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Chili--Beans or no beans? [moved from Texas]

r
randyjl Jun 2, 2012 05:35 PM

OK Texans, I know I am opening a "can of worms" but...beans or no beans in your red meat chili?

  1. PotatoHouse Jan 4, 2013 04:32 AM

    NO beans in chilli!!

    Although I am not averse to eatin' me a mess of chilli beans (which is a TOTALLY different dish)!

    1. DoobieWah Aug 21, 2012 04:57 AM

      Y'all are funny.

      Santa Ana passed a law saying that Texas Chili... COULD NOT... contain beans.

      Do you know what happened to him?

      (Wasn't pretty.)

      1. t
        Tom34 Aug 19, 2012 07:23 PM

        I just love Chile & prefer no beans...... Fresh made chile w/onions & cold beer just can't be beat, no matter how you make it. Also warms you to the bone after a couple hours behind the snow blower. One area Texan's can't be beat though is those smoked beef ribs. G.D. those things are good.

        1. Karl S Aug 19, 2012 05:07 AM

          Well, since you addressed this to Texans, your point of reference is Texas chili, so I am not surprised by your answer. It's kinda like asking about carbonara or ragu alla bolognese: the dish name does refer to a specific, typical, group of things, and using it to refer to other things is an exercise in confused communication.

          That said, "chili" unmodified is, in broader American parlance, like simple "ragu" in Italian - it covers a much wider range of things that are meat and/or leguminous stews highly seasoned with a feature of chillies in some way. My own AAA (Almost All American) Chili is comprised mostly of ingredients from the New World (garlic, onion, ground coriander, cumin, black pepper being IIRC the only Old World parts of it; the meats are turkey and bison, then black/pinto/dark red kidney beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, white corn, roasted salsa verde (oops, that has cilantro in it)) and then all the ground spices and chillies. It happens to be incredibly healthy (about 22% fat, 33% protein, less than 200 calories per very dense cup...) and very tasty.... I developed it once for an All-American Thanksgiving that was not centered around just roast turkey, but used more of the New World's bounty, as it were.

          33 Replies
          1. re: Karl S
            h
            hawkeyeui93 Aug 19, 2012 06:15 AM

            So, do you hunt your turkey too?

            1. re: hawkeyeui93
              Karl S Aug 19, 2012 11:02 AM

              Being a modern New World guy, I don't have to. Nor the bison. Nor do I farm all the rest. Modernity has brought some advances in food procurement. This being the New World, we embrace them with alacrity.

            2. re: Karl S
              Perilagu Khan Aug 19, 2012 07:10 AM

              That's a fair point. I suspect, however, that insofar as a source can be discerned, Texas is the origin point of chili and that it was later adopted--and very much adapted!--by the rest of the US and points beyond as Harters can attest. Texas chili, therefore, should have primacy.

              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                h
                Harters Aug 19, 2012 08:16 AM

                Ah, now if Texas was to join the European Union, it could apply for "Texas chili" to be given Protected Geographical Indication status, as the Cornish Pasty has. Although we'd probably insist it be "chilli", not "chili".

                1. re: Harters
                  shanagain Aug 19, 2012 08:46 AM

                  Good god, don't give our governor any ideas, please.

                  1. re: shanagain
                    j
                    James Cristinian Aug 19, 2012 09:01 AM

                    Actually, we don't have to worry about the "guvner" getting us into the EU, it's the Lieutenant Governor that would sponsor the legislation, all the Governor could do is veto it. Now Harters and his UK brothers would pronounce it "Lefftenant Governor." Now if W was still around he could probably pull it off and protect our chili.

                    1. re: shanagain
                      h
                      Harters Aug 19, 2012 09:13 AM

                      I'm a student of history and know what happened last time Texas decided to leave the Union . Perhaps I've had better ideas. :-0

                      1. re: Harters
                        Perilagu Khan Aug 19, 2012 09:46 AM

                        Leaving the Union might not be a bad idea. But, alas, not to join another! ;)

                        1. re: Perilagu Khan
                          h
                          hazelhurst Aug 19, 2012 11:19 AM

                          Well, the site of the old Embassy of the Republic of Texas to the Court of St. James is just sitting there. There is precedent, so beloved of the Common law.

                        2. re: Harters
                          j
                          James Cristinian Aug 19, 2012 09:48 AM

                          Harters, history buff also..How do explain the popularity of chili where you live? Is there any chance it was introduced by US servicemen in WWII? Pizza was purportedly popularized in the US by returning soldiers from Italy. I know my father wasn't responsible, no chance my Polish grandparents had chili on their Southeast Texas farm. By the way, Dad bombed Fortress Europa out of a B24 in 1944 and 1945, stationed in England with the Mighty Eighth. Grandad was a Doughboy. I'd love to knock back a few pints with you in a real pub, talk history, and eat copious amounts of fish, and maybe a chip or two.

                          1. re: James Cristinian
                            h
                            hawkeyeui93 Aug 19, 2012 10:00 AM

                            James: My BA in History also suspects that the availability of commercial cookbooks and magazines like Better Homes and Gardens starting in the 1930's is part of the equation. The other part is the advent of travel and all of the military bases scattered throughout Texas had servicemen bring it home to their families in the hinterland. I smell a Ph.D. in History dissertation here folks!

                            P.S. My 89 year old Irish-American grandmother once explained to me why she put beans in chili .... Cheaper to feed six kids with lots of beans and a little meat.

                            1. re: hawkeyeui93
                              Perilagu Khan Aug 19, 2012 10:06 AM

                              Yes, Route 66 and the interstate highway system, not to mention the proliferation of automobiles, undoubtedly contributed to the dissemination of chili. Probably not to Perfidious Albion, alas.

                            2. re: James Cristinian
                              h
                              Harters Aug 19, 2012 10:18 AM

                              James - military history is my "thing" - mainly the Great War (so I'd have an interest in your Grandad). Most of my trips to America have involved visiting sites related to the War Between the States (as will the one I'm planning for next year). They've also involved much eating :-)

                              Chilli con carne started to become popular here from the 1970s. Maybe it does date back to US soldiers being here during WW2, but my guess is that it doesnt. I think it will just tie in with changes in British eating habits from around that time as we started to travel abroad more for holidays and became more open to new things. It would also be the same time as Indian food started to become popular. I've got a 1971 cookbook and there's a recipe for it there (attributing it as a Mexican dish)

                              1. re: Harters
                                j
                                James Cristinian Aug 19, 2012 10:32 AM

                                Harters, chili is not Mexican at all, sure you know that. The wife's family is from Mexico and she never had it until she ate mine. She does eat the heck out of beans, in various concoctions she makes, but doesn't call chili. History note on my Father and Grandfather and military hoidays. November 11th here was called Armistice Day, until changed to Veterans Day, infuriating Grandad and othe Great War vets. May 31st, Memorail Day, Dad's birthday, is now celebrated on the closest Monday, equally upsetting him. Did you catch the Michael Palin special about the lasts minutes on 11/11? Fascinating and very sad.

                                1. re: James Cristinian
                                  h
                                  Harters Aug 19, 2012 11:06 AM

                                  Similar here, James.

                                  11/11 used to be Armistice Day (and still is, of course) but the main commemoration is now on the nearest Sunday and is called Remembrance Sunday. I visit our village war memorial on 11/11 because the religious aspect on the Sunday doesnt suit.

                                  Yep, saw the Palin programme. Can't recall if it touched on it but the first and last British Empire casualties are buried within a few feet of each other. Amazing con-incidence. Hoping to visit that cemetery next year. To keep on a food track - great area for mussels and chips (Brit chips that is)

                                  John

                      2. re: Perilagu Khan
                        Karl S Aug 19, 2012 11:01 AM

                        Like at some point there was an ur ragu, but the term ragu unmodified is generic, so too chili unmodified is generic, not specifically Texan, in American usage.

                        The point is not so much authenticity as clear communication. Texas chili is specific; chili is not.

                        1. re: Karl S
                          Perilagu Khan Aug 19, 2012 12:13 PM

                          True. But this thread itself is about the very nature of chili, not the associated nomenclature. And as such, I fully believe those vaunting the original (or near original) version of this dish have the much stronger argument.

                          1. re: Perilagu Khan
                            Karl S Aug 19, 2012 01:19 PM

                            I am not persuaded. The nomenclature is easy: "Texas chili" covers the meaning of no-beans; "chili" not necessarily. Very simple, and makes the etiology of the dish not relevant. It describes how most Americans think of and talk about the dish: put it this way, if most Americans didn't, then Texans would not have to be trigger happy about the no-beans issue. That demonstrates the resolution of the problem.

                            1. re: Karl S
                              Perilagu Khan Aug 19, 2012 02:02 PM

                              Sorry, but I'm not about to allow aberrant redefinitions (and rebrandings) of chili coopt the true original just because they're majoritarian. What we make in Texas is chili. To the extent you adulterate it with beans or whatever, you make pseudo-chili. Democracy isn't foolproof.

                              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                JonParker Aug 19, 2012 02:10 PM

                                You keep insisting that chili is a Texas dish and that this is the only true chili. You also keep insisting that it was invented in the 1800s. Both of these are demonstrably false.

                                While I was being flippant that true chili contains ground Spaniard, the fact is that a dish that is recognizably chili goes back to at least 16th century Mexico. And the logical end to your argument would have to be that it contain human flesh if you wanted to be completely "authentic." I assume that's not where you want to go.

                                1. re: JonParker
                                  Perilagu Khan Aug 19, 2012 02:54 PM

                                  There may be a 16th-century Mexican dish that resembles chili, but that particular chili did not migrate to Texas. In Texas, chili developed independently from your chile con conquistador, which is, I suspect, apocryphal to begin with. The lineage of American chile begins in Texas in the late 19th or early 20th century.

                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                    JonParker Aug 19, 2012 06:08 PM

                                    I'm sorry, but you have to go a long way to convince me that the idea of cooking meat and chile peppers just suddenly occurred to some ignorant cowhand when the same principle had been used for over 300 years in the nation that Texas was a part of for most of that time. I know that Texans like to give themselves credit for inventing everything worthwhile in the history of mankind, but that's carrying it a bit too far.

                                    1. re: JonParker
                                      shanagain Aug 19, 2012 06:41 PM

                                      Whoa, bro. Since when was this about anything other than "Texans: beans or no beans?" The animosity against Texas, or Texans, simply has no place on a food board.

                                      Take it elsewhere, if that's what it's about.

                                      1. re: shanagain
                                        JonParker Aug 19, 2012 06:58 PM

                                        I have no animosity against Texans: I've lived in Texas, grew up with Texans, and count a lot of them amongst my good friends. But c'mon, there is a native pride that justified or not you don't see elsewhere. I'm sorry, but Lone Star is not the best beer on earth. There are variations of chili that are perfectly legitimate. And frankly, I think pulled pork BBQ is far superior to any beef version.

                                        1. re: JonParker
                                          shanagain Aug 19, 2012 07:27 PM

                                          You're right, we're utterly wrong to be proud of our state, and our state dish. May.ah.culp.ah. Have you lived in, say, New York? I have (and married a native - who is now more "Texan" than I am) and can tell you that you DO see it elsewhere. Everywhere, in fact.

