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Chili Definition

My BFF and I always argue that a dish called chili should not have beans in it. But, everywhere I go, chili (con carne or vegetarian) always have beans. According to him, chili should only contain meat.. at least where he resided for over 30 years, which is Texas.

Any thoughts so we can settle this repeated argument? Thanks.

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  1. IMHO, it's a religious issue and I refuse to get involved. Well, actually, I will get involved: chili must contain chiles, tomatoes, onions and cumin. Everything else is negotiable. I like a good bowl of Texas red, sans beans, but when I'm making chili for a crowd I use beans to stretch it out.

    Now, we can get into a discussion on whether chili verde counts as a chili (I say yes, since tomatillos are kinda sorta close to tomatoes), and whether vegetarian chilis are possible (my opinion again is yes). Tofu in chili is right out, though: if a Texan c. 1850 wouldn't recognize the ingredients it ain't chili as far as I'm concerned.

    6 Replies
    1. re: tardigrade

      Chilli does not even need too much tomato in it either. I've made chilli with dried red chilles and tomato paste.

        1. re: tardigrade

          Hold the beans and serve it over rice or spaghetti!

              1. re: sandylc

                Heard it's good with bowtie pasta.

        2. When I make chill, I always boil some beans separately, and offer them as an optional garnish with the chile. My favorite beans are from the Central Coast in California, and they are very tiny beans much like pintos, and I believe they are called poquitos. I also like to use pinto beans if they are small enough. I make beef chile and for seasonings I also add pure cocoa powder and dark beer.

          Yes, the beans question is like religion, but I find they are a nice addition when I am in the mood.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Tripeler

            Pinquitos. Fabulous beans, too. I get the bag with the Santa Maria seasoning packet included, but use only about a quarter of it in the beans. The rest is an awfully good dry-brining rub for tri-tip.

            1. re: Will Owen

              Thanks, Will. I always get the name for pinquitos wrong. Never had the Santa Maria seasoning packet, but will look closer next time. They are great beans for chill.

              1. re: Tripeler

                When Mrs. O's niece was going to UCSB she would frequently stop be on her way home to Orange County, and a bag of the beans with the seasoning packet was her usual gift for the host. The brand is Susie Q's Santa Maria-Style; I'm guessing she got them at a gift shop or tourist trap near campus.

              2. re: Will Owen

                Pinquitos sound adorable. I wonder if I can find them here in Montréal - or anywhere in eastern Canada?

                Are they also found in any Latin American countries? I could try a Latino market...

                1. re: lagatta

                  Pinquitos are a California variety, with a strong association to Santa Maria BBQ. Beans readily hybridize and develop local strains.

            2. I'm afraid that this is Res Judicata. See H. Allen Smith's "The Great Chili Confrontation" (1967 I think) for the definitive work. It still applies to Common Law Jurisdictions so it is, perforce, sloppy.

              1. If it's going to be used as a topping for something (like hot dogs), then no beans. If it's the main course, then beans.

                1. The only ingredients that must be in chili are meat and chili peppers. You call it chili con carne because its meat cooked with chili peppers. Not because you can have a con or sin carne version. Vegetarian chili makes as much sense to me as veggie burgers. Sure, borrow the name, but don't pretend its really a burger or chili. No beans in chili. You can have some on the side if necessary. No tomatoes either. The color is supposed to come from the chili and meat. Tomatoes is a northern abomination. Once you add tomatoes, its just f__king spicy tomato sauce. Pour it over pasta which I have seen done. Makes me want to scratch my eyes out when I see that. The further chili gets from its roots, the stranger it becomes. Going again to the burger analogy, if you ask for nothing more specific than a burger and someone brings you a tuna/salmon/tofu or whatever patty on a toasted egg challah roll with mango chutney, what would your reaction be? Mine would be WTF? I asked for a burger, not this whatever you may call it. Think of chili as a spicy meat stew. That's what it is at its heart. A bowl of beans cooked in tomatoes and chili peppers is NOT chili. So I'm in your boyfriend's camp because he's right. You should not argue about this with a person from TX. They take their chili seriously and at a very personal level. It looks like you're in Hawaii. How would you feel if he made bean poke? Can poke be made without fish? How about veggie kalua?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Bkeats

                    Look up (online) the hereinbefore (supra) mentioned H Allen Smith "Nobody Knows More about Chili Than I Do." It addresses some of your points including tomato

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      I'm sorry but no one from Decatur, Illinois will be my source for anything on chili no matter what he claims. I think Illinois is one of those places that serve chili on spaghetti. Amusing article and by the author's own writing style, nothing here that is supposed to represent anything other than many people's opinions.

                      So to add nuance to my first post, have you had chili made with and without tomatoes? I prefer it w/o and I feel that he flavor of the chilis and meat come through better without the tomato flavor. It takes more work to make it that way but I like it better. No beans no matter what the flatulent H. Allen Smith may think.

                      By the way, his recipe is to my eye at least, nothing other than spicy tomato meat sauce with beans. Ground chuck. Chili powder? Jesus christmas. WTF. Might as well start with a can of Hormel.

                      1. re: Bkeats

                        Take him on--even dead--at your own peril. The complete book--which the article spawned--is a classic. It is as true today as it was then

                        1. re: Bkeats

                          I like my chili with a simmering rage and a nice, steaming cup of ego.

                    2. IMO, if what you're making (or ordering in a restaurant) is referred to as "Texas chili," it better not have beans in it. If it's just "chili," it can have just about anything in it, and I would expect beans.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: biondanonima

                        It reminds me of BBQ. It's a bit different everywhere you go, and everyone argues over it.

                      2. It's pretty simple: Texas chili has no beans; but everyone else in the world adds beans as they see fit. There is no more rationality to the difference than you see with college football allegiances (for which Texas is also famous!).

                        1. Competition chili, by definition, does not include beans. Since I do not participate in chili competitions, this native Texan always puts beans in his chili, and anyone who complains about that doesn't get any.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                            Smith's genius continues to play out in this thread...as it has in others.

                          2. This won't be of interest to anyone but heart and blood pressure patients who have an interest in maintaining their Potassium level, but it's fascinating for them. Everyone says "eat bananas for Potassium" but a banana has 413 mg Potassium while a couple of bowls of chili WITH BEANS may well have 2000. One cup stewed kidney beans has 713 mg Potassium, 1cup liquid from stewed kidney beans has 979, 1 cup crushed canned tomatoes has 355, and 1/4 cup canned tomato paste has 431 (1724 per cup). So, for health reasons, with apologies to Texas, there can be a very good reason to put kidney beans in chili. (Values cited from USDA Nutrients Database)

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Querencia

                              I don't even pretend to play a doctor on tv or claim it to get a parking space but it sure seems that, from my chili experience, salt would be a helluva problem re: blood pressure.

