MSG
                                                                                                                            1992 Snap-E-Tom
                                                                                                                            1990 chicken bouillon granules, beef bouillon granules

                                                                                                                            1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                              In 2012 the winning recipe contained Sunsweet Pitted Prunes, but none of those danged beans!

                                                                                                                              Championship chili and they use store-bought chili mixes, MSG, Accent, dried bouillon cubes, artificial thickeners?

                                                                                                                              What kind of championship cook is that?

                                                                                                                              The Lance Armstrong's of Chili. ;-)

                                                                                                                              International Chili Society, World Chili Champions recipes 1967 - 2012 did allow these ingredients.

                                                                                                                              http://www.chilicookoff.com/Recipe/Re...

                                                                                                                              2012 Sunsweet Pitted Prunes
                                                                                                                              2011 Chicken Bouillon Cubes, Corn Starch
                                                                                                                              2010 Happy Trails Chili Seasoning mix (what's in that?)
                                                                                                                              2009 Sazon goya seasoning, arrow root
                                                                                                                              2007 MSG
                                                                                                                              2004 V-8 Juice, MSG, arrowroot
                                                                                                                              2003 Accent
                                                                                                                              2002 MSG
                                                                                                                              2001 Accent
                                                                                                                              2000 Arrowroot
                                                                                                                              1998 MSG, Beef granules, Chicken granules
                                                                                                                              1997 Meat tenderizer
                                                                                                                              1993 MSG
                                                                                                                              1992 Snap-E-Tom
                                                                                                                              1990 chicken bouillon granules, beef bouillon granules
                                                                                                                              1983 MSG
                                                                                                                              1982 MSG
                                                                                                                              1981 bouillon cube
                                                                                                                              1980 MSG
                                                                                                                              1979 MSG
                                                                                                                              1975 Chilli Man Chilli Mix
                                                                                                                              1970 package of 2 Alarm Chili Ingredients

                                                                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                I wholeheartedly agree with you!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                  That reads more like ad copy than a recipe. Seriously. Maybe the winner was the one to stuff the most sponsor products into the pot?

                                                                                                                              2. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                                Sure, but I was referring to the recent ones...like 2011.

                                                                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                  Hadn't realized that and I apologize if I sounded pedantic.

                                                                                                                                  Lot of MSG there (I always knew Accent was MSG, but was saddened a couple of years back when I found it's also the primary ingredient in Sazon) though I guess in a contest the tendency is to go for every advantage you can...

                                                                                                                          2. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                            No doubt. But if some of these strange ingredients are merely flavor-enhancers rather than the actual basis for the chili, I have no problem. If something other than beef constitutes the basis of the chili, then that recipe simply doesn't register with me. I just pass it by.

                                                                                                                            1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                              OP here. I just seems to me that chili can/could be made in many different ways. I don't think it is chili unless it has chile of some sort in it. (Powdered, fresh, dried, whatever.) And some sort of meat. There are so many varieties of chili, that I thought some cooks probably used "crazy" ingredients. I don't know why one could not hew to a purist list of ingredients for a pursit chili, but also enjoy experimentation in a dish of crazy chili. Being a purist is fine, but it can be boring being a purist all the time.

                                                                                                                            2. I use a little "Fort Worth Light" chili powder, a little mole and a little (more) Gebhardts chili powder. That's my chili blend. Tastes wonderful.

                                                                                                                              1. I recently had some chili made by my 24-year-old grandson. It was the 1st that I had chili with shredded beef. He has a tendency to use sriracha in the food that he prepares, but don't know if it was in this batch. His sister brought to our house when she came to visit. I must admit that the chili was really good. I have not had a chance to talk to him yet. He and I made chili together when he was 12-years-old.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                  Passing on the great tradition, huh? Way to go.

                                                                                                                                2. My chili follows the rule of three: three types of hot peppers (chipotles in adobo, pickled jalapeño, powdered cayenne) and three types of beans (white, black, and red kidney).

                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                    I would eat your chili, and probably ask for seconds.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                      Thanks! The recipe is here if you're interested: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6830...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                        I am, and thank you.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                          Mmm, looks good! I've made a very similar version, just using less chipotles and a habanero instead. And pink beans instead of black. But I love using a variety of beans, it makes it look prettier too, in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                    2. I always add coffee to mine for part of my simmering liquid. And (sacrilege, I'm a Texan, after all) a squirt of ketchup and usually a touch of tomato paste. I also really, really like to add jarred, pickled jalapenos (along with fresh).