                                          I'd love, and I mean LOVE to see proof that Lone Star is drinkable, much less the best beer on earth. Talk shi& about Shiner, though, and we'll have a new fight for a new day. ;) And we've been saying that there ARE legit chilis - they're just not "chili" - they're a variation thereof. It's like saying Ragu brand sauce is authentic Italian ragu - there's going to be a big disagreement. And no matter how many times you, and others, on this board have tried to pick the fight, BBQ just comes down to preference; as long as it's smoked meat, it's barbecue - whether you prefer pork of beef is of no consequence to most of us.

                                          You're creating a fight that doesn't exist. Why do you, why *would* you, care that we're passionate about our state dish and how it's represented to the world? Name any other region that would feel differently, and I'll name a region that is culturally ambivalent.

                                          1. re: JonParker
                                            Perilagu Khan Aug 20, 2012 07:33 AM

                                            Just for the record, my wife, a Pennsylvania yankee whose family remains in eastern PA, demanded that we return to Texas after having lived in New Jersey for two years. I acquiesced.

                                            1. re: JonParker
                                              s
                                              Scream Jan 3, 2013 03:43 PM

                                              Again, I agree with you. I can't think of BBQ as anything but delicious vinegary pork. That tomatoey beef stuff passing itself off as BBQ is detestable to me.

                                          2. re: JonParker
                                            Perilagu Khan Aug 20, 2012 07:30 AM

                                            Fine. Please, in a well-sourced historical treatise, trace the lineage from said ignorant cowhand to the cannibalistic Aztec savage. I've seen no evidence that chili migrated from Mexico to Texas. There is, on the other hand, ample evidence suggesting chili was a function of Texas' burgeoning beef industry circa 1900.

                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                              h
                                              hazelhurst Aug 20, 2012 07:58 AM

                                              I won't say it is well-sourced...and I'd object to it as hearsay...but again, in Smith's "Nobody Knows As Much About Chili As I do"(which is five minutes' reading and is online) you can see he reports one theory from Denal Diaz del Castillo's account of the unspoiled days of Olde Mexico with Club Cortez in the 16th Century. Per Smith, this report describes butchering of some conquistadores who are then distributed and prepared. Smith, in dismissing this claim to an "ur-chili" suggests that if you DO adopt this as the truth then your recipe must begin "First you catch a lean spaniard."

                                              Do avail yourself of the pleasures of this earlier campaign over smiliar territory.

                                              1. re: hazelhurst
                                                JonParker Aug 20, 2012 08:47 AM

                                                That was exactly the point I made in my first post on this thread. Even if you accept del Castillo's story as being apocryphal, it's pretty obvious that the Aztecs were adding some sort of meat to tomatoes and chile peppers in the 16th century. Since the Aztec empire went as far north as Tampico, it defies credulity to think that in 300 years the cooking style never moved farther north than that.

                                                I did read Smith's article, and while I disagree with him about the origins of chili, he did have the best line I've ever read on subject. "You may suspect, by now, that the chief ingredients of all chili are fiery envy, scalding jealousy, scorching contempt and sizzling scorn." How true that is.

                                                1. re: JonParker
                                                  h
                                                  hazelhurst Aug 20, 2012 08:52 AM

                                                  Smith---and his "mortal enemies" Wick Fowler and Frances X. Tolbert---would have been very upset if you DIDN'T disagree...the more swearing and name-calling, the better.

                                                  1. re: JonParker
                                                    Perilagu Khan Aug 20, 2012 09:31 AM

                                                    Some sort of meat, but probably not beef. And tomatoes, frankly, are almost as iffy as beans.

                                                    The reality is--and accepting the possibility of independent occurrences south of the Rio Grande centuries ago--the American chili phenomenon originated in south and central Texas around 1900. And the possibility of different chili occurrences at different times in different places does not prove they were linked. Cultural developments can be and often are autochthonous.

                                        2. re: Perilagu Khan
                                          Karl S Aug 19, 2012 02:16 PM

                                          ROTFLMAO

                              2. h
                                hawkeyeui93 Aug 17, 2012 10:27 AM

                                Maybe even a better question is why do people near the Cincinnati, OH area serve up what taste to me like cinnamon meat sauce [and then place it on spaghetti] and call it chili ....

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                  Perilagu Khan Aug 17, 2012 11:45 AM

                                  I dunno, but I aim to substitute tequila for red wine and serve my French stew over two tuna sandwiches from Subway and call it Boeuf Bourgignon.

                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                    h
                                    hawkeyeui93 Aug 17, 2012 11:48 AM

                                    Wow, that just might work .... The tequila is key. What do you plan to use? :)

                                    1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                      j
                                      James Cristinian Aug 17, 2012 12:37 PM

                                      Khan, be sure to use ciento porciento Blue Agave or else you will wake up with a horrible hangover.

                                  2. re: hawkeyeui93
                                    p
                                    pine time Aug 18, 2012 09:47 AM

                                    Gotta represent for Cincy chili--grew up on the stuff, but it's in its prime as a 5-way: spaghetti, chili, super-fine grated cheese, onions, and oyster crackers. The name sound provocative, and it IS, but only in what other diss as not-chili!

                                  3. h
                                    hawkeyeui93 Aug 17, 2012 09:13 AM

                                    And in all honesty, adding beans to red meat chili should be more fairly characterized as a soup ....

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                      Bacardi1 Aug 17, 2012 10:15 AM

                                      Uh, no. Even though I add beans to my chili, it's thick enough to stand a spoon in. Why do you feel it would have to be characterized as a "soup". Doesn't make any soup. A soup is a soup - doesn't make any difference if there are beans in it or not.

                                      1. re: Bacardi1
                                        h
                                        hawkeyeui93 Aug 17, 2012 10:21 AM

                                        Um, I dunno. A soup can indeed be thick enough to stand a spoon in IMHO. Or if you prefer, we can call it chili stew! And I don't mind adding beans frankly. But, you're never going to be able to argue that what you serve up is what Texans and others consider to be "true" red chili ...

                                        1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                          j
                                          James Cristinian Aug 17, 2012 10:32 AM

                                          hawkeyeui93, your last sentence was the most intelligent, succint point I've read on this topic and another one a couple of years ago. Bravo! This thread should be locked immediately.

                                          1. re: James Cristinian
                                            h
                                            hawkeyeui93 Aug 17, 2012 10:40 AM

                                            Thanks James! It reminds me of a recent discussion with a Californian about what to eat in Dallas other than Tex-Mex because California's Mexicali was better. I gently reminded him that both are indeed different, yet each held their own merits.

                                    2. dave_c Aug 16, 2012 12:11 PM

                                      Since this now a General Topic, chili con carne can have beans or not. It all depends upon how you like it.

                                      49 Replies
                                      1. re: dave_c
                                        Veggo Aug 16, 2012 04:34 PM

                                        The input moving forward will be skewed toward the inclusion of beans. In the Nation of Texas, chili doesn't include beans. Period. And who in New Hampster or Waste Virginia is qualified to say otherwise?

                                        1. re: Veggo
                                          bbqboy Aug 17, 2012 12:08 AM

                                          It is only the arrogance of Texans that allows them to assume that the rest of the World cares what they think.
                                          bbqboy, 1/2 Texan by birth
                                          for the record, my father's recipe, by way of Paint Rock, Ballinger, and San Angelo, included pintos on the side.

                                          1. re: bbqboy
                                            Tripeler Aug 17, 2012 01:45 AM

                                            Exactly! Have the beans as an optional add-in. Everyone stays happy. Besides, the beans taste better when not cooked with the meat and chili spices.

                                            1. re: bbqboy
                                              Veggo Aug 17, 2012 06:54 AM

                                              There is also the ignorance of some Texans who don't know there is a rest of the world...:)

                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                DoobieWah Aug 17, 2012 08:07 AM

                                                But that's nothing compared to the ignorance of the rest of the world...

                                                ....about Texas!

                                                1. re: DoobieWah
                                                  d
                                                  DKramer Aug 17, 2012 08:34 AM

                                                  +1 (hee hee)

                                                  1. re: DoobieWah
                                                    Lambowner Aug 18, 2012 08:36 AM

                                                    Can we get a "like" button on here so's I don't have to rouse myself to actually post "like?" +2

                                                    1. re: Lambowner
                                                      shanagain Aug 18, 2012 12:09 PM

                                                      Sure, right after we get to bold and italicize. (clutches pearls and fans self briskly)

                                                      1. re: shanagain
                                                        Perilagu Khan Aug 18, 2012 01:02 PM

                                                        Heh heh. You're gorgeous when you swoon.

                                                2. re: bbqboy
                                                  h
                                                  hawkeyeui93 Aug 17, 2012 08:09 AM

                                                  bbq: I'm surprised it didn't include goat meat .... but, then again, you didn't list the town of Brady. BTW, I lived in San Angelo for seven years ....

                                                  1. re: bbqboy
                                                    d
                                                    DKramer Aug 17, 2012 08:29 AM

                                                    I don't sit up at night worried about how much authority the rest of the world puts into Texans' thoughts about it. Texas red doesn't contain beans or other fillers. It's a simple statement of fact. Two different international (not just Texas) chili organizations sponsoring professional cook-offs don't allow fillers including beans in the chili. On the side is fine.

                                                    Here's an "on the side" note: The Chili Appreciation Society International has been holding the world championship chili cook-off in Terlingua since 1967. Eleven first place finishers have NOT been from Texas. So yeah, I think we've pretty much got it sorted out.

                                                    1. re: DKramer
                                                      h
                                                      hawkeyeui93 Aug 17, 2012 08:39 AM

                                                      Texans certainly have a large share of the hubris market cornered IMHO .... and the best chili I have tasted was in a dive in the State of New Mexico.

                                                      1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                                        Perilagu Khan Aug 17, 2012 08:56 AM

                                                        It's not hubris. The fact is Texas is THE state for chili, and as such, what Texans say about chili carries more weight than what somebody from Vermont says about it. And I'm not about to tell Vermonters their business when it comes to maple syrup. I respect that they're the experts. A pity others can't do the same with respect to Texas and chili.

                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                          h
                                                          hawkeyeui93 Aug 17, 2012 09:09 AM

                                                          I'm talking about hubris in the general sense and you can listen to Texans if you like concerning chili, but some of the best stuff comes from their neighbor to the immediate West. Importantly, I won the Texas Tech University Chili Cook-Off in 1996 as a native Iowan, so pardon me if I don't listen solely to Texans per se for how to make it. After all, the originator of chili [Cookie] is long dead in the ground. Further, I can tap my maple tree in Iowa and turn out the same maple syrup without being in Vermont.

                                                          1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                                            Perilagu Khan Aug 17, 2012 10:02 AM

                                                            Congrats on your cookoff victory. Just out of curiosity, what was the source of your chili lore? The Chili Appreciation Society of Keokuk? ;)

                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                              h
                                                              hawkeyeui93 Aug 17, 2012 10:11 AM

                                                              No, it instead came from having a mother that was a lover of chiles and growing up in a place with both the best topsoil in the world and some mighty fine bovine to boot. To say I am from Keokuk is fighting words my friend! :)

                                                              P.S. I grew up on the East Side of Des Moines near what used to be the packing plant corridor my great-grandfather helped unionize back in the 1930's [and that no longer exist].

                                                              1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                                                Perilagu Khan Aug 17, 2012 10:15 AM

                                                                A chile-lovin' mama from Des Moines, eh? I've got to think that's a mighty rare thing. You were fortunate. Any idea what piqued her interest in that most wonderful fruit?