                              1. re: hazelhurst

                                Nope. Only rarely, despite all the bad advice out there. Salt helps get potassium into cells by opening the channels. I lower my bp with salt.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  And here I thought it was sodium that was the problem. One wonders about potassium chloride? Well, I don't know. Leave that for the Medicos.

                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                    No, I'll keep doing my own research and staying off meds with low normal bp. :-)

                                    Actually, the med stats are that only a small percentage of ht folks are salt sensitive. And that in general, mortality is higher with strong salt restriction.

                              2. re: Querencia

                                Your promotion of beans in chili for health reasons is ignoring an even better source of potassium --- eating beans with no chili.

                                1. re: Querencia

                                  Add some avocado or guacamole: one Hass has 750mg K.

                                2. After Molly Ivins died I stopped taking Texans seriously on any subject … I will however point out that this H. Allen Smith guy (yes, from Decatur IL) was one of the instigators of the Texas Chili Cookoff, and that Carroll Shelby (a Texan) was behind a product that still bears his name if not his own (possibly ghost-written) instructions for using it. The original recipe suggests beans if you want them; the current version specifies beans. Oh, and a small can of tomato sauce.

                                  If the folks in Texas want to leave beans, tomatoes, fresh chiles or onions or any fresh vegetable at all out of their chili they can certainly do that. But a Texan telling any non-Texan that his chili isn't chili is like me telling that to the Greek guy from Cincinnati because his has cinnamon in it. To him it's chili, dammit.

                                  I'm perfectly happy with a beanless, even a tomatoless and onionless chili, but Mrs. O believes that it is primarily a spicy bean dish and I dare make it only that way. And, nowadays, with meatless "burger."

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    I again refer you... and anyone else...to the "Chili Confrontation ' book wherein Terilingua's origins are found. Read it all will be revealed (or reviled)....sort of.

                                    The profession of humorist seems sometimes to be endangered, if not extinct.

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      I got some Molly Ivins books for Christmas from a dear friend with good taste in reading material, and I'm reading my way through them as an act of tribute. I haven't seen her take part in the chili subject yet.

                                      I grew up on school cafeteria chili in the Northwest, where chili is a one-dish meal made from cheap available ingredients. And it's always underseasoned. You have to reach for the little bottle of Mexican picante or tobasco to give it a kick.

                                      Now I'm in California, and what the Texans call "chili" we call "chile colorado" - beef and chile sauce, no beans, no tomato, just a type of beef stew.

                                      1. re: Sharuf

                                        Well – full disclosure – I grew up in an Illinois household where "chili" was a hamburger, tomato and kidney bean soup, and the chili powder was added AT THE TABLE. I was thirty-some before I learned that it should be added to the meat as it finishes browning and before any liquid is added, which was the magic formula to make what's in the pot taste more like what's in the can. That is also omitted in the Carroll Shelby's instructions, which baffles me.

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          Growing up in CT my mother made chili the same way except she added the chili powder to the soup.
                                          Why would you add the chili powder to the meat before adding liquid? I let the meat absorb the chili seasoning by letting it simmer for a while in the liquid. I also use Shelby's mix after trying most of the others. I add 2 cans of El Pato hot Mexican tomato sauce, a dash or 2 of hot chili powder or a serrano or piquin chili. I make it thick, wrap it up in a tortilla and serve as chili burritos. Leftovers make a great topping for hot dogs/hamburgers.

                                          1. re: mucho gordo

                                            You add the spices to the fat in the pan so the spices can toast for a couple of minutes before adding the liquid. Intensifies the flavor of the spices.

                                            1. re: pamf

                                              The spices I use are in powder form and would dissolve in the fat. I don't want all that fat in my chili or does the seasoning thicken the grease so it can be added to the liquid?

                                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                                Drain the excess grease, you just need a little bit on the pan to toast the spices. It does help to thicken a little.

                                                1. re: pamf

                                                  That does sound interesting and I will try it next time. I can see where the fat might enhance the beefiness a bit. Thanks for the tip.

                                        2. re: Sharuf

                                          "I got some Molly Ivins books for Christmas from a dear friend with good taste in reading material, and I'm reading my way through them as an act of tribute. I haven't seen her take part in the chili subject yet. "
                                          Well, she died a few years ago. So don't hold your breath.

                                      2. It is amazing. This topic remains me of my quantum mechanics class in graduate school. I walked out of the class knowing less than I walked in.

                                        I know less about chili after reading my fellow beloved chowhounders' responses.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          The recommend button does not adequately reflect how strongly I identify with this analogy. Well done, chem!

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              There are many things in life that can be appreciated and applied without fully understanding them on a theoretical basis. I have just never thought chili was one of them until now. ;)

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            I enjoyed quantum theory. Made intuitive sense to me. PDE on the other hand had my head spinning.

                                          2. The whole issues is silly. I remember seeing Chili con Carne on the menu when I was in grade school. Chili con Carne means chili with meat. It seems to me that the name signifies that there is or was a chili without meat. If so, what would be in it except beans?

                                            Whatever the definition, for the vast majority of chili hounds, beans are happily an ingredient in the chili. If Texans want to argue about whether beans should be in chili, then I say, let them argue. But I like it with beans. Always have. I don't let someone else define what I call chili, which has many, many variations.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                              Based on that logic, since chili refers only to the chili peppers, not the dish, chili without meat but beans would be chili con frijol.

                                              1. re: Bkeats

                                                Yeah, I guess. Or frijoles? I confess I have almost no Spanish.

                                                My point was that what some call authentic chili has been called for ages, "chile con carne." If the carne was the default, surely it would not be stated as having meat.

                                                But honestly I don't know. I admit I just like chile with beans, and I don't care what chile purists think.

                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                  Frijoles enchilados
                                                  beans with chile seasoning (here 'frijoles' is the noun, 'enchilados' is the adjective, meaning 'with chiles'. 'enchiladas' is the same adjective turned noun).

                                                  In this recipe, ancho chiles are rehydrated and pureed, and added to sauteed onion and garlic. Then cooked beans are added to this 'sofrito'. The only added spice is oregano).

                                                  The closest thing in the first Rick Bayless cookbook to 'chile con carne' is 'Carne con chile colorado' meat (pork shoulder) in red-chile sauce. Note again the switch in word order.

                                                  For beef in chile sauce, you have to ask taco trucks and taquerias for 'birria'. Goat or mutton is the more traditional meat in this dish, but beef is more common in the USA.

                                            2. There is no "official' definition of chili. It's all according to ones own preferences, traditions, or whatever.
                                              For me, it HAS to include beans...my preference being either dark red kidney beans, cargamento beans, or good ol' red beans.
                                              Also, by a long shot I prefer chili made with a combination of beef and pork. The way I had it once years ago... in Texas.