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                                                        Nothing sacreligious about tomato paste, but that ketchup might raise an eyebrow or two. ;)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                          We usually add sweet potatoes and frozen corn near the end of the simmering period (some folks mentioned those already), but also chopped broccoli (or serve finished chili over steamed broccoli florets). We're also partial to several good shots of chili sauce and/or ketchup, and, if we're the only ones eating it, as much as a jar of Trader Joe's Habanero Lime salsa :)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ecd

                                                                                                                                            I like the idea of eating chil spooned over steamed broccoli. It might spark rebellion here, but I like the idea. . .

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                              My f-i-l likes to go to a fast-food restaurant where he likes the chili. I think they have broccoli there also, (as well as a baked potato).
                                                                                                                                              I'll bet there are many others like that same combo.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                            I'd deny to my death in person.

                                                                                                                                        2. Four years ago my then-office had a chili cook-off - me against 6 others. I don't really even like chili (no offense) but i won! i researched, a lot, and looked at slews of different recipes, on chili cook-off sites and the like, then made up my own recipe. Mine had no beans, and had tri tip, pork shoulder, ground beef, rib-eye and a touch of bacon in the protein department. i used dried whole chilis pulverized, i used corn meal, i used espresso, i used bitter chocolate. i used chipotle, cayenne, and habanero sauce. among other things. I'm happy to see here that most of my ingredients are widely used by fellow CHers. i like the idea of the masa harina slurry, instead of the cornmeal....

                                                                                                                                          my current place of employment is having a chili cook-off next week and i'm going to make my second batch of chili ever, hoping to take the title once again. however, i'm only up against one other woman this time. wish me luck!

                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                            Good luck! How can you not like chili?? All due respect though - your ingredients sound great!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: JerryMe

                                                                                                                                              Thanks!

                                                                                                                                              I don't know, JM, i just never developed a taste for it! i liked mine, but as I said, i've never even made it again (tho friends of mine have, so i know the recipe's pretty darned decent.)

                                                                                                                                            2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                              LUCK! Sounds good.... that's a LOT of different protiens, MC!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                Thx! i know. I called it The Big Meaty!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                "A touch of bacon in the protein department." REEEEEALLY...NO, not YOU! ;) That sounds fantastic! Go get 'em again, sista!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                  hahaha - you know it had to be in there somewhere!

                                                                                                                                                2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                  It does sound good. I only put the masa harina slurry in the chili for the last half hour of cooking, myself.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                                                    thanks, going to try that.

                                                                                                                                                3. I haven't read all of the replies yet, so maybe these are a repeat -

                                                                                                                                                  Grape jelly
                                                                                                                                                  Cocoa powder
                                                                                                                                                  Dried chilies (whatever chilies I find on sale, or are growing, and I can't use them all right away, I thread them up and let them dry in my kitchen, hanging off of a coat hanger. I'll pull one down and add it to whatever I'm needing some heat for)

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JerryMe

                                                                                                                                                    I don't recall anyone saying they put grape jelly in chili. What sort of chili would grape jelly go into? What does it add to the chili? Do you put grape jelly AND cocoa in a pot? Please share.

                                                                                                                                                  2. We had chili tonight. Lots of beans, corn, rotel, chili in adobo and spices. Used chicken breast cause hubby's on a diet

                                                                                                                                                    Edit; always topped with avocado, and cilantro

                                                                                                                                                    1. I make a fairly standard gringo-style chili - meat, beans, tomato etc. I have two rules - it must sit overnight before reheating and serving. Same day chili tastes unfinished to me. Then, while reheating, I add some pressed garlic and some chopped cilantro at the end. These give a nice fresh kick to things.

                                                                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                                                                        I agree about sitting overnight. Mine is refrigerated and reheated the next day, normally. I add beans then too.

                                                                                                                                                        The flavors blend better if left alone for awhile.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                          Adding beans to chili is heresy.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                            heresy as defined by what chili pope or council?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                              People have been adding beans to chili for more than 100 years. Up thread there is a link to a 1911 ad for canned chili beans. There were canneries in Texas that produced "chili beans". There is an 1860's ship manifest that lists "chili beans" as cargo. People have enjoyed beans in chili for at least 150 years.