                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                  h
                                                                  hawkeyeui93 Aug 17, 2012 10:23 AM

                                                                  I think she smoked too much dope in the 1960's IMHO. She is indeed an atypical Iowan in that regard [with her love of chiles]. Thankfully, she loves spicy food and passed it on to me.

                                                                  1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                                                    Perilagu Khan Aug 17, 2012 10:27 AM

                                                                    Heh heh. I suspect some of the late sixties chili cookoff participants down in Terlingua partook of some inebriating substances as well. At least judging by some of the madcap recipes I've seen.

                                                          2. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                            Veggo Aug 17, 2012 09:09 AM

                                                            Horrors!!... you mean the Green Mountain boys from Vermont... that wasn't all about Green Chili?

                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                              h
                                                              Harters Aug 17, 2012 09:15 AM

                                                              I am a mere foreigner in this discussion, Perilagu. And, when I eat chilli con carne, I am eating a foreign dish that has immigrated to my country and has developed its own style. I'm not sure how long we've been eating it in the UK - certainly 1970s which would tie in with our starting to holiday abroad in larger numbers. Perhaps no longer than that.

                                                              I will happily accept that Texas is *the" American state for chilli con carne. You appear to be suggesting that there is only a single style for making it within the state. Am I reading you correctly in this? If so, it would be like me suggesting that there is only one style of Lancashire Hotpot made in Lancashire, when it is patently obvious that there isn't. Or that a particular dish was an *authentic British curry" - which I will happily suggest. But it would be interesting if such an iconic dish did, indeed, have a single style.

                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                h
                                                                hazelhurst Aug 17, 2012 09:25 AM

                                                                Google "H. Allen Smith Nobody Chili" and you will get the germ of what became his monumental tome. This shootin' war has been goin on a LONG time, to my great delight. (See the remark about moulding chili into balls to hold down tent flaps, for example)

                                                                1. re: Harters
                                                                  d
                                                                  DKramer Aug 17, 2012 09:31 AM

                                                                  I think there are only 2 requirements to be able call something Texas red chili. Number one is at least one kind of chile pepper either powdered or fresh, whatever. And number 2 is some cut from the beef critter. There are restrictions, obviously, but to me, those are the only 2 must-haves.

                                                                  That leaves a huge margin for diffrerent styles, types, cooking methods and ingredients.

                                                                  1. re: DKramer
                                                                    h
                                                                    hawkeyeui93 Aug 17, 2012 09:39 AM

                                                                    +1000 .... Precisely!

                                                                  2. re: Harters
                                                                    Perilagu Khan Aug 17, 2012 10:11 AM

                                                                    Harters, if you go house-to-house in Texas you will indeed encounter manifold versions of chili. Some honest-to-God Texans even put beans in their chili, thus converting it to something else. But while there are many versions of what people call chili, the single, overriding form of the stuff, the one that attracts a fiercely loyal following, is the one featuring beef, spices, chile pepper, and a liquid such as broth and/or water. You will encounter many other ingredients, but they are ancillary, and provide background notes. But beef, pepper and liquid simmered slowly for a few hours--that's the basic gist of it.

                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                      h
                                                                      hawkeyeui93 Aug 17, 2012 10:12 AM

                                                                      Khan: Now. let's discuss brisket, which I learned to "more" properly prepare while spending thirteen-plus years in West Texas .... I'm kidding of course!

                                                                      1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                                                        Perilagu Khan Aug 17, 2012 10:18 AM

                                                                        I still haven't mastered the smoked brisket. Indeed, IMO smoking brisket well is so difficult that even most Texas cue joints don't get it right. Consquently, whenever I go out for BBQ I skip the brisket and head straight for the ribs and sausage. I'd make an exception if I visited one of the truly legendary joints down in the Hill Country, though.

                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                          h
                                                                          hawkeyeui93 Aug 17, 2012 10:31 AM

                                                                          Khan: It is still a work in progress, but I have learned to serve an edible one at least on par with some of the brisket I have had in Texas. One of my favorite briskets is served up by the Cooper's in Llano. I also like the triad in Lockhart [amongst others in the Hill Country].

                                                                      2. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                        h
                                                                        Harters Aug 17, 2012 10:22 AM

                                                                        Thanks for the further explanation, PK

                                                                        I certainly understand a dish having an "essential essence".

                                                                    2. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                      shanagain Aug 18, 2012 12:17 PM

                                                                      " And I'm not about to tell Vermonters their business when it comes to maple syrup. I respect that they're the experts. A pity others can't do the same with respect to Texas and chili."

                                                                      Hear, hear. This argument breaks out over tex-mex, as well - unarguably "ours" yet not, apparently. Maybe it's just cuz we're so ig'nant. I just don't know.

                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                        JonParker Aug 19, 2012 06:23 AM

                                                                        According to Spanish conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo, who wrote down the first known recipe for chili, the Aztecs prepared pots of tomatoes and chiles before a battle, intending to add the meat from the bodies of dead conquistadors. So the real question is does beef have any place in chili, or must authentic chili contain human flesh?

                                                                        1. re: JonParker
                                                                          h
                                                                          hawkeyeui93 Aug 19, 2012 06:49 AM

                                                                          Jon: I'm sure most Texans wouldn't recognize this as an "authentic" original source! After all, the Texas "legend" is that "cookie" first whipped it up on a cattle drive using wild onions, etc.

                                                                          1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                                                            shanagain Aug 19, 2012 08:38 AM

                                                                            What's with all the sarcasm-quotes? And why so divisive and/or apparently derisive towards the Texans? I find the Aztecan story interesting in a grizzly sort of way, but would, yes, say that the primary ingredients make it less a recipe and more an historical anecdote.

                                                                            I make, and enjoy, Cincinnati style chili every other winter or so. It's good stuff, and I have absolutely no qualms crediting it to Cincinnati. Does that mean they are the only ones in the world to have ever combined those flavors and serving style? Not so sure, but it's theirs, and bravo to them.

                                                                            ETA: Oh, nevermind, I see you have Tech as your Texan touchstone... at the risk of forever alienating P.Khan.. if that were my experience with west Texans I'd be a bit touchy about them too. ;) (Full disclosure... my eldest recently changed our lives by joining the Corps of Cadets at A&M, meaning I have to take the opportunity to be a jackass where it arises.)

                                                                            1. re: shanagain
                                                                              h
                                                                              hawkeyeui93 Aug 19, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                                              First, I wasn't being sarcastic. If you know anything about Iowans, we try to be devoid of personality as a general proposition. Now, that's a joke without the quotation marks!

                                                                              I went to law school in Lubbock and further lived in West Texas for thirteen years and the subject-matter and further conjecture about the origins of chili in Texas were often recycled in newspapers with the most common one being that cooks on the cattle runs perfected the dish.

                                                                              As far as Cinicinnati-style chili, I have no real issues with it other than it tastes and is otherwise served like spaghetti with a good, thick meat sauce to me. No judgment there, but instead my thoughts on it. Frankly, leave the spaghetti off and most Texans would be less critical of it than it would throwing beans in the mix.

                                                                              1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                                                                shanagain Aug 19, 2012 09:41 AM

                                                                                Forgive the assumptions, you know what they say about that word - I can't seem to resist the temptation to prove the rule. ;)

                                                                                1. re: shanagain
                                                                                  h
                                                                                  hawkeyeui93 Aug 19, 2012 09:43 AM

                                                                                  No worries! I put my foot in mouth enough to know that my Cole Haan needs a little red pepper flake ....

                                                                              2. re: shanagain
                                                                                JonParker Aug 19, 2012 09:16 AM

                                                                                How do the primary ingredients make it less of a recipe? Boil tomatoes with chiles, add chopped conquistador and heat through. That's just as complicated or as simple as some "authentic" chili recipes I've seen.

                                                                                I think some of the derisiveness towards Texan attitudes on this subject have to do with their absolute insistence that if it contains beans, it's not chili. Yet all the winning chili recipes have one or more brands of chili powder (essentially a seasoning mix) as their flavoring agent, along with onion and garlic powders. Those aren't "authentic" ingredients either. If you take the Texan story as being a true origin story, then authentic chili doesn't contain tomatoes either, as opposed to the Aztec version, which except for the choice of meat seems closer to what most people today would recognize as chili.

                                                                                Most foods have regional variations, but just because you grow up on North Carolina BBQ rather than Kansas City BBQ doesn't make either of them "not BBQ."

                                                                                1. re: JonParker
                                                                                  h
                                                                                  hawkeyeui93 Aug 19, 2012 09:31 AM

                                                                                  I grew up near KC. lived in West Texas, and have eaten plenty of NC Pork BBQ and frankly I like them all [albeit for different reasons]. Before moving to Texas in my early-20's, however, I thought all BBQ should be like what is made in KC and my part of the world ...

                                                                                  1. re: JonParker
                                                                                    Perilagu Khan Aug 19, 2012 09:42 AM

                                                                                    Re beans vs. garlic/tomato

                                                                                    I think the reason chili purists rebel so strongly against beans is because they compete strongly with beef as being the base of the dish. They are, in some sense, meat-like. Garlic and a bit of tomato (the latter often considered verboten, BTW), however, are simply flavor-enhancers, and as such don't cause a batted eye, even though they may not have appeared in the very first bowlared back in 18-aughty aught or whenever.

                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                      shanagain Aug 19, 2012 10:03 AM

                                                                                      lol, are you me, PK? I just retyped a comment that originally included "tomatoes skirt the verboten line, btw."

                                                                                      1. re: shanagain
                                                                                        Perilagu Khan Aug 19, 2012 12:00 PM

                                                                                        The Verboten Line--I think that's what the Germans renamed the Maginot Line.

                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                          shanagain Aug 19, 2012 12:02 PM

                                                                                          Ha, nicely played.

                                                                                    2. re: JonParker
                                                                                      shanagain Aug 19, 2012 09:59 AM

                                                                                      Well, my first question might be "what makes a recipe"? Is it simply a recantation of ingredients, or is it deliberately passing on the knowledge so that others may partake? I'd say the latter. This recitation of the preparation serves mostly, I think, to point out the gruesome nature of the Cholula Indians from the Spaniard's point of view, not to inspire another cook to recreate the dish.

                                                                                      Also, it's the tomatoes I was talking about making the dish "not chili." ;)

                                                                                      1. re: shanagain
                                                                                        JonParker Aug 19, 2012 10:25 AM

                                                                                        There's another thread on CH right now about an Epicurious recipe for a simple tomato salad that's basically "slice a tomato, drizzle with olive oil, add salt, pepper and herbs." Now that's not much of a recipe, but it is a recipe. So regardless of intent, del Castillo did in fact record the first chili con carne recipe. Also, there have been several ICF World Champions that used tomatoes in their chili. Why a hard stand on beans but not tomatoes?

                                                                                        I make chili both ways, depending on the availability of Ranch Style Beans (that's the brand name). I like them both, and although I don't particularly care for Cincinnatti style, I wouldn't ever insinuate that it's not chili. Also, I grew up in Oklahoma, and I think North Carolina BBQ is the best on earth.