                                              37 Replies
                                              1. re: The Professor

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

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  fine so far a it goes..but what does CASI say? After all they, "run" Terilingua....[I note, en passant, that many gumbo contests In Louisiana do not allow rice in submissions to he judges. No one disputes the legitimate place of rice in gumbo. Perhaps judges of chili eschew beans in an effort to discover an 'Ur-Chili" to which beans may---or may not under penalty of death by pistol ball---be added.]

                                                  Just trying to add to the confusion.

                                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                                    I always thought a proper gumbo had rice on the side, added at will. Native Texan here, no beans in chill camp. Love reading you on the Nawlins board. What is your take on crab in gumbo? Other than claws, I find the bodies difficult to eat and the taste overpowered. Are they in it for flavoring? Love me oysters in seafood gumbo, or some good chicken and sausage.

                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                      You raise a proper---and wholly unnecessary(and therefore welcome)--point. A "proper gumbo" is akin to a proper curry.

                                                      At a home service you are on solid ground;: bowl of rice, gumbo served a discretion
                                                      In most restaurants, thought, there will be a blob of rice in the center of the bowl. Sometimes there is a "gift" of rice atop the gumbo. Nowadays it seems to be all presentation silliness.

                                                      As to crab in gumbo: The "bodies being difficult to eat" only require digging out a bit of meat with a spoon. Claws are often added as "show" these days. I'd rather have a half a crab body and a few claws in the bowl that be treated to a perfect "image" of a gumbo that was conjured by an advertising idiot who trys to sell me an image of what he imagines I thought I knew.

                                                        1. re: hazelhurst

                                                          But, there's no such thing as curry....

                                                          1. re: Kalivs

                                                            Curry is a blend of spices. It's a useful term, even if not specific. The comparison of gumbo to curry is apt.

                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                              Curry Powder is a blend of Spices.
                                                              Curry is a type Dish

                                                              1. re: chefj

                                                                good luck with that. My 1939 cookbooks would make an arguement..(well, the books wouldn't) If only SJ Perelman were here to spice the fight.

                                                                1. re: chefj

                                                                  "curry" is a term used by the British to describe a multitude of different dishes from the South Asian subcontinent. regional dishes are never called "curries" in indigenous languages. It has become shorthand for a dish with spices. But, I don't find the term useful because it can be used to describe anything.

                                                                  1. re: Kalivs

                                                                    The British did take it and run with it but it is a real word that means something.
                                                                    Curry comes from the Tamil Word "Kari" which meant a sauce or relish to be eaten with Rice. In South Asia it still has the same meaning and usage. You see wet and dry Curry sections on most menus and in Cookery Books in Southern India.

                                                                    1. re: chefj

                                                                      Only books written in English and that word is only used in Tamil Nadu indigenously not elsewhere in the subcontinent. You would never find it in Punjabi, Gujurati, Bengali or Marathi. But, now we use it for everything including Thai & Japanese.

                                                                      1. re: Kalivs

                                                                        What's wrong with that? We speak English, not (most of us) any of the hundreds of South Asian languages. It's about food, not language.

                                                                        By the way, I've never heard any Japanese food being described as a curry. I doubt that is commonplace.

                                                                        1. re: GH1618


                                                                          First paragraph: "Curry (カレー karē?) is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. It is commonly served in three main forms: curry rice (カレーライス karē raisu?), karē udon (thick noodles) and karē-pan. Curry rice is most commonly referred to simply as 'curry' (カレー karē?)."

                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                            It's a new phenomenon in Japanese cuisine. But it is very different from Indian curry... much more milder and used corn starch to thicken the curry -- no yogurt nor coconut milk. Also, much sweeter and the notable use of MSG. I pass ... prefer the hot spicy stuff !

                                                                            1. re: roro808

                                                                              A new phenomenon, by Japanese standards. Japanese curry has been made for about a century, from what I know. It is usually very mild, but is a sauce containing various kinds of meats and often cubes of potato, carrot, sliced onions, green beans and other vegetables.

                                                                          2. re: Kalivs

                                                                            The word Curry to describe many Dishes both Dry and Wet is used all over the subcontinent now.
                                                                            Are you saying the Curry(கறி) is not a Tamil word?

                                                                            1. re: chefj

                                                                              Not at all, I'm saying that "curry" is an English adaptation of a Tamil word that gets used to describe almost every dish from the subcontinent and beyond. I don't find the word very useful for that reason. And, though you will find it in books written in English, it doesn't appear in cookbooks written in other Indian languages. I think you are right in drawing the comparison to chili, but with one crucial difference. If some asks me how to make chili, I know what to say; if they ask me how to make curry, I have no idea what to say.

                                                                              1. re: Kalivs

                                                                                "if they ask me how to make curry, I have no idea what to say." Agreed

                                                                                1. re: Kalivs

                                                                                  There are many ways to make chili, and pizza, and borscht, and goulash. These are all broad categories. It's the same, I think.

                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                    I will not have you clouding a perfectly good argument with facts.

                                                                              2. re: Kalivs

                                                                                '660 Curries' is written by an Indian who isn't afraid to use the term in its most general sense.

                                                                                But the comparison of curry to chili is apt. Both take a foreign style of cooking and spicing, give it an Anglicized name, and then adapt the ingredients to almost unrecognizable degrees.

                                                                                But then Indians have their own way adapting foreign food - taking the form but using their familiar spices.

                                                                              3. re: chefj

                                                                                Isn't that what cooking is about though? Taking ideas and making something we think is yummy from them?

                                                                            2. re: chefj

                                                                              Just like chili -- curry connotes the main ingredients of turmeric, coriander, cumin, chili powder, coconut milk or yoghurt. You can add other spices according to the dish you want to make. Add lemon grass and fish sauce, you get the basic spices for Thai curry; add lots of galangal, fresh chili, coriander, tamarind -- you get the basic of Indonesian/Malaysian curry. .. and so on. So, different curries represent different areas. Same goes with Harissa as the basic blend of spices from Mideast.

                                                                              1. re: roro808

                                                                                JUST STOP IT ROWROW808!!! M yBrain is full and I can't take it any more. You started out so innocently and
                                                                                now look what's happened .

                                                                  2. re: paulj

                                                                    The ICS (which seems to be concentrated in the Southwest) sponsors an annual chili cook off. They are free to define what type of chili is acceptable at their contests (chili con carne solo?), but they should not try to hijack the definition for everyone else.

                                                                    1. re: DonShirer

                                                                      Who's hijacking? International Chlii was citied above as providing The Defintiion. CASI is a separate entity. "everyone else" can organize and set a standard of "their" own. Have at it....I just pull up a chair and watch--and eat.

                                                                      This fight has ben an ongoing delight for 50+ years.

                                                                      1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                        There will be battles over Chili and the Civil War until the Rapture!!!

                                                                        1. re: gbrainard5575

                                                                          Is that the pre or post trib rapture? :)

                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                            It's all the way to the Judgment Seat!!!