                                                                                                                                                              Considering that "championship" recipes add things like Snap-E-Tom , msg, Beef granules, Chicken granules, Accent, Meat tenderizer , and Sazon goya seasoning, beans don't seem so bad. At least they are organic and natural, not something from a chemical factory. . ;-)

                                                                                                                                                              Using those ingredients in a championship contest is like using an aluminum bat in the world series.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                When you compare those chili ingredients to aluminum bats, do you mean that both are prohibited by contest rules, or that both are allowed but frowned upon by purists who would like to make the rules?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                  Considering the ingredients have artificial flavors, I would call it close to cheating. I should have said a corked bat. Or maybe steroids '-).

                                                                                                                                                                  I wonder when the first molecular gastronomy chili recipe will win the contest? Maybe they can add "beans" that aren't beans to get around the rules. '-)

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                              Not adding beans seems the greater heretical act.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                Beans started to added as an extender of the batch of chili, not to add flavor. Purists have frijoles refritos as a side dish if beans are wanted.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                  Years ago I stayed for a month with a Mexican family just south of the border. I don't recall beans being added to any of the stews or soups. Instead we ate them separately at the end of the meal.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                I offer to you a Gebhardt Chili Powder Co
                                                                                                                                                                booklet from 1911. It contains recipes and
                                                                                                                                                                color illustrations of their products.
                                                                                                                                                                .

                                                                                                                                                                Gebhardt Chili Powder Co., [ca. 1911

                                                                                                                                                                http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/...
                                                                                                                                                                .
                                                                                                                                                                http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id...
                                                                                                                                                                .
                                                                                                                                                                .
                                                                                                                                                                Now, I would like to direct your attention to page 24.

                                                                                                                                                                It is a color illustration of a can with the following text on the label"

                                                                                                                                                                GEBHARDT'S
                                                                                                                                                                EAGLE
                                                                                                                                                                CHILI CON CARNE
                                                                                                                                                                CON FRIJOLES

                                                                                                                                                                Gebhardt's Chili con Carne with beans offered for sale circa 1911.

                                                                                                                                                                http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id...

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                  "Adding beans to chili is heresy." . . . As my grandma used to say ..."You go to your church and I'll go to mine!".

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                  I make a lot, but the next day's chili is always best and we have it around for a few days. Chili, pot roast and chicken scarpariello are the three things I make that are vastly better the next day.

                                                                                                                                                                  Not that we wait, we just look forward to leftovers, too.

                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                                                                                  good tips. since i'll be making mine after work this week, it'll defnitely sit in the fridge overnight. maybe even two, half finished. like the idea of adding in the garlic and cilantro at the end for the kick.

                                                                                                                                                                4. full disclosure: i lost the office chili cook-off! the other woman's had only ground beef (mine had 4 kinds of meat) and i truly liked the depth of flavors in mine better, and hers had beans and mine didn't, but hers had more heat. i toned mine down because i thought people wouldn't be able to take it, but they went for the heat! hats off to her - back to the drawing board for me! and thanks to everyone for all the tips here. i LOVED using the masa harina slurry.

                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                    I demand a recount! Yours sounded awesome. Much better then just ground beef and heat.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunangelmb

                                                                                                                                                                      aww, you're so nice!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                      I agree with sunangelmb wholeheartedly. All I can say is give 'em HEAT and give 'em HELL next year if that's what they seek, because your recipe, ingredients alone, would seem to kick the other's ass. PLUS, what I said about EMPTY POTS SPEAK THE TRUTH! Rock on, Maria! Didn't you even put BACON in yours? How could that possibly lose?! SHEESH!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                        well doesn't that tell you that if i put BACON in something and STILL lost, i must've done something really wrong?!!

                                                                                                                                                                        but thanks, kattyeyes, for the support!

                                                                                                                                                                    3. Chili is nominated for dish of the month. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/869782

                                                                                                                                                                      Vote for it if you are interested in it being featured in October.

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                                        A little late, but I would've seconded the motion.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I often add Worcestershire. To me, gives the chili depth and a little lift, too (two opposing directions, I know).

                                                                                                                                                                        Then again, I could drink Worcestershire sauce, so maybe it's just me.