                                                                                        1. re: JonParker
                                                                                          shanagain Aug 19, 2012 10:45 AM

                                                                                          I come back to intent, not simplicity - the intent of a recipe is to help someone else recreate a dish. The del Castillo mention is to prove the gruesomeness (and one could argue, the sheer "otherness") of the natives they fought. In fact, it may well have only been his interpretation that the pots awaited Spanish flesh, or his spin in order to otherize that group in the eyes of his countrymen.

                                                                                          As for tomatoes, P.Khan mentioned somewhere that it may be that the beans act as an extra protein, taking away somewhat from the star of what "we" consider chili - a stewed meat stew, more or less. So tomatoes skirt the line because they're a flavor enhancer, not the star of the show. I'm actually guessing that might be where the ICF rule comes from - if chili was perfected as a chuck wagon dish, then it was used as a relatively fast way to create a protein rich meal. Beans and cornbread, another chuck wagon staple, generally include only small amounts of meat/fat for flavor, as this is a longer-cooking protein-rich dish. But you wouldn't waste protein-on-protein on the trail.

                                                                                          Now, the funny thing is that as far as Cinci-chili goes, I wouldn't call my kids and say, "hey, want to come over for dinner? I'm making chili" if I were making Cinci-style. It's not the same, nor what they'd expect. Chili is chili, Cincinnati style chili is Cincinnati style chili. Two separate entities.

                                                                                          As for BBQ, I don't have a dog in that fight - if it's been slow-cooked with smoke, I'm going to like it, and consider it BBQ. (I think most Texans are on that line with me - slow cooked with smoke = barbecue, whether it's the "best" or not.) Now... when I lived in Connecticut and New York "barbecue" meant hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks or whatever cooked on a grill. Not barbecue, at all. Semantics are as interesting as food itself, to me.

                                                                                          1. re: shanagain
                                                                                            Perilagu Khan Aug 19, 2012 12:03 PM

                                                                                            Yeah, I don't know of any Texans who would deny that KC, Memphis and Carolina cue are barbecue. They'd just mock it as being inferior to the local meat. But I'm with you--I love all good barbecue regardless of its provenance.

                                                                                2. re: JonParker
                                                                                  DuchessNukem Aug 19, 2012 09:33 PM

                                                                                  So frustrating! -- you read a great recipe idea on CH, then check the garage freezer and find you're completely out of peoplesteaks. And CannibalaCostco isn't open till 10:00 tomorrow.

                                                                                  Wondering if this recipe is good for the slow cooker. Hmm.

                                                                                  1. re: DuchessNukem
                                                                                    s
                                                                                    StringerBell Aug 25, 2012 09:06 AM

                                                                                    They also used to make pozole with human meat after they ripped out someone's heart to sacrifice to the Gods. Apparently they started using pork because the priests though it tasted similar. O_o

                                                                                  2. re: JonParker
                                                                                    s
                                                                                    Scream Jan 3, 2013 03:28 PM

                                                                                    Bravo, JonParker! I was about to say the same thing! For all the purists out there, including those who claim tomatoes have no business being in chili con carne, tell that to the Aztecs! LOL

                                                                      2. shanagain Aug 16, 2012 08:37 AM

                                                                        I think the mods are looking for a fight by moving this out of the Texas board. ;)

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: shanagain
                                                                          Perilagu Khan Aug 16, 2012 08:55 AM

                                                                          That was my interpretation as well. I predict this thread will be locked within 72 hours.

                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                            Bacardi1 Aug 16, 2012 10:58 AM

                                                                            I don't see why. I mean, let's face it, pretty much every recipe on the planet has variations. It's - as I find myself saying over, & Over, & OVER again on this site - all due to PERSONAL PREFERENCE. There's no "wrong" or "right" except for what you yourself enjoy eating.

                                                                            In my opinion, food isn't just "fuel", it's a "celebration" of living!!!!

                                                                            1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                              Perilagu Khan Aug 16, 2012 11:45 AM

                                                                              Preference involves taste. Identity is not tied up with preference. Hence, I might like the taste of what you call chili, but I know damn well it's not chili.

                                                                              And our little spat, which has the potential to become much testier and larger, is why this thread will eventually be vaporized.

                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                j
                                                                                James Cristinian Aug 16, 2012 04:19 PM

                                                                                PERSONAL PREFERENCE is fine, but don't call this Texas Chili, not the beans and whatever else is thrown in. Then again, the no right or wrong, except what I enjoy eating, unless it is a certain national chain and then...........

                                                                        2. h
                                                                          Harters Aug 16, 2012 05:31 AM

                                                                          Where I am in the world, chilli *always* has red kidney beans.

                                                                          Whether that's "traditional" or "authentic" is a matter of disinterest. It tastes good.

                                                                          1. PommeDeGuerre Aug 16, 2012 12:16 AM

                                                                            In the end it's all a take on stew. Every culture has it and calls it what they do.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: PommeDeGuerre
                                                                              DoobieWah Aug 16, 2012 06:05 AM

                                                                              FoodFuser is going to get jealous when you wax poetic...

                                                                            2. t
                                                                              thistle5 Jul 27, 2012 03:27 PM

                                                                              Not from TX, so not bound by tradition, but I like beans-black & kidney, & Rotel tomatoes & chilies, it's not competition material, but it tastes good, w/ cornbread & rice....Pure chile powder, ancho & chipotle, sautéed garlic, cumin..

                                                                              1. Bacardi1 Jul 26, 2012 10:32 AM

                                                                                Okay - I'm not a Texan, but for me chili without dark red Kidney beans is nothing more than a Sloppy Joe mixture.

                                                                                23 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                                  d
                                                                                  DKramer Jul 26, 2012 11:01 AM

                                                                                  Oh man, all I can say is you should really try some of my chili. Sloppy Joe mix is nothing like good chili - you've been missing out. Let me know if you ever make it 'round to Dallas.

                                                                                  1. re: DKramer
                                                                                    Perilagu Khan Jul 26, 2012 11:38 AM

                                                                                    That said, Sloppy Joe mix is probably closer to chili than "chili" adulterated with beans.

                                                                                  2. re: Bacardi1
                                                                                    j
                                                                                    James Cristinian Jul 26, 2012 03:38 PM

                                                                                    Get a rope!

                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                      Bacardi1 Jul 26, 2012 04:11 PM

                                                                                      Lol!!!! Yeah, yeah, I know - it's sacrelige to you Texas chili people, & I'm sure your chilis are orgasmic. Want to hear another abomination? I only make my chilis with turkey &/or chicken (hubby doesn't/can't eat red meat). But cut me some slack guys - there are very few variations of chili that I haven't loved or at least enjoyed, & I'm sure all of yours would be among them - I just like kidney beans with mine when I'm the one making it.

                                                                                      1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                                        j
                                                                                        James Cristinian Jul 26, 2012 04:27 PM

                                                                                        I appreciate your humor. There was a big national thread a few years back, pretty much all of USA v. Texas. I'm to the point where too much doesn't upset me, if you want to call chili with beans in it fine with me. My Astros are destined to be the worst team in baseball two years in a row, I can live with that too. Here's an olive branch, the recipies for the CASI winners at Terlingua a few years back. I use Cindy Reed's, and gasp, to some purists it uses a small can of tomatos. Feel free to use any, and/or all recipies and dump as many "disgusting" kidney beans in it you want. Enjoy.

                                                                                        http://www.chili.org/recipes.html

                                                                                        1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                          Veggo Jul 26, 2012 04:31 PM

                                                                                          JC, I suspect Bacardi1 eats tofu and cottage cheese, too. You got me missin' my Webb County venison chili with cheese and onions, no beans.

                                                                                          1. re: Veggo
                                                                                            Bacardi1 Jul 27, 2012 06:28 AM

                                                                                            Actually, I do! But I don't add any beans to them - lol!

                                                                                          2. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                            Bacardi1 Jul 27, 2012 06:33 AM

                                                                                            Wow - thanks for the link!! Always ready to try new stuff (beans or no beans). Looked at Cindy Reed's recipe, & somehow it doesn't look like it would be spicy enough for me. In addition to beans, I really like my chili quite hot.

                                                                                            1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                                              j
                                                                                              Jaymes Jul 27, 2012 06:56 AM

                                                                                              Don't worry about the heat. If you can find a basic/master recipe that you like, it's a very simple matter to make it spicier.

                                                                                              I raised a houseful of kids. I usually made several batches of chili of various strengths - one for hubby, a native Texan that liked it hot enough to sear the roof of your mouth; one for me and my oldest son (medium heat); and a mild one for the littlest kids.

                                                                                              1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                                                Perilagu Khan Jul 27, 2012 07:36 AM

                                                                                                This post does you credit. :)

                                                                                                1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                  James Cristinian Jul 27, 2012 03:41 PM

                                                                                                  Bacardi1, Jaymes is right about the heat. I eschew the jalapeno powder in Cindy's recipie and throw in a couple of extra serranos and a jalapeno or three. Plenty hot. The thing I like about this thread, unlike the sprawling national one, is the civility in which everyone treats each other, instead of the nastiness of many national ones.

                                                                                                  1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                    Perilagu Khan Jul 28, 2012 06:45 AM

                                                                                                    "The thing I like about this thread, unlike the sprawling national one, is the civility in which everyone treats each other, instead of the nastiness of many national ones."

                                                                                                    Heh heh. Just give it some time.

                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                      Veggo Jul 28, 2012 10:23 AM

                                                                                                      PK, you were right on, the decorum has gotten a little testy here the last couple hours. By the way, your mama's ugly and she can't cook...:)

                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                        Perilagu Khan Jul 28, 2012 12:57 PM

                                                                                                        And yours wears combat boots in front of the stove! ;)

                                                                                                2. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                  Perilagu Khan Jul 27, 2012 07:34 AM

                                                                                                  Maters are not the blasphemous fruit the way beans are, IMO. Heck, I put a dab o' tomato sauce in some of my chilis.

                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                    Bacardi1 Jul 27, 2012 07:52 AM

                                                                                                    I rarely if ever use tomato sauce when making chili. However, I do like using canned tomatoes (either whole that I chop myself or already diced), and a definite favorite is the Rotel brand of diced tomatoes & chilis. Their Habanero variety is delightfully hotter than hell!

                                                                                                    1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                                                      Perilagu Khan Jul 27, 2012 09:20 AM

                                                                                                      Rotel is a Texas staple. Lots of folks down here use Rotel to make chile con queso.

                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                        DoobieWah Jul 27, 2012 12:31 PM

                                                                                                        "Rotel is a Texas staple. Lots of folks down here use Rotel to make chile con queso."

                                                                                                        Not to mention "Meat Soup with Chili Powder, Onions, Cumin and Beans"!

                                                                                                        1. re: DoobieWah
                                                                                                          shanagain Jul 27, 2012 02:44 PM

                                                                                                          Add ranch dressing powder, pintos, kidneys and some corn and hominy and you have a dirty secret played out all across the state in the fall: Taco Soup.

                                                                                                  2. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                    shanagain Jul 27, 2012 03:57 PM

                                                                                                    I'm kind of stunned at the amount of "granules" and msg bombs that're used in those recipes.

                                                                                                    Though now that I think of it, I do use a mix of chili powders plus Morton's Chili Blend, which is non-negotiable and probably dosed with msg) and occasionally a bit of beef base or granules.