                                                                      2. re: DonShirer

                                                                        Given that everyone traces chili back to Texas and the San Antonio chili queens (and maybe chuckwagon chefs), a Texas definition carries more weight than a NYC or Illinois one. That said, no one is saying that Cincinnati chili stands have to take the cinnamon out of their stew, or midwest housewives have to actually put some chile pepper in theirs.

                                                                        I grew up with a midwestern style that was basically kidney beans in a tomato sauce (with some meat), and hated it. The beef and chile stew that I make is far superior to that. But I'm not a bean purist. I find that blackbeans add a nice touch especially when the meat is fattier (like ox tail).

                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                          Just for the helluvit..and I assure you and yours that the following remark is ALL for purposes of Truth, Explication, Description , taint,whiff, general condierartion and any other nonsense, I question your opening remark. Where or when was it ever "Given?" I learned why they killed Socrates after reading his constant bleats about"It is given" or "we know.' Phooey

                                                                          Yours in a non-Socreteian of a sense of FUN.

                                                                      3. re: paulj

                                                                        Isn't that for cook offs? You can't really make people adhere to definitions at home. Who are we to care if someone adds tomatoes or beans and call it chili? It seems that beef and chilies are just a starting point for people making something they enjoy. I'm just not stuck on the idea of not being able to eat or enjoy something because it doesn't match the strict definition.

                                                                    2. I think she meant her BMF, at least I hope she did. She did say him and he, after all.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Joebob

                                                                        BFF = Best Friend Forever. No gender requirement.

                                                                      2. In Wisconsin and Midwest, We Serve the Meat with the following condiments of which you may choose none or all: Beans: Pinto, Kidney or red beans.
                                                                        Chopped onions, Ready Cut Spaghetti (such as Creamette Brand.) Sliced Ripe Olives, Sour Cream and Grated Cheese of choice. Also the option of shaking on a little Cider Vinegar Steeped with Crushed Red Pepper.
                                                                        Generally for Parties and Tailgating we mix beans with the meat and put in macaroni so it doesn't break down from re-heating. This is 100% acceptable if time and compactness for tailgating comes into play. In fact probably this is the way it's done most of the time anyway.
                                                                        Chili recipes are incredibly regional and depending on where you live, you usually succumb to the region you were born in. There is no such thing as the wrong way to make Chili. For the most part we don't use tomatoes. Might I be so bold as to suggest that you Google: Chili Johns Restaurants in Green Bay WI. They are famous Nationwide as the arguably the Best Chili ever. Its the Standard used in most Chili Cook-offs. This is my story and I'm sticking to it!!!!

                                                                        There are only two types of people in this World: Those who love Chili and Communists.

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: gbrainard5575

                                                                          Your last statement is really out of line. Where food is concerned, people may like or dislike as they do without any political connotation. This site is about food, not politics.

                                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                                              Wow, lighten up!
                                                                              I'll add a third category; people without a sense of humor. Oh, same as communists. Never mind.

                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                Personally, I know communists who both like chili and are...wait for it...funny. ;)

                                                                            2. re: gbrainard5575

                                                                              In Minnesota, chili is rarely served in either the manner that is done at Chili Johns or in Cinncinnatti.

                                                                            3. RORO 808

                                                                              I just read all the responses!!! See what you've started!!! This Site is going to Crash on account of you & your BFF. He knew that and abandoned you to the masses. You'd be less notorious if you would have been a Jury member on the O.J.Simpson Trial. I'll never forget you. Please don't post any comments on the Civil War. Like I said Citizen: THERE IS NO WRONG WAY TO MAKE CHILI!! RESPECTFULLY YOURS

                                                                              GBRAINARD5575, SAYING: Dogs,Cats, Christmas Trees and Children belong outside.
                                                                              P.S Get a new BFF cause he's laughing behind your Back

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: gbrainard5575

                                                                                I refer the Honourable Gentleman (Lady) to the answer(s) I gave some moments ago....

                                                                              2. John Thorne has a nice essay on this topic in one of his books.

                                                                                Somebody else made the point that the debate is like sports; fans tend to believe in exceptionalism. That is the way I look at it...I eat what I want when I am hungry.

                                                                                  1. re: roro808

                                                                                    The next thread you start should be about boiling ribs.

                                                                                    Texans take their chili seriously, as do those on the chili cook-off circuit. Several years ago a guy entered a chili competition and he won. He got samples from all of the contestants and mixed them all together and turned that chili in to be judged. I think he might still be in jail.

                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                      Actually our next argument is "smoke rib"... Any takers?

                                                                                        1. re: roro808

                                                                                          ME! ME! ME! C'MON! C'MON! CALL ON ME!!

                                                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                                                          Lol, dear heaven, that's hysterical.

                                                                                          For a laugh, I unwrapped/repackaged a supermarket pumpkin bread and brought it in to work for our pumpkin bread competition. Maybe 2002-2003? I revealed right after the judging. People still get hot when it comes up in conversation.

                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                            I'm a Texan and know many, many people. None of them really take it seriously. Everyone I know makes it with ground beef, spices, and tomatoes. Some may add beans or serve it over rice. Not a lot of restaurants in my area serve it either, and I live in a major city. People seem to care far more about BBQ.

                                                                                          2. re: roro808

                                                                                            This box has been opened before and got predictably ugly with deletions etc. Native Texan, no stinking beans and no boiled ribs. Oh yes, nachos minimally prepared with cheese and a jalapeno individually done, maybe some fresh lump blue crab. No pile of crap poured over defenseless chips.

                                                                                          3. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/831405
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                                                                                            Chili--Beans or no beans?
                                                                                            227 June 2012

                                                                                            ISO Chili Cook Off Advice (from UK)
                                                                                            80 June 2013

                                                                                            1. There are as many 'definitions' of 'chili' as there are people who cook 'chili'.

                                                                                              In the end, it can be argued that none of them are wrong.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                While I agree with your calm view "Come Let Us Reason Togeher" let us all face facts; they wanna fight: let them fight. There is no "right answer." The rest of us will enjoy---and participate the show

                                                                                              2. Chili doesn't even need meat. The only essential ingredient is chile pepper, in some kind of sauce.

                                                                                                20 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                  Thus far, this seems to be the only ingredient which everyone agree. On one side, we have people claiming that chili and beef are must On the other end, we have people saying that chili and beans are essential.

                                                                                                  At the end, I only know chili pepper is needed.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                    I'm with you. I prefer chili powder for my chili, but yes. Everything else is up to the cook.

                                                                                                    I love chili. I make it often. And I don't let some Texan decide how I make it.

                                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                      I used to prefer chili powder until I started to use dried New Mexico chiles. Now I rehydrate them with dried red anchos and only use a small amount of commercial chili powder.

                                                                                                      I now use the dried chilles and do not use much tomato product at all, just a little tomato paste.