                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nicboston

                                                                                                                                                                          I often use Worcestershire in stir fry. People never know it is in there. Ketchup too.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                            Ketchup in your stir fry? Or chili? Or both? Sneaky...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nicboston

                                                                                                                                                                              Stirfry. But I would happily add it to the chili. I muck with the supposed unmuckable holy grail.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. When I want instant chili I mix in refried beans to thicken. So good. If I am doing all day chili I would do a masa slurry as pine time and others do.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. I realized that some of my posts were created in such a hurry that some words were missing from the text. My apologies for my haste, but I think most of the chowhounds who bothered to read my posts got the general idea of what I was trying to get across.

                                                                                                                                                                            I take this opportunity to iterate that BEANS DO NOT GO IN CHILI. OKRA, ZUCCHINI, BRUSSEL SPROUTS AND OTHER EXOTICA DO NOT GO IN CHILI.

                                                                                                                                                                            55 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                              What about diced celery? The World Chili Championship winners in 1969, 1977, 1978 used it.

                                                                                                                                                                              What about Pitted Prunes? The World Chili Championship winner in 2012 used that ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                Which of the 2 renowned chili organizations that sponsor contests sanctioned these cook-offs?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                                  International Chili Society

                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.chilicookoff.com/Recipe/Re...

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'M SHOCKED!!! The ICS has then lowered its standards.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                                      Or evolved.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                      ICS rules are:
                                                                                                                                                                                      "1. Traditional Red Chili is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat or combination of meats,
                                                                                                                                                                                      cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA
                                                                                                                                                                                      which are strictly forbidden."

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you for your support in the dictum that BEANS & PASTA are not valid ingredients for contest chili, and in my case homemade chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I have a bean concoction every morning for breakfast that I call 'arrabbiato minestrone denso.' It helps me maintain a low level of total cholesterol. I include chiles in the minestrone and I DO NOT call it chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                    But there were only 2 prunes, added at the start. They will disappear, adding just a hint of sweetness. Not all that different from adding some chocolate. I've used prunes in stews for a similar reason (though not in chili).

                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                                    I can understand the purist approach, but the shouting of "BEANS DO NOT GO IN CHILI. OKRA, ZUCCHINI, BRUSSEL SPROUTS AND OTHER EXOTICA DO NOT GO IN CHILI." seems quite strict. Iis this across the board? Or do you mean competition chili?
                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm curious about answering Antilope's queries as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                      Next we'll all hafta stay after class and write that on the blackboard repeatedly till we get it through our little minds, I guess, porker... ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                                      OP here. The topic is Crazy Chili. The idea is to hear what unusual or special ingredients fellow Hounds use in their chili creations. Of course beans go in chili if you like it that way. Don't be ridiculous. The very name, "Chili con Carne" or chili with meat indicates that there is somewhere a chili without meat. I assume that chili had beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                      If someone wants to put okra or zucchini in his or her own bowl of red, and they designate the dish as chili, it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                        Rick Bayless claims that the closest northern Mexican dish is Carne con chile colorado - meat with red chilies, or in a red chile sauce. There's no beans in that. There are cooked red (dried) chile sauces (without meat or beans). I've not read of, or eaten, an authentic Mexican dish consisting of beans in a chile (red or green) sauce. The idea of serving beans in a spicy chile sauce is more American than Mexican.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Bayless also quotes a Diccionario de Mejicanismos as:
                                                                                                                                                                                        "Chile con carne: Destatble food that under the false Mexican title is sold in the United States [of America], from Texas to New York." (p250, Authenitic Mexican).

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm getting a vibe that the OP is not worried about the textbook definition of "chili". As mentioned above, the topic is "Crazy Chili". Perhaps to put everyone at ease, we should call it "Faux Chili"? or maybe "I know it ain't chili, but I'd like to hear your variants"? or maybe "Chili is a combination of meat and chili sauce with two variants, green and red. Call me insane, call it a conspiracy, but I'd like to hear about other tyrant's attempts at tricking the world by including other tasty, crazy ingredients yet still call it "chili" "?
                                                                                                                                                                                          {;-/)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                            BEAN STEW!