                                                                                                    1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                      James Cristinian Jul 27, 2012 04:29 PM

                                                                                                      I think msg gets a bad name. I was watching "No Reservations" Panama the other day, and Bourdain said he liked msg, and wasn't kiddding.

                                                                                                      1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                        shanagain Jul 27, 2012 04:39 PM

                                                                                                        What's not to like? It's like a comic book reaction - POW! ZAMMY! ZAP! ;)

                                                                                                        I'm just surprised that it's allowed in competition chili for some reason - I think because what it's so crazy useful for is giving that extra "I want more of this" enhancement. OK, I'm just going to say it - when I use it (bouillon or granules, for example) it's as a cheat. I want to get that zap of flavor in a hurry.

                                                                                              2. re: Bacardi1
                                                                                                h
                                                                                                hawkeyeui93 Aug 18, 2012 12:15 PM

                                                                                                If I were to put beans into chili, then the absolute last one I would use is kidney beans ... Not a fan of them, let alone in chili soup.

                                                                                              3. Perilagu Khan Jul 26, 2012 08:18 AM

                                                                                                It seems real chili (without beans, that is) is exclusively a Texas thing. This is not even a debate in other states.

                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                  d
                                                                                                  DKramer Jul 26, 2012 08:58 AM

                                                                                                  It comes from the idea of tradition and sticking to the way original chili was made and where it came from.

                                                                                                  My understanding is that it came from trail-riders and cowboys on cattle drives, or folks traveling long distances for other reasons on the open range, which we have a lot of in Texas.

                                                                                                  They had meat stores which were preserved in salt or dried/smoked like jerky or sometimes they had horsemeat or other meat they could gather. It was all tough as leather, obviously. So cookies started simmering the meat in liquid for long periods of time to make it more tender and then they flavored it with whatever they had or could find. Chilis growing wild along the way became a favorite along with onions etc.... There were no fresh tomatoes or beans, etc... available. So you have Texas Red, although I think most reds today do contain tomatos, but some still don't.

                                                                                                  Fillers such as beans and pastas came along after chili made it's way into settlements and became something akin to "peasant food", as a way to stretch the amount of food available.

                                                                                                  1. re: DKramer
                                                                                                    DoobieWah Jul 26, 2012 09:42 AM

                                                                                                    Dried beans were a staple of chuck wagons and trail cooking.

                                                                                                    Just a thought...

                                                                                                    1. re: DoobieWah
                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                      Jaymes Jul 26, 2012 10:03 AM

                                                                                                      Although much of what DKramer says is what I've always heard, they definitely didn't have to pick chiles growing wild along the way. Dried chiles have been a staple in the southwest US/northern Mexico for millennia.

                                                                                                      1. re: Jaymes
                                                                                                        d
                                                                                                        DKramer Jul 26, 2012 11:03 AM

                                                                                                        You and DoobieWah are both probably correct. I certainly wasn't witness to any of it.

                                                                                                    2. re: DKramer
                                                                                                      Perilagu Khan Jul 26, 2012 10:30 AM

                                                                                                      Just for the record, I am a Texan, and am proud that many of us uphold the standards of true chili.

                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                        h
                                                                                                        hazelhurst Jul 27, 2012 06:52 AM

                                                                                                        I alluded to it earlier but rise to suggest that you get a copy of H. Allen Smith's "The Great Chile Confrontation" which is not only informative but is also a great running joke wherein old friends hurl calumnies at each other just for fun.

                                                                                                        1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                                          Perilagu Khan Jul 27, 2012 07:31 AM

                                                                                                          I can well imagine. Bickering can be fun!

                                                                                                    3. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                      Jaymes Jul 26, 2012 10:05 AM

                                                                                                      P Kahn says: "It seems real chili (without beans, that is) is exclusively a Texas thing. This is not even a debate in other states."

                                                                                                      That's not exactly right. When you get into Arizona & New Mexico, they do make chili - ie, meat stewed with chiles - and they basically never add beans. And probably wouldn't even consider it because the beans would interfere with the interplay - flavor, taste, texture, etc. - between said meat and said chiles.

                                                                                                      It's all a matter of semantics, really.

                                                                                                      1. re: Jaymes
                                                                                                        Perilagu Khan Jul 26, 2012 10:32 AM

                                                                                                        Yes, that's certainly true for chili verde/green chile stew, but I tend to think of that dish as belonging to a different phylum from abowlared.

                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                          Jaymes Jul 26, 2012 11:05 AM

                                                                                                          In New Mexico (and Arizona), they also make red chile stew, not just green chile stew.

                                                                                                          And no beans in either.

                                                                                                          It's meat stewed with chiles. No matter what they call it, it's not much different (if at all) from a Texas bowlared. In fact, having lived in both Arizona and New Mexico, and now in Texas, I'd go so far as to say that red chile elsewhere in the US Southwest is basically exactly the same as the red chili was initially in Texas, before folks started adding tomatoes and hamburger meat and a bunch of other stuff, including beans, and calling it "chili" with an "i."

                                                                                                          Like I said, all semantics.

                                                                                                          But I do take issue with your statement that only in Texas is there any problem with adding beans to one's stewed meat and chiles.

                                                                                                          1. re: Jaymes
                                                                                                            Perilagu Khan Jul 26, 2012 11:35 AM

                                                                                                            Well, I can't speak to Arizona (haven't been there since the late 70s), but I've spent boucoup time in New Mexico over the years and don't recall seeing red chili on a single resto menu. I'm not saying the stuff is not made there, but it is not an iconic New Mexico dish as it is in Texas. And for that reason, I doubt New Mexicans get as steamed up about beans/no beans as Texans do.

                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                              Jaymes Jul 26, 2012 12:43 PM

                                                                                                              You've never seen 'Guisado Colorado' or 'Chile Colorado' on a menu in New Mexico?

                                                                                                              I don't have time to scour websites now, but I'll keep you in mind and get back to you.

                                                                                                              And I think the main reason they don't get "steamed up" about adding beans is that nobody ever considers doing it.

                                                                                                              Although I will say that much of that is probably due to the fact that they'd more likely add potatoes if they wanted a starchy filler.

                                                                                                              1. re: Jaymes
                                                                                                                Perilagu Khan Jul 26, 2012 12:54 PM

                                                                                                                I don't recall seeing guisado colorado.

                                                                                                                But indeed, potatoes are quite common in chile verde. In fact, it may be closer to the rule than the exception.

                                                                                                    4. n
                                                                                                      NE_Elaine Jul 26, 2012 07:43 AM

                                                                                                      Well, I am not a Texan, but here in the badlands of CT, I love beans in my chili and I will still call it chili no matter what anyone says. Oh yeah and sometimes I even serve it over rice. I have yet to have anyone send it back.

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: NE_Elaine
                                                                                                        shanagain Jul 27, 2012 02:39 PM

                                                                                                        But, you're in CT, so... it's just not the same. It would be like a (dense, granted) Texan saying "Oh, pizza? I use english muffins, ragu & shredded lowfat mozzarella in the green bag - everyone LOVES my pizza!" You might shudder, but as they (presumably) don't know any better, they don't have a dog in the fight.

                                                                                                        1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                          mrbigshotno.1 Jul 27, 2012 03:22 PM

                                                                                                          Well said!

                                                                                                          1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                            s
                                                                                                            sisterfunkhaus Jul 28, 2012 10:40 AM

                                                                                                            Um, I would never make pizza that way, ever. I don't know anyone else who does either and I am from Texas. We have several really good Neapolitan style places with wood ovens, bufala mozzarella and pizza that makes you want to cry.

                                                                                                            1. re: sisterfunkhaus
                                                                                                              shanagain Aug 18, 2012 12:14 PM

                                                                                                              I know that, I'm making a point, AND stated "dense, granted."

                                                                                                        2. t
                                                                                                          Tom34 Jul 26, 2012 06:16 AM

                                                                                                          Not from Texas but its no beans for me.

                                                                                                          1. j
                                                                                                            Jim M Jul 25, 2012 05:56 PM

                                                                                                            Not a Texan, like it both ways, but have to note that lots and lots of restaurants that are Texan as can be serve chili with beans, as well as without.

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Jim M
                                                                                                              d
                                                                                                              DKramer Jul 26, 2012 05:31 AM

                                                                                                              They serve two things: chili and bean soup. Their menu is just written wrong. ;-)

                                                                                                              1. re: DKramer
                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                James Cristinian Jul 26, 2012 03:47 PM

                                                                                                                Jim M, where are all these Texan restaurants? I live in Texas and most restaurants don't sell chili at all. I'm always more than suspicious when out of state restaurants claim Texas style, Tex Mex, Texas Hots in upstate New York, etc.

                                                                                                                1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                                  Perilagu Khan Jul 27, 2012 07:30 AM

                                                                                                                  This is true. Chili is actually quite uncommon as restaurant fare in Texas.

                                                                                                            2. s
                                                                                                              swamp Jul 24, 2012 12:59 PM

                                                                                                              These kind of food arguments always amuse me. I still say it is simply a matter of preference. I am a born and bred Texan and I love beans in my chili. As a matter of fact I like my chili pretty heavy on the beans. Many times I have made the famous chili recipe attributed to LBJ and I add beans even though the recipe does not call for them. Then again I am from that part of Texas we call lapland and we serve our chili over rice.

                                                                                                              1. c
                                                                                                                ConsApi Jul 23, 2012 08:25 AM

                                                                                                                I don't know about whether chili should have beans, but when I was in Texas, beans were served on the side.

                                                                                                                What I really want to know is, if beans are not part of chili, what's the difference between chili and carne guisada?

                                                                                                                23 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: ConsApi
                                                                                                                  shanagain Jul 27, 2012 02:51 PM

                                                                                                                  Guisada as I've always had it is more of a stewed meat with a flour-based gravy. Also, in chili, the meat becomes part of the whole, where guisada generally leaves chunks of meat as the star. Also, it's not as chile-heavy. (Disclaimer, west Texan used to having guisada at friend's homes, not restaurants.)

                                                                                                                  1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                                    Jaymes Jul 27, 2012 04:09 PM

                                                                                                                    Interesting how some foods engender such lengthy discussions - chili and barbecue come immediately to mind. Wonder if the Midwesterners ever go on and on and on ad infinitum about meatloaf.

                                                                                                                    So although I'm somewhat hesitant to continue this even further into nitpicking tedium, I do feel compelled to say that I've spent a lot of time in New Mexico. Lived in Alamogordo and Clovis. Had/have relatives (and I mean close relatives - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) that lived all over New Mexico: Farmington, Aztec, Grants, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Ruidoso, Gallup, Taos. I've spent a lot of time there, including most summers when I was a kid.

                                                                                                                    And I guess everyone's perception and experience differs.

                                                                                                                    But I just do not see much difference between the stewed meat and chiles of New Mexico, Arizona (I also lived in Tucson for 6 years) and northern Mexico (where I've traveled extensively), and the red chili of Texas (especially not in what is generally considered to be the original version).

                                                                                                                    Flour sure ain't it.

                                                                                                                    Some New Mexican cooks add flour; some don't. Some let the meat disintegrate; some don't.

                                                                                                                    And I've also lived all over Texas in my fairly lengthy lifetime - Dallas, San Angelo, Austin, Abilene, Galveston, Waco, and now in Houston.

                                                                                                                    And in my experience, it's the exact same: some Texas cooks add flour; some don't. Some let the meat completely disintegrate (or use ground meat); some don't.