                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                        I can understand that if you have access to dried NM chilies you might prefer. But I make chili all sorts of ways. I do have access to dried NM chilies now, and I like the stuff just fine.

                                                                                                        I've discovered a new Penzey's blend though that I really like. For me chili is a little different each time I make it.

                                                                                                        I had chili today at Panera, and honestly, I make it better. Far better. I often order chili when I eat at a chain. At any rate I am no purist when it comes to ingredients. But chopped carrot? That just doesn't seem right to me. More than that though, it wasn't spicy enough for me.

                                                                                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                      OK -- chili pepper is the main red ingredient. How about other "main spices" e.g. cumin/oregano/onion/garlic/pepper? Aren't these part of a chili ingredients. I \would definitely exclude a chili recipe calling for mole....it too far out for me.

                                                                                                      1. re: roro808

                                                                                                        I have no idea. It seems that no one can agree what the is in a chili beside: (1) chili pepper and (2) water.

                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                          On further reflection, though, I think a chili which is only sauce is "chili sauce." There should be some protein. Traditionally, there is meat, but I have had vegetarian chili containing tofu. I don't agree with those who say a meatless chili isn't chili at all, although those who run chili cookoffs certainly may set any constraints they like on what is admissable.

                                                                                                        2. re: roro808

                                                                                                          chili con carne, from Joy of Cooking circa 1970

                                                                                                          saute onion (and/or 1/2 clove garlic)
                                                                                                          1-2 lb ground beef
                                                                                                          canned tomatoes
                                                                                                          3-4c canned kidney beans
                                                                                                          salt, bay leaf, sugar
                                                                                                          2t - 2T chili powder

                                                                                                          Chile pepper is not the main ingredient at 2t, and barely so at 2T. That's what I described in another post as kidney beans in a tomato sauce with some ground meat. It is (or atleast was) typical of chili in many parts of the USA, especially the midwest.

                                                                                                          I've seen vegetarian chili recipes that were hardly better - just replacing the ground meat with green and red bell peppers, corn, zucchini, and who knows what other vegetables.

                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                            It isn't the main ingredient, but it's the essential ingredient.

                                                                                                          2. re: roro808

                                                                                                            Cumin is an Old World spice. It is more prominent in Tex-Mex chili than most Mexican recipes. Some attribute this to the influence of Canary Islanders who came to San Antonio in 1731.

                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                              Now we're moving out, getting to the good stuff

                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                Robb Walsh is one writer who makes this connection, also. Congratulations on your in-depth knowledge of this subject. In spite of my screen name, I am a born and raised Texan.

                                                                                                                (This response was meant for paulj)

                                                                                                                1. re: Virginian

                                                                                                                  Re: Canary Islanders again, see Smith

                                                                                                              2. re: roro808

                                                                                                                Really, don't most home cooks use chili powder? Chili powder is a blend of chili pepper and other spices such as cumin (which I love) and probably Mexican oregano.

                                                                                                                If you are only using chili pepper, then you will in effect be creating your own blend, when you add the other spices you choose.

                                                                                                                There a bazillion ways to make chili.

                                                                                                                1. re: roro808

                                                                                                                  But "mole" is just Nahuatl for sauce, which comes in all sorts of variations in addition to the chocolate/chile-based mole poblano many Norteamericanos are familiar with I like a pinch of powdered unsweetened chocolate in my chili at times: it's a good Aztec ingredient.

                                                                                                              3. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                GH1618, Are you living in a vacuum? Classic Answer!!
                                                                                                                Somehow that makes sense. You from Gilroy CA.?

                                                                                                                1. re: gbrainard5575

                                                                                                                  I don't understand your question and no, I am not from Gilroy.

                                                                                                                2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                  I think you will find people who make chili without chili pepper or powder. Beans, corn, onion, celery, tomato paste, no chili peppers or even powder. Maybe some paprika. Why is it called chili? I guess because there are beans in it. Like needles in my eyes.

                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                      That sounds like a point I might make. I have a SIL who makes a vegetable beef soup (I'm sure she follows the recipe exactly) and she puts a lot of tomato sauce in it as well as chili powder. That makes it a bastardized chili in my book.

                                                                                                                3. I wonder where the "no beans in chili" attitude came from? Beans have been added to canned chili con carne for more than 100 years. In fact the ad calls them "chili beans".

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

                                                                                                                  19 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                    Nevada, Missouri newspaper.

                                                                                                                    Stews with beans in them are not common in Mexico. Beans more commonly are served on the side, sometimes even at the end of the meal.

                                                                                                                    "A big plate of chili and beans, with a tortilla on the side, cost a dime." This is a description from 1927 of earlier San Antonio chili. [ie. beans on the side]

                                                                                                                    The dish went national when Texas set up a 'San Antonio Chili Stand' at the Worlds Fair in Chicago 1893.

                                                                                                                    Gebhardt started to can it in 1898 (as well as selling his chili powder). I can't find a definitive description, but I don't think he included beans.

                                                                                                                    My guess is that beans became part of chili as it moved out of Texas in the early 1900s. And I suspect the main reason for doing so was to save on ingredients costs. It might have also been a labor savings - cooking the beans with the meat, rather than separately. That makes some sense if you only serve beans with chili.

                                                                                                                    Mexican American Cuisine (Stavans, p10)
                                                                                                                    also views beans this way:
                                                                                                                    "Already tamed down for timid palates, chili underwent other alterations, the side order of beans was unceremoniously dumped into the pot, and it was added to hot dogs, and, in Cincinnati, even to spaghetti."

                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                      1854 Harper's Magazine refered to "Chili Beans" in a description of a trip to Oregon.
                                                                                                                      Why would they call them "chili beans" if they were not made with chili at some point?


                                                                                                                      1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                        Note this is capitalized, 'Chili beans'. Looks like this is a reference to the country, not the stew or the pepper.

                                                                                                                        "The older spelling "Chili" was in use in English until at least 1900 before switching over to "Chile".[23]" Wiki Chile article. Google ngram supports this. 'Chili' is common in the 19th c, and always refers to the country.

                                                                                                                        Now a 1920's 'chili bean' probably was a bean that was commonly used in the stew. But 1854 is too early for that. The San Antonio Chili Queens only appear in 1880.

                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                          Walkers Red Hot Chili con Carne from Austin Texas, 1918
                                                                                                                          brochure advertises Walker's Chile con Carne


                                                                                                                          "Walker's Red Hot Chile Con Carne 1918
                                                                                                                          In 1918 Walker Austex was producing 45,000 cans of Walker's Red Hot Chile Con Carne (with beans) and 15,000 cans of Mexene Chili Powder a day in their new factory in Austin, Texas."


                                                                                                                          1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                            The U.S. Army has been serving Chili con Carne with beans to troops since at least 1910.