                                                                                                                                                                                            BTW, I have nothing against beans. I have discovered a combination of ingredients including beans for stew that have lowered my total cholesterol from over 250 to 111 in 3 months. That was 5 years ago. At time of a daily dose of the stuff, I was on 3 medications to control hyperlipidemia. My cardiologist could only whisper "I'm amazed" when he saw the lab results.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Now here's the kicker. I eat this "arrabbiata minestrone denso" for breakfast (yes, breakfast) every morning that I am at home, and not traveling. I rarely am traveling. I'm still on meds, but at reduced dosages.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The minestrone is a combination of beans, vegetables, grains and extremely incendiary chiles. WHERE IS IT WRITTEN THAT ONE MUST EAT CEREAL FOR BREAKFAST???

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                                              The chili that I did not like as a kid was the typical Midwestern style, with a tomato sauce and lots of beans - kidney beans that is.

                                                                                                                                                                                              It wasn't until I discovered Jane Butel's Chili Madness, and the 2 Alarm mix that I started making the kind that uses meat and ground chile, and little else. That is still my starting point.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Once I cooked ox tails with chili like seasonings, and added some black beans on a whim. That worked very well, with the beans absorbing some of the fat. I still do that on occasion.

                                                                                                                                                                                              For some reason other beans just don't see right in chili, even though I do make stews with canelli or peruano beans. But my seasoning for those is more Spanish in style.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                Ugh. Kidney beans. If you're going to do a bean variation on chili, please use a tastier bean (Mom, I'm talking to you!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It wasn't so much the lack of taste that bothered me, but that they were large and mealy. As kid texture was a big part of 'taste'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I too not long ago started adding a small can of black beans to my big pot of chili. But kidney beans, yuck, I used to sit and pick them out and then guess what? There was nothing left.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I use kidney beans because I really like them and their texture plus they're higher fiber/lower carb, so it's a win win for me. Sometimes I use black soybeans instead for their zero net carb high protein content, but they're firmer than most beans and I like the mush factor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Diff'rent strokes. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                                                  What about blending or mashing black beans and adding them to the chili to add an earthy note and a thickener? The beans in that case would be a flavoring ingredient and for texture rather than a filler.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                                                    to chilidude: nowhere!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                      sueatmo, your statement confuses me. I'm 76 years-old, and not up on some one word declarations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                                                        ChiliDude, I'm guessing sueatmo was responding to this:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "WHERE IS IT WRITTEN THAT ONE MUST EAT CEREAL FOR BREAKFAST????

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "nowhere!" is, after all, *the* perfect answer. I NEVER EAT CEREAL FOR BREAKFAST. Today I had pizza and the dregs of a can of popcorn someone gave me in December. And iced tea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tomorrow, I'll have a bagel with smoked salmon, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Monday, leftover something from Sunday. Which is likely going to be Marcella Hazan's meatballs (from son Giuliano's cookbook).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the translation Jay F. Was your pizza cold right out of the fridge? That's that way I eat leftover pizza when there is leftover pizza. My wife is of Italian heritage, and as far as I know, people with Italian genes do not eat anything cold right out of the fridge. I differentiate fridge from freezer because of Ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                                                            No, I heat it up in the oven. I don't like cold pizza. Room temperature, no problem, but this had been in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Off-topic, but leftover pizza at room or even fridge temp is a great breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                          to chilidude: WHERE IS IT WRITTEN THAT ONE MUST EAT CEREAL FOR BREAKFAST??? nowhere!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm making minestrone tonight (and will probably have some tomorrow for breakfast too); curious what "grains" you use. I just use elbow mac. My goal this year is to get off those darned statins so I am trying for low carb diet, your numbers are amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                                                            ChiliDude,