                                                                                                                    Many, many Texas cooks do add flour to thicken their red chili. I've got Robb Walsh's Tex-Mex cookbook right here in front of me. There are five recipes for Texas chili. Three of them call for plain ol' everyday flour. I know a lot of Texas cooks that add masa, or a few chopped up tortillas - that's flour. And the Wick Fowler chili kit also includes masa flour.

                                                                                                                    So I'll just repeat what I said earlier...

                                                                                                                    As far as I'm concerned, it's really all basically a matter of semantics.

                                                                                                                    Which, as long as it all tastes good, is fine with me.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Jaymes
                                                                                                                      shanagain Jul 27, 2012 04:32 PM

                                                                                                                      I'm actually floored - flour in plain old chili? I know its in his chili gravy (chili colorado or what I'd just call enchilada sauce) but wouldn't have considered it in regular chili, so felt that the "graviness" of guisada would be an easy differentiating point.

                                                                                                                      When you've ordered or been served carne guisada, is it a dish you'd compare closely to your own Texas Red? I'm just wondering if I've been eating bastardized guisada out here near Abilene.

                                                                                                                      Also (god, I can't even help myself) I'd argue that when "most" people say "flour" they're speaking of wheat flour, not corn flour, ie, masa.

                                                                                                                      At any rate, for once I really wasn't looking to defend my beloved Tex-Mex, just adding what I'd hope is as helpful a possible response to a question that hadn't been addressed on the thread - the difference between guisada and Texas red.

                                                                                                                      1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                        Perilagu Khan Jul 28, 2012 06:42 AM

                                                                                                                        I think you're on to something, shanagain. From my experience, carne guisada tends to be thicker than Texas chili, and that's largely because the former has a considerably higher ratio of thickener (flour in this case) to liquid. My chilis, which admittedly are thinner than most, verge on soup, and I use arrowroot rather than flour to thicken.

                                                                                                                        I also think that carne guisada tends to be milder than Texas red.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                                          Jaymes Jul 28, 2012 08:32 AM

                                                                                                                          Seriously?

                                                                                                                          I've certainly gotten bowls of Texas chili that are thick enough to stand a spoon up in. Served by people that are proud of that fact. And many guisadas that are plenty runny. In fact, I usually put no four at all into my guisadas. And often (usually) serve them in a bowl, to be eaten with a spoon, with tortillas alongside.

                                                                                                                          I just don't think it's that simple. At all. Not even close. We're talking about a really old method of cooking meat by peoples that have a pretty strong regional commonality - meat and chiles. And not only do all these cooks have their own methods and favorite ways of doing things, ingredients, etc., they often don't even make it the same way day after day themselves. They take whatever meat they prefer (if they can and have it available), or maybe whatever they have on hand and need to cook up - beef, pork, venison, chorizo, turkey, etc., and stew it with chiles and whatever else their family likes.

                                                                                                                          And then they serve it in bowls, or ladled over Fritos, or hot dogs, or rice, or tortillas, or enchiladas, or eggs, or whatever.

                                                                                                                          I think it's completely impossible to come up with any true generalities, or hard and fast rules, or absolute definitions, regarding the one over the other - most certainly not thickness.

                                                                                                                          And it sure isn't that "carne guisada tends to be milder than Texas red."

                                                                                                                          A great many bowls of Texas red chili aren't hot at all. Not at all. That depends entirely upon the cook and for whom the cook is cooking. And I've gotten bowls of carne guisada in New Mexico and Arizona (often at truck stops) that are so hot, they bring tears to your eyes and set your mouth on fire. At Earl's Truck Stop in Gallup, I know their bowl of guisada is going to be that hot, but I sure do love it, so whenever I order it, I keep some of those little packets of sugar handy to cool down my tongue immediately. The same thing at the dining room of the El Rancho hotel there. And at far too many other restaurants/dining rooms, home tables, all over the state to mention. Just thinking about the bowl of guisada I routinely order at my favorite little breakfast joint in Taos brings tears to my eyes as I sit here simply contemplating it.

                                                                                                                          Sorry, but I've had it all (and lots of it and lots of times) and I don't think US Mexican food gets any hotter than what is typically served in New Mexico, and when you ask for what is basically a bowl full of chiles and meat, you'd better be prepared.

                                                                                                                          I just don't get that making chili/chile is anything even approaching an exact science following a definitive formula of do's and don't's.

                                                                                                                          To be frank, the only difference I think you can count on AT ALL is that with the Texas version of red chili, some folks add beans, and never potatoes. With typical New Mexico- & Arizona-style guisados, folks often add potatoes, and sometimes other vegetables as well, but rarely beans (although I have seen them).

                                                                                                                          Beyond that, in my experience, there isn't a lick of difference.

                                                                                                                          And they add those beans or potatoes, etc., to a basic dish that is, for all practical purposes, identical up to that point, given the usual personal preferences and infinite variations that any dish prepared by a couple hundred thousand different cooks is going to have.

                                                                                                                          I could not even begin to count how many pots I've made of various versions of meat stewed with chiles throughout the years, following various recipes - clipped from local newspapers, given to me by friends or neighbors, found online or in fund-raising club cookbooks etc. And eaten pots and pots and pots of it, in restaurants, or made by friends, relatives, or at community gatherings, potlucks, church suppers - you name it. There just isn't that much difference.

                                                                                                                          After all, carne guisada just means meat, cooked or stewed (guisar). It's not some finite absolute definition.

                                                                                                                          But whatever.

                                                                                                                          Carry on, folks.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Jaymes
                                                                                                                            shanagain Jul 28, 2012 09:02 AM

                                                                                                                            I'm not sure where the argumentative tone is coming from - I'm just saying that there is a difference between what I'd consider guisada and chili. Your point seems to be that, in your words, "there just isn't that much difference." Which is true. But there are slight differences to me, which make one guisada, and one chili.

                                                                                                                            I'd be willing to bet those slight differences mean that you have a trusted chili recipe, *and* a trusted guisada recipe - one gets served with crackers or cornbread, one with tortillas, rice and beans, but it's not the same recipe for both, or is it?

                                                                                                                            ETA: Robb's not much help on this one - his guisada recipe uses potatoes and bell peppers along with tomatoes and only about a tablespoon of flour - but it calls for only 2 cups of water, where the chili recipes with about the same amount of meat (2lbs - such as the Casa Rio Chili Con Carne on p.51 which is pretty close to how I make mine, sans the pork) uses double the flour, but over double the water. So his version of the guisada is clearly very different from any of the chili recipes due to the bell peppers and potatoes (and tomatoes, in most cases). And the fact that his guisada is listed in the Mex Mex section versus the Chili Joints & Queens sections probably lends a distinction as well.

                                                                                                                            In short, what I've learned today is that I clearly need to do two things - make guisada for dinner, and try using flour as a thickener in my chili next time!

                                                                                                                            1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                                              Jaymes Jul 28, 2012 09:30 AM

                                                                                                                              "A trusted chili recipe and a trusted guisada recipe"?

                                                                                                                              Not any more. Maybe some 50 years ago when I was first starting out in the kitchen - I don't know. Hard to remember that far back.

                                                                                                                              But certainly not now.

                                                                                                                              I just hit the kitchen with whatever it is I want to use and wing it.

                                                                                                                              But yes, I begin with basically the "same recipe for both."

                                                                                                                              And then at some point, head off into whatever direction suits me, my immediate ingredients (meats, chiles, etc., I want to use up), and my potential diners, from there.

                                                                                                                              Get your meat. Chop it up (unless it's ground, in which case you just dump it into your big stew pot). Brown it in a little oil. Add your aromatics - onions, garlic, carrots (if you're using a few for sweetness and flavor), chiles (dried, fresh, powder, etc.), whatever you and your family personally like for flavorings depending upon how you want your final dish to turn out - cilantro, cumin, bell peppers, celery, chocolate, cinnamon, bay leaves, basil, Mexican oregano, etc. (the choices are endless), liquid (water, beer, tomatoes, broth, whatever). Let it all stew.

                                                                                                                              Finish with whatever veggies you want - beans, potatoes, green peas, more carrots, whatever.

                                                                                                                              Thicken it if you'd like to.

                                                                                                                              And serve.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Jaymes
                                                                                                                                shanagain Jul 28, 2012 09:39 AM

                                                                                                                                I typed and deleted "recipe/technique" a couple of times, because chili (and guisada) are definitely not "recipe" type dishes for cooks who've been making them for a while, so I understand your point completely.

                                                                                                                                What makes your guisada "guisada" and not "chili"? That's all I'm trying to find out - aren't there enough differences between the two that your family knows one as guisada and one as chili?

                                                                                                                                In case you missed it, I just edited my original post to add this:
                                                                                                                                ETA: Robb's not much help on this one - his guisada recipe uses potatoes and bell peppers along with tomatoes and only about a tablespoon of flour - but it calls for only 2 cups of water, where the chili recipes with about the same amount of meat (2lbs - such as the Casa Rio Chili Con Carne on p.51 which is pretty close to how I make mine, sans the pork) uses double the flour, but over double the water. So his version of the guisada is clearly very different from any of the chili recipes due to the bell peppers and potatoes (and tomatoes, in most cases). And the fact that his guisada is listed in the Mex Mex section versus the Chili Joints & Queens sections probably lends a distinction as well.

                                                                                                                                In short, what I've learned today is that I clearly need to do two things - make guisada for dinner, and try using flour as a thickener in my chili next time!

                                                                                                                                1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                                                  Jaymes Jul 28, 2012 10:45 AM

                                                                                                                                  Shanagin - you asked: "What makes your guisada "guisada" and not "chili"? That's all I'm trying to find out - aren't there enough differences between the two that your family knows one as guisada and one as chili?"

                                                                                                                                  When I make my guisada with beef and (primarily) red chiles, we call that "Texas red chili" in our house.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jaymes
                                                                                                                                    shanagain Jul 28, 2012 10:49 AM

                                                                                                                                    Very cool, thanks.

                                                                                                                                    I'm guessing also the veggies play a part, but never having had your chili (and probably guaranteeing I'll never get an invite after this thread ;), that's just a guess.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                                      Jaymes Jul 28, 2012 10:56 AM

                                                                                                                                      Guess again. Next time I'm up your way, I'm takin' you to lunch. I really admire your inquisitive nature and boundless curiosity and interest in food and cooking. It's such a big world. And all I'm saying is that, in my view, there's no definitive absolute definition, let alone a "right way" or a "wrong way," when it comes to a dish so ancient and ill-defined as stewing meat with chiles.

                                                                                                                                      And that what we choose to call it often comes down to being merely a matter of region, tradition, and semantics.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jaymes
                                                                                                                                        shanagain Jul 28, 2012 11:05 AM

                                                                                                                                        :) Thank you.

                                                                                                                                        We actually agree 100% - I really wasn't trying to create an absolute definition, just help answer a question as to the differences that do exist between the two, as I've seen them. But.. it wouldn't be the first time I came off as a jackass trying to lay down the law about something. lol

                                                                                                                            2. re: Jaymes
                                                                                                                              Perilagu Khan Jul 28, 2012 12:44 PM

                                                                                                                              Ease up now, Jim. No reason to work yourself into a lather.

                                                                                                                              Despite your dissertation-cum-peroration, I continue to believe thickness and spiciness are salient differences between Texas red and carne guisada. Add complexity and cooking method as well.