                                                                                                                            1917 Manual for Army Cooks - Chili con Carne with Beans


                                                                                                                            1910 Manual for Army Cooks - Chili con Carne with Beans


                                                                                                                            1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                              But notice that most of the earlier recipes cook beans separately. That includes Walkers 1918 recipe. Beans tended to come later.

                                                                                                                              The book gives conflicting information as to whether the earliest Army recipe (pre WW1) included beans or not.

                                                                                                                              In 1918 was Walkers canning for the Army, or local Texas consumption?

                                                                                                                              Another copy of that Walker's recipe

                                                                                                                              Dave DeWitt's history. (in earlier posts I was working from DeWitt's 'The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia'.)

                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                "In 1918 was Walkers canning for the Army, or local Texas consumption?"

                                                                                                                                You don't print color advertising brochures with recipes included for the Army.

                                                                                                                                At the end of the brochure it states, "If your grocer does not handle our products, write us. We will see your are supplied."


                                                                                                                              2. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                I'm putting all your replies in "Favorites" for later.NOW we're doin' Chil stuff

                                                                                                                              3. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                Could be. Trade between Chile and the west coast of North America began in the 1790s. Many Chileans emigrated to California during the California gold rush (1848). By 1854, Oregonians would have known about the dried beans brought by Chileans.


                                                                                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                  Also many 49s traveled around Cape Horn to San Francisco, though I don't know how many of those ships stopped in Chile on the way north.

                                                                                                                                  The author that Harpers account had come north from San Francisco, though it wasn't clear how he'd arrived there. He talks about a clipper ship.

                                                                                                                                  One of my favorite beans is variously called Mayocoba, Peruano, Canario, each name referencing very different locations.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                    I've just discovered Mayo Coba beans! Do you put them in chile? Of course you could. Do you use them any other way? They are really nice beans.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                      Maybe as a reaction to the over abundance of kidney beans in the chili of my youth, I don't like beans to be prominent in mine. That's why I prefer black beans, used in moderation, and cooked enough so they almost become part of the sauce. I use mayocoba beans by themselves. I agree with others that they work well in cassoulet style preparations.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                        I think some where along the line I stated that one has a tendency to morph toward the Chili of his youth. Proof of point is your statement of your reaction to overage of Kidney Beans. I can relate to that. However I also read that kidney Beans should be used because they had a distinctive Beefy taste that was not apparent in any other Bean and therefore added to the all-over taste by driving the importance of the Bean addition off center. Perhaps you may want to re-Visit the Kidney Bean at least in its light red form. You may be pleasantly surprised (or not). The same rule of thumb,as far as foods of your youth are concerned,also applies to Meatloaf.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                          Mayocobas/Peruanos are my alltime favorite cassoulet bean, especially given the prices for the "correct" Tarbais. Like silk on the tongue.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                  I wonder if it came about because they taste nice with chili and stretch it out cheaply to feed more people.

                                                                                                                              4. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                Antilope, Gotta strain this good stuff out of the blog for later.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                  I believe the idea of cooking Meat in Chili Sauce came from Mexico and was the Forefather of American Chili Con Carne.
                                                                                                                                  In Mexico the Beans are almost always served on the side rather than part of the Stew.
                                                                                                                                  Edit: I see that Paulj already put this likelihood forward.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                    Ah, that Nevada ad sounds like lovely, tasty free verse:

                                                                                                                                    We offer
                                                                                                                                    Our chili con carne
                                                                                                                                    To you with the absolute assurance
                                                                                                                                    Of satisfying you.
                                                                                                                                    Made from selected meats
                                                                                                                                    With chili beans
                                                                                                                                    And imported Mexican chili
                                                                                                                                    Together with nice butter fat,
                                                                                                                                    Giving it a rich flavor.
                                                                                                                                    That's why
                                                                                                                                    You will want more.
                                                                                                                                    Try a can,
                                                                                                                                    Only 10c.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                      Damn antilope, you sure hang on to stuff. 1911? That should have been fish wrap long ago.

                                                                                                                                    2. You want to see some strange chili ingredients?

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

                                                                                                                                      World Chili Champions recipes 1967 - 2011


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

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

                                                                                                                                      What kind of championship cook is that?

                                                                                                                                      The Lance Armstrong's of Chili. ;-).

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


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

                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                        I've got to put this one in "Favorites" and sift thru it carefully.
                                                                                                                                        This is way cool.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                          If you research how and why Terelingua's Cookoff was founded your questions will be answered. I've already given the roadmap but you'll have ti do the work yourself

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                            I recall a recipe calling to include mole sauce... pass !

                                                                                                                                            1. re: roro808

                                                                                                                                              Absolute knowledge I have none
                                                                                                                                              But my aunt's washerwoman's sister's son
                                                                                                                                              Heard a policeman on hs beat
                                                                                                                                              Say to a laborer in the street (a laborer whom he did not seek)
                                                                                                                                              That he heard of a wild man in Borneo who
                                                                                                                                              Got the dope from timbuktoo
                                                                                                                                              That folks in Cincy are simply silly
                                                                                                                                              For bowls of American red hot chile And part of their preferred fabrication
                                                                                                                                              Involves..heaven save the nation!..Doses of chocolate of bitter dark.

                                                                                                                                              So sayeth the sages who prattle away.
                                                                                                                                              Logic is logic, that's all I say.
                                                                                                                                              [Apologies to Sen Henry Cabot Lodge and en passant to Oliver Wendell homes(Sr)]

                                                                                                                                          2. The GREAT Chili con Carne Project: - Chili history by Dave DeWitt 2003 (11 parts with biblio)


                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                              I've seen that before and it is very useful, including the once-famous "behind the store" faction at Terltingua. It gives strong hints as to what they were up to at the first show.

                                                                                                                                            2. I'm from Texas and prefer no beans with it served over rice. I also like Cincinnati chili over macaroni with cheese.

                                                                                                                                              1. Chili is just such a wonderful dish and people are so passionate about it.
                                                                                                                                                I've always made chili with beans, and I love the practical aspect of beans. Not only do I love me some beans, but they're cheap protein and the can really stretch the meal.

                                                                                                                                                1. I regularly make chili both with and without beans. The chili without beans is mostly used to make coneys/chili dogs. Hotdog chili with beans is more of an abomination than is regular chili eaten out of a bowl that includes beans as an ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                  1. In researching old chili references, I found an old cookbook on Google books (I've since lost the link) from around 1900 showing chili con carne (without beans) served on mashed potatoes. They actually had a picture. I'm glad that one never caught on. ;-). There were several references/cookbooks around 1900 with recipes serving chili con carne with several kinds of potato dishes.

                                                                                                                                                    If I find the link again, I will post it.

                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                      Dinner today by coincidence happened to be chili on baked potatoes. Doesn't seem strange at all to me!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                          Or over rice. Or over any starch you care to serve it with.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                        When I was young, I knew a woman who put potatoes in chili -- her people were German immigrants. It was pretty good, too.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Agree to disagree. It's the chicken and the egg, just let it go.