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd like to see your recipe. While my total cholesterol is well under 200 and my LDLs are "almost too low" per my PCP, I am on medication. I'd like to see if I can eliminate it entirely. Share, Please!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The world chili cook-off now has a bean optional chili category. Chili is the North American version of curry. So many varieties, mostly good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            As a vegetarian who loves chili (with beans), I'll add my wacky ingredient: red wine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Relax, already. Sheesh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Relax, already"
                                                                                                                                                                                                              thats my point, plus a guy smiley face :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My reply was to ChiliDude - apologies. I wish we could see to whom we are replying... I swear I hit reply on the Bean Stew comment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chili is a celebration of experimentation. It's all good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I often add red wine to my chili, as I would to many meat dishes. If you have a great vegetarian chili recipe, please feel free to share!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My favourite ingredient in veg chili (I could call it bean stew, but I won't) is minced (in a food processor, for the uneven but fine chop) mixed mushrooms. I usually make it in a crock-pot. I start with 2 cups minced shitake and portobello mushrooms (gills removed). I sauté them until the water comes out (drain off as necessary) and they start to caramelize a little. I also sauté an onion and 3 or so cloves of garlic in butter with a small amount of cumin and oregano. In the crock go canned plum tomatoes, a small can of tomatillos, a chopped sweet green pepper, a chopped roasted red pepper, one finely minced carrot and parsnip, 2 chipotles in adobo, 1 crushed smoked cayenne pepper, 2 dried ancho chilies, 2 finely chopped dates, 1 minced fresh habanero or bird chili (depending on what's at the grocery), 1 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa, 1 tablespoon tamari and the veggies. I cook the sauce down in the crockpot until it's thickened and everything is pretty broken down (usually overnight on low).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I separately cook 2 cups each (dry) of soaked black and pinto beans in broth. Once the sauce is thickened I add the beans (and usually a shot of booze - whisky, dark rum, burbon and brandy all seem to work well - and cook until the beans are just barely starting to break down. They shouldn't be mushy. If it's too thick, I add some reserved broth from the beans. The minced veggies add some texture and flavour without being obvious big chunks of veg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I make a 7 quart crockpot every year for our boat club's opening weekend and I've never brought home leftovers. When I make it at home, I usually mix roasted chicken or turkey in for my SO and his sons. It's hearty, satisfying, spicy and flavourful without being really far out there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I haven't eaten meat in 20 years, in that time I have been subjected to any number of odd ingredients in "veggie chili". A lot of the time people seem to throw in everything but the kitchen sink and it just becomes a muddled mess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've also added roasted corn before, it's OK, but I prefer it without.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cannedchaos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Although I'm not a fan of vegetarian chile, what you do with the mushrooms adds some umami. It sounds pretty good in fact. I'll have to try it. Thanks for the post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cannedchaos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I actually have wondered if mushrooms wouldn't work in veg chili. Did you devise your recipe yourself?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It really sounds good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It is my understanding from having read several of my chili cookbooks that San Antonio, TX is the place of origin of chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Your citation attributed to Rick Bayless' finding in the Mexican dictionary also is cited on page 27 of the paperback book entitled "A Bowl Of Red" by Frank X. Tolbert published in 1988. The original hardcover book was published in 1953.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I found that the book has been reprinted again in 2002. I am fortunate to have a copy of the 1988 edition since it went out of print until 2002. Tolbert's daughter sent it to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I read "A Bowl of Red" maybe 25 years ago. I don't recall it very well, but I do remember it was the first time I saw the method of making a bowl of red (chili); vastly different than my mother's browned hash meat/"chili powder"/tomato sauce/canned kidney beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's my mom's chili. She made us eat some a few months ago. Salt was the main flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      To stretch a meal, my mom would serve it on white rice or egg noodles...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I still like it, maybe preferring it on a hot dog rather than by the bowl, but its only one variant (be it somewhat low brow) in a big world of chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My kids like chili [with beans, burn me at the stake ;) ] served over homemade mac 'n cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My sympathies with respect to your ordeal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My thanks to everyone who has submitted a post in response to this topic. IT HAS BEEN ENLIGHTENING!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ooh, wow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Do you need a hug after that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OK, but if I understand it, chili is not Mexican, but Tex Mex or possibly SW US. But honestly, does it matter? Most of the chili I've ever eaten has had beans in it. I am making a white chili tomorrow with loads of Great Northern beans and turkey tenderloin, and all I want is a great bowl of chili, however "inauthentic" it probably is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I like a certain amount of conservatism in foods, I admit. I hate to know that basic dishes in the American tradition--in all its diversity--are being over sweetened, over salted and over processed in our food culture. But I don't see that putting unique ingredients in one's own chili is a bad thing. And this isn't the place to fulminate against the "purity" of the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For me chili is an economical and tasty way to cook cheap meat and beans into a wonderful, savory dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You may be late to the conversation, but chili sauce and chili con carne are authentically Mexican, everything else is gringo food, but so what. This conversation is about crazy chili ( the NorteAmericano versions). Although I am a traditionalist, I recognize some tasty variations that are non-traditional and I'm willing to accept them and love them for their diversity. Viva chili!