                                                                                                                              My recipe for carne guisada, which I have no reason to believe is not typical, comes from the Texas Beautiful Cookbook. I've modified it somewhat, but it's still faithful to the original. Here's the recipe:

                                                                                                                              3 T. vegetable oil
                                                                                                                              2 lb. round steak cut into 1-inch cubes
                                                                                                                              2 T. flour
                                                                                                                              1/2 bell pepper minced
                                                                                                                              1/2 onion minced
                                                                                                                              1 large tomato minced
                                                                                                                              2 jalapenos thinly sliced
                                                                                                                              4 cloves garlic minced
                                                                                                                              1 t. ground cumin
                                                                                                                              2 t. chili powder
                                                                                                                              1 t. salt
                                                                                                                              1/4 t. black pepper
                                                                                                                              1/2 cup beef stock or water

                                                                                                                              1. Heat vegetable oil in stock pot over medium-high heat.
                                                                                                                              2. Add beef and saute 8-10 minutes.
                                                                                                                              3. Sprinkle with flour and then add bell pepper, onion and tomato.
                                                                                                                              4. Stir well and add jalapeno, garlic, cumin, chili poweder, salt, pepper and beef stock/water.
                                                                                                                              5. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 2-2 1/2 hours.

                                                                                                                              Okay. To begin with, this dish is MUCH thicker than Texas Red. One half cup liquid to two pounds of meat? Typical Texas Red will have at least twice that much liquid. I guess this is why one hears of carne guisada burritos but not Texas Red burritos.

                                                                                                                              Second, this carne guisada (which I've amped up considerably, BTW) is very bland in comparison to Texas Red. No, TR doesn't have to burn your esophagus to a cinder, but it should at least draw a bead of sweat. Carne guisada is baby food by comparison. Very tasty baby food, but a certain species of pablum nonetheless.

                                                                                                                              Closely related, Texas Red is usually much more complex than carne guisada. A typical recipe will incorporate multiple powdered chiles or chili powders, will include a few other exotic spices and a few "special ingredients" as well. Carne guisada, OTOH, is very straightforward.

                                                                                                                              And the cooking method differs. With carne guisda you basically brown the meat, dump everything else in, and simmer until done. Texas Red requires 2, 3 or even four separate dumps of peppers and spices, all of which create a subtle layering of flavors. Now I suspect Texas Red once bore a much closer resemblance to carne guisada than it does today, but the fact is that the former has evolved rather markedly away from the latter.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                                Jaymes Jul 28, 2012 01:21 PM

                                                                                                                                You are completely and totally right, of course.

                                                                                                                                If that's what you want to call it, then that's exactly what it is.

                                                                                                                            3. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                              shanagain Jul 28, 2012 09:21 AM

                                                                                                                              I generally use time as my thickener of choice, but I also use a handful of corn meal from time to time, and (dirty secret) a big spoonful of tomato paste.

                                                                                                                              1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                                Jaymes Jul 28, 2012 09:39 AM

                                                                                                                                I gather you're talking here about Texas-style red chili?

                                                                                                                                Have you ever made a bowl of guisado?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Jaymes
                                                                                                                                  shanagain Jul 28, 2012 09:51 AM

                                                                                                                                  Yep, plain old Texas-style chili. And yes again to the guisada question, but mine starts with cubed beef tossed with flour, instead of adding flour in later - so it's a classic stew prep instead of how I start my chili, which I start by browning my meat with onions and garlic, no flour.

                                                                                                                                  Again, this is why I keep saying I may be eating bastardized guisada, because its based on my best friend's mom's guisada, and while she's Mexican, she's been in the states since she was a little girl. (Hers uses no potato or bell pepper, just oil, meat, flour, broth,onions, Mex. oregano, jalapenos, cumin, garlic, s&p and come to think of it, no chili powder at all.)

                                                                                                                                  ETA again, darnit: Not a bowl, though - out here guisada is generally served on a deep plate with tortillas, rice & beans, not as a standalone stew.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                                                    Jaymes Jul 28, 2012 10:00 AM

                                                                                                                                    I sure wouldn't say that your "best friend's mom's guisada" is bastardized.

                                                                                                                                    That's really the whole point of what I've been saying.

                                                                                                                                    These stews/soups are ALL "bastardized," if that's a definition you want to use.

                                                                                                                                    It's primarily just seat-of-your-pants cooking, meat & chiles, however your family wants to do it.

                                                                                                                                    And you say "guisada" and I say "chili"....

                                                                                                                                    Let's call the whole thing off.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                                shanagain Jul 28, 2012 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                                Perilagu, I may've just had an epiphany - in our part of the world, guisada generally doesn't even have chili powder, does it? It usually relies on fresh peppers, or a dried pepper thrown in the pot while simmering, but fished out later. So it seems that might be a defining characteristic, too - at least in mid-western Texas.

                                                                                                                                1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                                  Perilagu Khan Jul 28, 2012 12:54 PM

                                                                                                                                  My recipe for CG, which I've posted above, does contain a bit of chili powder, but the amount is minute in comparison to any Texas Red I've made or tasted.

                                                                                                                            4. re: Jaymes
                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                              sisterfunkhaus Jul 28, 2012 10:35 AM

                                                                                                                              I'm a born and bred Texan. Lived here my whole life. I love to cook, and have cooked real Texas chili once or twice. But honestly, outside of myself, I have never once seen chili that fits the Texas definition in Texas. Not at a restaurant or someone's home. Most I know use chili ground beef, which is a "larger" grind, or ground chuck. Some use beans, some don't. This supposed Texas chili has all these rules, yet I have never encountered anyone beside myself making it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: sisterfunkhaus
                                                                                                                                shanagain Jul 28, 2012 11:02 AM

                                                                                                                                How funny :)

                                                                                                                                As far as I know, chili grind isn't a deal-killer at least by competition standards, but heaven knows I could be wrong. I had a little cafe (in my teeeeeny tiny, fickle little town) for a few years and loved when a 'norther would blow in during the winter, because it was the one day I could count on being packed & selling out thanks to my chili. We used ground beef or chili grind simply to cut back on labor (I had a cook, but I made the chili exclusively, and hated to stand there and cut down beef at 7 in the morning), and made a pot of beans on the side for anyone who requested them, but the only deviation from "real" Texas chili would be my addition of tomato paste as a thickener, and I generally use coffee as most of my cooking liquid.

                                                                                                                                As I sit and think about it, as much as I loved most of the food we made, I'd have been better off with a food truck that only ran on cold days. Or,maybe that should be, "Hmm, a food truck this winter..."

                                                                                                                                1. re: sisterfunkhaus
                                                                                                                                  Perilagu Khan Jul 28, 2012 12:55 PM

                                                                                                                                  Many chili cookoffs actually require chili grind beef.

                                                                                                                          2. Perilagu Khan Jul 13, 2012 07:34 AM

                                                                                                                            The ICS, which is the other primary chili society, also expressly forbids beans in their cookoff chilis.

                                                                                                                            http://www.chilicookoff.com/Event/Eve...

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                              DoobieWah Jul 13, 2012 02:38 PM

                                                                                                                              OK, let's play a mind game:

                                                                                                                              Suppose I make two identical pots of my (locally famous!) chili except that one pot does not have beans and the other one does.

                                                                                                                              If I understand almost all of the intractable posters above, I can call one pot "Chili" , but I cannot call the other one "Chili" or even "Chili with Beans"?

                                                                                                                              I have to call it "Meat Soup with Chili Powder, Onions, Cumin and Beans" or something equally inane. Is that right?

                                                                                                                              Hahahaha! OK, trust me - from now on, I will do just that!

                                                                                                                              <wink>

                                                                                                                              1. re: DoobieWah
                                                                                                                                Perilagu Khan Jul 13, 2012 02:47 PM

                                                                                                                                Feel free to call it whatever you like.

                                                                                                                                And I'll call my American Eskimo a '68 Pontiac Bonneville.

                                                                                                                                ;)

                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                                  DoobieWah Jul 14, 2012 07:16 AM

                                                                                                                                  Thanks loads, Guv'na!

                                                                                                                            2. DuchessNukem Jul 12, 2012 05:06 PM

                                                                                                                              I bean it up. I like the textural and flavor contrast. It's pretty rare that I have a panel of Texas chili judges stop by for a bowl of red, so I think it's okay.

                                                                                                                              Unless one adds red kidney beans. Those people should have their fingernails filed to the quick and finished with out-of-date nailcolor by inept student manicurists, while a pack of wild chihuahuas humps their ankles. Disgusting. ;)

                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: DuchessNukem
                                                                                                                                Lambowner Aug 10, 2012 08:43 AM

                                                                                                                                What she said. ^^^

                                                                                                                                1. re: DuchessNukem
                                                                                                                                  Bacardi1 Aug 11, 2012 09:51 AM

                                                                                                                                  Now, now, now. There's nothing wrong with Red Kidney Beans. Again - personal preference rules the roost when it comes to food. There's no "right" or "wrong".

                                                                                                                                  I don't like Pinto Beans in chili at all. Find them way too soft compared to Red Kidneys. I like more texture in my chili than Pinto Beans provide, as their skin is softer than Red Kidneys. I find Red Kidney Beans more forgiving texture-wise when cooked long & slow. But again - what you like is what's best for you!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                                                    James Cristinian Aug 12, 2012 02:25 PM

                                                                                                                                    Yes, Bacardi 1, do what you want with your food, but please don't call chili with beands Texas chili, not saying you did. So right about personal preference rules the roost. Many like McDonald's, other than a rare fish, I find them vile. I prefer Whataburger. Most on the national boards love Popeye's, I find it average and won't waste the calories, and speaking of beans, I really dislike their liquid smoke beans. For a chicken treat, I LOVE Chick-fil-A. Again, what you like is best for you.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                                                      Perilagu Khan Aug 13, 2012 06:17 AM

                                                                                                                                      Yes, taste can be quite subjective, but ontology is not.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                                                        Lambowner Aug 15, 2012 07:32 PM

                                                                                                                                        You don't like rare fish? Howzya eatya sushi?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Lambowner
                                                                                                                                          shanagain Aug 15, 2012 09:56 PM

                                                                                                                                          FYI, I'm guessing I "got it" - James like the occasional, or rare, Filet o' Fish, but otherwise finds the establishment vile.

                                                                                                                                          If you were just teasing, please excuse my nosy-Parker tendencies. I. Can't. Help. It.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                                            Lambowner Aug 16, 2012 11:52 AM

                                                                                                                                            I woke up one morning and found myself in "General Topics," so who knows, shanagain, I'm easily confused. I did not get it, because, really, who actually eats the filet-o-fish? James, I thought I knew ye.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                                                          t
                                                                                                                                          Tom34 Aug 16, 2012 04:42 AM

                                                                                                                                          To me Chick-Fil -A is dry and boring and Popeye's is nicely spiced & juicy with that serious artery clogging deep fried flavor. Have to get it right out of the oil. Couple times a year, no more.

                                                                                                                                          Wife and kids like Chick-Fil-A.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: DuchessNukem
                                                                                                                                        l
                                                                                                                                        laliz Aug 16, 2012 07:46 AM

                                                                                                                                        +100 on NO kidney beans and what should happen to those who use them. No green bell pepper either.