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: autumm

                                                                                                                                                          What would be the fun in that? If we all took that approach, there wouldn't be much on CH worth reading.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I have lived in Texas a long time, but prior to my arrival here I lived a LOT of other places (Navy junior). I developed a pretty good appreciation for things being different from region to region. This thread has brought a lot of those memories back. I have to say that there are a lot of different kinds of chili, and in any given set of circumstances I might like one better than another, just as I love most Indian curries, but sometimes a British/Navy curry, made with canned curry powder, is just the ticket. But when someone says, "Make chili," I cut cubes of beef, brown them in bacon fat, add a mix of dried chilies, cayenne, cumin, oregano, onions, and garlic, and maybe a dollop of booze and a kiss of tomato. It is hot, and it doesn't have beans. It would probably gross out people from Cincinnati, but I appreciate it. However, I will out myself right here, Texans. I prefer Hatch chilies and carnitas, maybe with some black beans!

                                                                                                                                                          1. So last night we go out to dinner. On the menu is Moroccan chili. The description says chickpeas, olives and chicken in a spicy tomato sauce. I did not order it. Renders adding beans a small offense now. I retract all my previous posts.

                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                              Sounds yummy to me! It's kinda sorta a little like chili: it's got beans, meat, tomatoes, spices - but I wouldn't call it a chili. I would use it to bolster my argument that there only a handful of basic foods, and all variations come from using local ingredients - but that's another thread.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                                Oh! I'd love that recipe! Maybe there is a version online. I'll have to look.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                                  Spanish chili?

                                                                                                                                                                  Gypsy stew with pork, chickpeas, vegetables, paprika, sweet and smoked, to taste.

                                                                                                                                                                  Cooking meat with beans, especially chickpeas, is characteristic of Spanish cooking than Mexican.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                                    I would imagine this is a marketing ploy to sell more of the product, which backfires on Chowhounds who have clearly defined views on the meaning of the word "chili" and know a lot more about food in general than the average bear. To your average customer, using the Moroccan name of the dish or even describing it as "Moroccan chickpea stew" might be offputting/intimidating, since they might not have any idea what they were going to get. Calling it "chili" gives them a frame of reference and an easy way to imagine what the dish will be like before taking the plunge.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                      I love this stuff. We're talking about a Cross Section of America and their regional food preferences. Where else but online is this going to happen? Think about it, Real People, real tastes and no one is trying to sell you anything. (Check out antilope above.) WOW!!!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I like my chili with beans served with some sweet cornbread. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                      And I like mine served with stone ground corn meal cornbread. I T of sugar in the batch is all I want. Eat it hot.

                                                                                                                                                                      I don't make it very much any more. When I do its a real treat.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                        I eat my chili with Corn Meal right out of the Box

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gbrainard5575

                                                                                                                                                                          You dump it into the chili? You mean you thicken it with corn meal or masa?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                            I wasa just kidding!! However Now you've mentioned it....
                                                                                                                                                                            hmmmmm........................ We always had cornbread with Chili. It started in the Logging Camps and was originated in the Appalachians, carried to Kentucky and on to the U.P of Michigan. But Corn Bread & Corned Beef & Cabbage is another Story.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm from Az, on the borders of Mexico and New Mexico. We made a pot of beans to have for dinner (pintos) with cornbread (no flour or sugar please), some cheese and a salad. The chili would be cooking at the same time, no tomatoes or beans. Chili is always better the day after it is made so the next night we'd have the chili. If one wanted beans in their chili they were welcome to add them.

                                                                                                                                                                      It does not mean that we don't have chili with beans, it is just a different dish. No night I am going to make "Greens" Black Bean Chili. It is very good and worth having the beans in it.

                                                                                                                                                                      17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                                        Your cornbread specification sounds more like a SE than a SW version.

                                                                                                                                                                        I wonder when and where people started to associate cornbread with chili.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                          My southern mother was appalled when I served cornbread with chili. EVERYONE knows that chili is served with only saltines and cornbread is served only with ham and beans.


                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                            I used to eat saltines with chili when I was in grade school. Later I preferred corn chips. Now I prefer cornbread, which is as I mentioned a special treat for our family. As far as I'm concerned, chili and cornbread are natural together. Whoever came up with it was a genius.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                              When I was a kid we ate chili with corn bread and saltines. Now we eat it with corn chips, cheese, and sometimes sour cream.

                                                                                                                                                                              I will sometimes put chili in a cast iron skillet and pour corn bread batter on top and bake it in the oven. Sort of a tamale pie.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for reminding me about the cornbread topping. I'd forgotten about that one. The problem is I make a huge pot of chili I'd have to divide it up into at least 2 casserole dishes and then figure out how many pkgs of cornbread mix I need.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                                                                                                  I just use regular cornmeal and there's a recipe on the box. I usually wish I had more of the chili and less corn bread. So maybe I should use a 9 x 13 cake pan and a thinner layer of cornbread. Or, just put more chili on the plate in addition to what is in the skillet. My sister used to eat caramel apples by taking a bite of apple and then eating a Kraft caramel.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I would have to experiment with the consistency of the chili if it's going to be baked after it is cooked. I'll figure on 2 pkgs of cornbread mix and make muffins if I have too much batter left.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                                                                                                      I use thick chili when doing this. I actually got the idea from America's Test Kitchen. Here is a link to an adapted recipe that is close to the original.


                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Went into misfit foods. I had forgotten all about Tamales. Had those once at friends house back in the 60's. Will make it a point to visit that recipe and give it a shot. You would think that the Chili with Cornbread would be a spin-off.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                          My chili is also rather thick as I make burritos with it. There's just enough liquid to serve it 'wet'. If, as tardigrade says downthread, all liquid was gone after baking, then I should be ok the way it is. I want the result to be firm, not runny, inside.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                        " My sister used to eat caramel apples by taking a bite of apple and then eating a Kraft caramel."

                                                                                                                                                                                        I believe that would be called a 'Deconstructed Caramel Apple' these days, and command big bucks at places frequented by hipsters!