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Actually, I am the OP. I agree--Viva chili!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry, I should have recognized you. Love the conversation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                PS. I make a New Mexican green chili pork stew that is to die for, and would fall under the parameters of the discussion. Pork shoulder, poblanos, green New Mexico chiles, onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, chicken stock, and fire roasted tomatoes. Can't get enough of it. I guess I'm not all that much of a purist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My goodness, please share your recipe!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I got it from The Best of the Best New Mexico Cookbook and made just a couple of tweaks to fit my tastes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Green Chile Pork Stew
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2 - 3/4 inch cubes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 TBs All-purpose flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 TBs butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 c chopped onion
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 garlic cloves chopped
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 c peeled, chopped ripe tomatoes (or Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes which I prefer to add that smoked taste)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 tsp salt (only add a little at a time to taste)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ½ tsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ¼ tsp ground cumin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    20 fresh New Mexico chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, chopped (I usually use 8+ Poblanos and about 4 green New Mexico chiles )
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chicken broth (Your own is best)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Toss the cubed meat in the salted and peppered flour.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Brown the meat in a dutch oven.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Soften the onion and garlic to one side of the meat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Add tomatoes, oregano, cumin and enough broth to allow it all to become a loose stew or soup (as you like).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cover loosely and simmer an hour - add broth as necessary.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Add the chiles and simmer another 30 minutes or so.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Serve with a squeeze of lime on the side.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Buen provecho!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That looks great - such a tiny dab of cumin, though - did the original recipe have more? I woould expect about a Tablespoon here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nope. But you should adjust to your tastes. While I find cumin a necessity, to me a Tablespoon would overwhelm the balance of flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This sounds so good. I noticed that Hatch chile peppers were freely available late in the year here. Would this recipe work for those?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I believe they would, as long as they were green. It would be different if they are the fully ripened red ones IMHO. As far as I know Hatch chiles are New Mexico chiles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. Once at the lunch counter in Whole Foods I saw that they were selling Sweet Potato Chili. Can't comment on it as I passed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          One wonders what it might be? Probably vegetarian? Cubed sweet potatoes instead of beans? I probably would pass too unless I could get a free taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I made chili a few weeks ago with assorted veg (including sweet potatoes), garbanzos, and hominy, along with cumin, ancho, jalapenos, tomatoes, etc. No, not at all "real" chili, but healthy and delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Serious Eats has an interesting chili recipe. I haven't tried it yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This recipe is from J. Kenji López-Alt, the developer of the famous Cook's Illustrated Vodka Pie Crust recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "The Best Chili Ever"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/01/ho...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Hell, "chile con carne" means chile peppers and meat. The recipe/concept is ancient. It wasn't invented in San Antonio, it's as timeless a recipe as "stew" in the Western tradition. According to Wikipedia (dumbed down, albeit accessible source, I know)* there's a documented recipe to it dating to the beginning of the Sixteenth Century - long before Texas even existed. Certainly, it was a staple long before that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Clearly, the concept of braised meat in the indigenous tomatoes and hot peppers in order to stretch the meat is not something different than doing the same thing with meat, water, and whatever grasses, herbs, and "vegetables" were at hand in Africa, Asia, or Europe. It is a primitive cooking technique. To assert that any "chili" is authentic, or "created" anywhere, is culinary nonsense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chili_co...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. a table spoon of unsweeted chocolate really puts it over the top!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Some Chipotle is also a good mellow heat and flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I also add corn chips, as well as a can of re-fried beans to thicken my chicken Tortilla Soup. I belive this would work very well with Chilli as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sparky403

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The unsweetened chocolate moves it toward mole poblano, though lacking the many spices of that dish, but the chocolate helps round out the chile flavor so it's not as sharp. That and a slurry of masa harina both help with that and the masa helps thicken the chile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sparky403

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I always add one whole chipotle in adobo to a pot of chili... good background heat and smokiness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Sausage & 17 Bean Chili
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.insidethekaganoffkitchen.c...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  17 Bean White Chicken Chili
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.mommiecooks.com/2011/03/21...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Vegetarian 15 Bean Chili
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.landolakes.com/recipe/1239...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Black and White Bean Turkey Chili
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.recipesecrets.net/forums/y...