                                                                                                                                        TYVM

                                                                                                                                      3. deet13 Jul 12, 2012 03:59 PM

                                                                                                                                        No beans, no 'maters...

                                                                                                                                        1. DoobieWah Jun 23, 2012 06:46 AM

                                                                                                                                          BS.

                                                                                                                                          As a Texan I'll eat my Chili any damned way I please.

                                                                                                                                          Sometimes with beans, and sometimes without.

                                                                                                                                          Depends on my mood.

                                                                                                                                          But I'm not about to let any one of you decide it for me.

                                                                                                                                          19 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: DoobieWah
                                                                                                                                            d
                                                                                                                                            DKramer Jul 12, 2012 07:21 AM

                                                                                                                                            The Chili Appreciation Society International is the preeminent authority on professional chili cookoffs worldwide. They recognize only one kind of chili called Texas Red.

                                                                                                                                            No fillers are allowed, or as the official rules state: “NO FILLERS IN CHILI – Beans, macaroni, rice, hominy, or other similar ingredients are not permitted.”

                                                                                                                                            So, you can make whatever you want, but official Texas Red chili has no beans, by definition.

                                                                                                                                            PS: Oops, I meant to reply to the OP, not DoobieWah, sorry.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: DKramer
                                                                                                                                              r
                                                                                                                                              randyjl Jul 12, 2012 07:46 AM

                                                                                                                                              Glad I am on the same "offical" page! I do like pintos on the side, but not in my chili.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: DKramer
                                                                                                                                                h
                                                                                                                                                hazelhurst Jul 12, 2012 08:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                CASI is The Authority unless you are old enough to remember the Francis X Tolbert Behind the Store school. In the original Terlingua shootout in 1967, Wick Fowler used no beans and the Infidel Yankee H Allen Smith, who wrote "Nobody Knows More About Chili Than I Do" from his home in Mt. Kisco, NY, did use beans and bell pepper. The contest was a draw and Fwoler did not win outright until later.

                                                                                                                                                In 1969 CV Woods won using such odd items as chicken and flank steak..he had no beans, either.

                                                                                                                                                If you look at the cook-off winner (and there are several factions splitting off) you see a hell-of-a-lot of variations. Heretics roamed abroad in the land. It is rather like the "Follow the gourd" versus "Follow the sandal" Monty Python's "Life of Brian."

                                                                                                                                                In my part of the workd the beans/no beans fight is akin to the roux/no roux etouffee. One is right, the other is heretical (but doesn't taste bad).

                                                                                                                                                1. re: DKramer
                                                                                                                                                  DoobieWah Jul 12, 2012 08:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I don't mean to argue, but you do understand that your "rules" were arbitrarily decided by half a dozen old men undoubtedly in their cups.

                                                                                                                                                  I sometimes make my chili with beans.

                                                                                                                                                  Maybe that ain't chili to you or the old men in Terlingua, but my family and friends in Houston will continue to enjoy it and call it chili without much consideration for y'all think.

                                                                                                                                                  As my grandmama from Lexington used to say, "It's a poor cook who doesn't cook to suit themselves."

                                                                                                                                                  I think she was talking about life in general, but it works for the kitchen too.

                                                                                                                                                  It's pouring rain today in Houston. Good chili weather and I just happen to have some leftover from last weekend; (sans beans).

                                                                                                                                                  "Well, it's floodin' down in Texas..."

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DoobieWah
                                                                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                                                                    James Cristinian Jul 12, 2012 03:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                    "poles are out in Utah." Great Grateful Dead reference Doobs. I have a serious aversion to chili with beans, due to an unfortunate incident New Years Eve/Day 68/69 when I was almost a teenager at a friend's house. When I got home, my brother, like myself, had a raging case of the flu, and we watched a football game with a guy from USC my brother called Orange Juice Simpson (Rose Bowl '69.) Anyway, back to chili, The Chili Appreciation Society International is gracious enough to provide the winner's recipies of the Terlingua competions away back. Here's a link.

                                                                                                                                                    http://www.chili.org/

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                                                                      DoobieWah Jul 12, 2012 04:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Well, actually it was Stevie Ray in my head, but yeah, GD in Operator, right?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DoobieWah
                                                                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                                                                        James Cristinian Jul 12, 2012 04:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                        You're darn tootin. "Fargo." No chili but lots of pancakes.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: DoobieWah
                                                                                                                                                      The Professor Aug 17, 2012 07:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                      "...I don't mean to argue, but you do understand that your "rules" were arbitrarily decided by half a dozen old men undoubtedly in their cups..."
                                                                                                                                                      ----
                                                                                                                                                      EXACTLY!
                                                                                                                                                      Those "rules" are for competition purposes. Outside of that arena, these so called "rules" are virtually meaningless and don't represent any kind of 'official' word on what is or isn't chili.
                                                                                                                                                      Go ahead...add the beans. he chili police won't come. If they do, the beans will scare them off anyway. :-)
                                                                                                                                                      Just as it is in the world of beer and homebrew (where a similar situation exists) , there are no hard and fast rules.
                                                                                                                                                      Only the person making the chili decides what it is, or what it isn't.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Professor
                                                                                                                                                        Perilagu Khan Aug 17, 2012 08:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Bollocks.

                                                                                                                                                        The chili societies are the closest thing to authorities that exist. And as such, their parameters for what constitutes chili mean a great deal.

                                                                                                                                                        Again, you can throw in the pot whatever the hell you want, and you are free to call it chili, but that doesn't make it so.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                                                          h
                                                                                                                                                          hazelhurst Aug 17, 2012 09:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                          I think you would cotton to Frances X Tolbert's "Behind the Store" school (see above).

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                                                            The Professor Aug 17, 2012 09:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I respectfully disagree.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                                                              shanagain Aug 18, 2012 12:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                              "Again, you can throw in the pot whatever the hell you want, and you are free to call it chili, but that doesn't make it so."

                                                                                                                                                              I love any opportunity to throw out one of my favorite Texanisms: Because the cat had kittens in the oven doesn't make them biscuits.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: DoobieWah
                                                                                                                                                        bhoward Aug 18, 2012 08:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Agree you may eat anything anyway you want. But, once you add beans what you are eating isn't chili.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bhoward
                                                                                                                                                          The Professor Aug 18, 2012 11:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                          well, that's just an opinion. :-)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Professor
                                                                                                                                                            shanagain Aug 18, 2012 12:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                            May I ask where you're from?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                                                              The Professor Aug 18, 2012 06:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                              uh oh...are you sending the chili police after me? :-0

                                                                                                                                                              Just teasing.
                                                                                                                                                              A fun discussion, and to commemorate, I'll name my next kitten "Biscuit" in your honor.
                                                                                                                                                              But I'll still put beans...and occasionally pork...in my "chili" . If it makes everyone feel better, I'll promise to never call it 'Texas Chili'
                                                                                                                                                              Even in these parts, I'd get laughed at if I did. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Professor
                                                                                                                                                                shanagain Aug 19, 2012 08:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Ha! (Also, we almost named our Westie "Biscuits" but settled on Ramsay - as in Gordon - based on his personality.)

                                                                                                                                                                But no, no chili police, just wondering where you're from (I noticed a few Jersey posts but didn't want to assume) so that I could draw a better comparison than the pizza comparison I made somewhere in this thread.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: The Professor
                                                                                                                                                              bhoward Aug 24, 2012 06:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                              I love a dish we here in Texas call "Chili beans". It is chili with beans added and is great, especially with jalapeno cornbread. I am usually not a purist about most things but in Texas "chili" simply doesn't contain beans. I am also partial to New Mexico "chili" and know what they mean when I see it on a menu.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bhoward
                                                                                                                                                                Bacardi1 Aug 25, 2012 11:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Now around here (Virginia), the only "Chili Beans" I've seen are the opposite - beans with "some" chili added, & it's usually served as a side dish.

                                                                                                                                                        2. mrbigshotno.1 Jun 23, 2012 05:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                          A couple of years ago I made a couple of gallons of chile colorado for a pot luck get together and never heard so much bitching "This ain't like no chili I ever had", "no beans, then it ain't chili" etc. I got the same thing when I made Neapolitan pizza at a party I threw years ago, "i like Godfathers the best" etc. I just cook for my family and a few close friends anymore. Such is life on the northern great plains.

                                                                                                                                                          1. r
                                                                                                                                                            RevImmigrant Jun 17, 2012 06:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I happen to like beans in my chili. I don't care if it's PC or not. I'm eating it so I make it like I want. I do not put tomatoes or jalapenos or anything else in chili, just ground beef, beans, tomato sauce and the spices.

                                                                                                                                                            1. s
                                                                                                                                                              SAhomecooking Jun 16, 2012 03:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                              +1 for beans....

                                                                                                                                                              1. m
                                                                                                                                                                Mike C. Miller Jun 15, 2012 05:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Beans? In Chili? To paraphrase an add, "Get a rope!"

                                                                                                                                                                Or as we uneducated East Texans say, "Quelle horreur!!! Quel dommage!!"

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mike C. Miller
                                                                                                                                                                  Tripeler Jul 12, 2012 04:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  What? To East Texans speak French?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tripeler
                                                                                                                                                                    f
                                                                                                                                                                    fatterdaysaint Jul 23, 2012 08:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Well, they sure ain't speaking English in some places!

                                                                                                                                                                2. w
                                                                                                                                                                  waistedinkerrville Jun 7, 2012 07:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Whatever you like, but, when you add beans it ceases to be chili.

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: waistedinkerrville
                                                                                                                                                                    Perilagu Khan Jun 21, 2012 12:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Zackly.

                                                                                                                                                                    My chili includes diced beef, broth, various chiles, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, a couple of secret ingredients, and is thickened by an arrowroot emulsion. As much as I love pinto beans in other settings, they have no business whatsoever being in Texas chili.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. shanagain Jun 6, 2012 04:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    No beans.

                                                                                                                                                                    I will make other things that might be called chili in other parts of the world that include beans (that dreadful but delicious "taco soup" made with pintos, kidney beans and ranch dressing mix comes to mind), but if it's chili, there're no beans allowed in the pool.

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: shanagain
                                                                                                                                                                      EWSflash Aug 19, 2012 08:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      OhmyGod- they really need to call it something else. Taco soup- What a travesty

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: EWSflash
                                                                                                                                                                        shanagain Aug 19, 2012 08:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        LOL, I know. The terrible thing about it is how good it is, in a very "Potluck Church Supper" kind of way.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. j
                                                                                                                                                                      Jaymes Jun 3, 2012 07:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      I make two versions of chili, depending upon whom I'm going to be feeding. The "true Texas" version is pretty spicy, with not much but beef (usually chuck), a little liquid, and red chiles. No tomatoes. No beans. I've been told that's the way it was originally made by "Cooky" in the chuck-wagons out on the cattle trails driving the herds north. Just beef, long simmered with an assortment of dried chiles.

                                                                                                                                                                      But if I've got a lot of Yankees or little kids coming, I make a much milder "family style" chili. It's pretty typical of that type. Tomato base, ground beef, and beans.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Tripeler Jun 2, 2012 05:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Not a Texan, but I like to make beef chili. I trim and cut the meat myself into small cubes. Never ever use ground meat.

                                                                                                                                                                        I cook beans separately and have them available as an add-in garnish. The eater can add as much or as little as desired.

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