                                                                                                                                                                                        The last chili I made (last week) had a cornbread topping, made from my go-to cornbread recipe, poured on top of the stew and baked. For reasons I can not begin to understand, it seemed to have sucked all the liquid out of the chili. However, wherever the liquid went, it wasn't into the cornbread. Any ideas?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                                                                                                          I have noticed the same thing. I just attributed it to a thick chili. If the cornbread sucked up the liquid, wouldn't the bottom of the cornbread be tinted red?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, that's what I thought, but the cornbread was only reddish on the surface that touched the chili. It may be that the aqueous portion evaporated first, leaving the chile/tomato/pigment parts behind: I wonder if I can get a National Science Foundation grant to study fractional distillation in chili :)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                                                                                                              This was an issue with my mom's wiener pie. Covering the chili with a layer of cheese slices before adding the batter might help.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                      My mom often made a 'pie' with a cornbread topping - except the base was sliced wieners in a tomato sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Apart from flavoring the sauce, the main trick was getting a right balance between the amount of bottom and top. Also much of the stew liquid is lost during baking (either evaporating or absorbed by the cornbread). Chili would work just as well, though I'd want to keep it chunky.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                        John E:
                                                                                                                                                                                        The chill bake in the cast iron sounds fabulous... I'm going to try that some day.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                                                  Candy, Yours is a twist I've never heard before.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. ... and the war goes on :)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I don't know. Chili for me has become more about what isn't in it (corn? WTH?), which is why chili cook-offs aren't all that exciting for me. At least in the Midwest, where I ended up...again.

                                                                                                                                                                                      But. I make chili two ways. "Good" chili, with brisket or another roast, a few big dry ancho, bit of tomato (Rotel, to be honest), onions, touch of garlic, cumin, salt, and that's about it. Maybe some masa and chili powder if I put extra tomato. These days I usually start it in the pressure cooker then simmer it a while longer. Mmmm!

                                                                                                                                                                                      Then there's Mom chili. Ground meat, any beans, stewed tomatoes and holy trinity veg (if I'm feeling really lazy, this is a couple jars of salsa!), and lots of dry spices. Sometimes with rice if I have it leftover. Also mmm!

                                                                                                                                                                                      With both, I put a big dish of various toppings on the table. Shredded cheese, sour cream, snipped green onion, hot sauce, maybe sliced black olives, saltines OR cornbread. Baby gets a little milk or plain yogurt stirred in her chili to make it blander--she loves it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Speaking of school lunches, I went to elementary in both Texas and Indiana in the 80s, and I have to say my two chilis somewhat resemble theirs. Never thought about it before! But in Indiana, for some reason, they always gave us peanut butter sandwiches with our chili. So, I often eat a thick peanut butter sandwich with the chili leftovers! Don't knock it till you've tried it...

                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: scoyart

                                                                                                                                                                                        One of the chili history sites claims that prisoners used to rate Texas county jails by the quality of their chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Ok, let me expound on my short shrift answer. There are three (COMPLETELY) different items that use the name chili (photo examples below);

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Chili Beans are beans that are seasoned with chili powder.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Chili Sauce is used on hot dogs and is similar to but seasoned differently from...

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. REAL Chili, which is meat based with NO BEANS.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                                          After all the discussions, this is my take on chili:

                                                                                                                                                                                          Chili is the basic sauce: with beans, it is chili beans or chili con frijoles; with meat, it is chili meat or chili con carne. Just like curry -- it's the sauce base of several dishes and it is named differently. Hope we all agree to this final conclusion and viva la chili!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roro808

                                                                                                                                                                                            Smith makes it as clear as it is ever going to get but no one has read him. Do so and All Will Be Revealed..including who has a sense of goddamn humor.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                                            I've never purchased canned chili beans or canned hotdog chili. I have bought Hormel canned chili-no beans, but that was only to heat up with Velveeta for dip (way better than Rotel).

                                                                                                                                                                                            I make both chili and hotdog chili. The hotdog chili includes a 46 ounce can of tomato juice. The texture is similar to my chili which uses dried chiles and chili powder.

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. It's regional. Texas chili has no beans. Most other places use them. This was debated on the Senate floor between LBJ and Barry Goldwater. If you ever need to read chapter and verse on the subject, literally, you can do no better than LBJ's exposition of the concept.

                                                                                                                                                                                            One reason for that might be that it is the same thing as basic Mexican ground beef used in tacos, etc., except that it has tomatoes. I've also noticed most other places use a lot less chili powder. My mother's (from Indiana) was the worst. Used kidney beans and no chili powser to speak of. More spaghetti sauce than chili...

                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: PandoraHagadakis

                                                                                                                                                                                              I missed this whole thread before, as I was out of the country in January.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Funny, after living in TX my whole life for 47 years, only in the past five have I heard of the "texas chili absolutely does not have beans and it is an abomination." Haughty purist "texans" harp on this as it were a badge of honor, and then everyone else in the country responds with "I'm not going to let a texan tell me how to make chili." Yawn.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I think the one thing that irritates me most are these cookoff people establishing purist rules for things like beans, yet the contestants and winners use all sorts prepared chili powders, MSG, swanson's broth with all the weird ingredients, bouillon cubes, and everything else that Antelope pointed out about 1/4 the way upthread (I was glad when I saw Antelope's post as I was already about to write the same thing after looking into winning recipes). Heck, I don't even care if people use MSG, but I'm against contestants using prepared chili powders in their "recipes." Most contain a tomato product, but tomato has been proclaimed heresy by some. Anyhow, my only point is that I do not understand.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Of course, I make my own chili, and use my preferred cuts of meat, raw spices and chiles, and use marrow bones to make the stock. And I use beans because they taste good in the chili, and with other ingredients, to me, provide more flavor and texture than a bowl of meat. But that's just me.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Someone posted a picture of Wolf Brand Chili - NO BEANS as if that were some sort of proof. Well, Wolf has chili with beans as well, and their website has all sorts of recipes showing consumers how to bastardize Texas chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Finally, the Texas Chili Parlor, just a few blocks from the state capitol in TX, offers, in addition to no bean chili, a sausage and black bean chili, a white chili with white beans, a frito pie, a five bean vegetarian chili, and a baked potato smothered with chili. Masa harina is present in their chili, along with tomato sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry to rehash this thread - I agree with the posters that are of the mindset that chili preparations are flexible. A hundred ways to make it and they're all right.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                People from around the country might be shocked to know how few places serve chili in Texas, at least Houston where I live. Once the weather cools off serious chili eaters make a big batch of their own. A little advice rudeboy, try and leave the country, especially Texas in July and August, that's what my orthopaedic surgeon does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                                                  James, I sure wish I could "summer" in Sydney for those two months!

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm with you Rudeboy. There's not many chilis that I would turn down. Though I've read that Texas red contains no beans, tomatoes or (I think onions)with chunks of meat. Sure I'm all for it. I ordered chili or chile in New Mexico and was served a shredded beef cooked in a red chile sauce. And it was divine. I have been craving New Mexican food as of late.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Here is a link to a Gebhardt Chili Powder booklet of recipes and advertising their products from 1911.

                                                                                                                                                                                                They are selling a can of "Gebhardt's Eagle Chili Con Carne Con Frijoles". Gebhardt's Chili con Carne with beans. It' on page 24 of the booklet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                CHILI CON CARNE
                                                                                                                                                                                                CON FRIJOLES"

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


                                                                                                                                                                                                Gebhardt Chili Powder Co., [ca. 1911