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If it's Chili, it's personal
Old 02-16-2014, 06:44 AM   #1
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If it's Chili, it's personal

Chili is one of my favorite dishes, and though I now eat it infrequently, reading about it, especially the range of ingredients and recipes around the country, is still interesting. Before coming to this forum I had no idea there were so many regional varieties or cultural views. This article on chili is in this morning's NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/di...ef=dining&_r=0

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Chili tastes are highly personal, often inflexible and loaded with preconceptions the political party of culinary offerings.

For some people raised in Texas, the notion of beans is akin to cat food, dismissed with derision as filler. Some chili cooks believe flavor rises and falls on cumin levels; others say the story begins and ends with dried chiles. Some like a rich beefy stock, and there are those who extol the entanglement of bacon.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:19 AM   #2
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the political party of culinary offerings.
Porky on standby.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:21 AM   #3
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Yes, chili is very personal in these parts - no beans about it.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:40 AM   #4
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It is an interesting subject, sorta like regional BBQ styles. With chili we don't care if there are beans or not, and we make white chili with chicken that we think is wonderful - but we draw the line at vegetarian chili. Nothing at all against vegetarian, but it ain't chili - no way, no how. YMMV
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:31 AM   #5
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I am not a huge meat eater. I need to make sure never to order chili, where it is basically a big old bowl of meat. I don't think I could get it down. I need tomatoes and beans along with the ground meat! I also like a piece of bread with butter to chunk up in it. We used to put it over mashed potatoes in the past. I have not had it that way in a long time and think I will make it that way soon!
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:35 AM   #6
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My guess is among Texas chili cooks or judges there are lots of professionals but not many are bean counters.
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:44 AM   #7
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We found this chili recipe in Texas Monthly magazine...it's got a lot going on but it's well worth the effort..best we've ever made.. like most Texas chili, not a bean in sight...
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:57 AM   #8
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Agreed. I like mine thick with few if any beans. DW likes hers soupy with lots of beans. I'm right...but both versions taste good. We take turns making Chili because of our different approaches.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:02 AM   #9
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This is a pretty constant household war. I love the beans, my boyfriend despises them. We stuck to tacquerias last time we were in Texas. Maybe next time we'll swing by a beanless chili joint.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:22 AM   #10
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I find it interesting that some folks will proclaim that " REAL chili doesn't have ...."

Chili is exactly what I say it is. Same for you !
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:48 AM   #11
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Never had Cincinnati chille, doesn't sound right, but I'd try it. I've been cutting down the beans too. DW and I have different taste preferences. I think the next batch will have a bunch of pork neck bones added to it. The best chille meat, IMHO, is venison.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:51 AM   #12
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I w*rked with a competition chili cook, who won at Terlingua back in the 80s. And, risking the wrath of the chili gods, competition chili was a bit too spicy for me. Definitely "flavorful", though.

I came from the Midwest, where we made a version of Cincinnati chili, but without the sweetness. Chili aficionaos would undoubtedly barf at the thought...

I use beans, tomatoes, onions, and mild as well as hotter peppers, along with the dried chile powder and cumin, and ground beef. Let's call it "chili stew".

It wins the only competition about which I care I care about!
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:59 AM   #13
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I've had Cincinnati style chili at Skyline and better places. If they have to doctor up their chili with other stuff (3-way, 5-way, 7-way), the chili must not be that good. What are they hiding?
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:09 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by HFWR View Post
I w*rked with a competition chili cook, who won at Terlingua back in the 80s. And, risking the wrath of the chili gods, competition chili was a bit to spicy for me. Definitely "flavorful", though.

I came from the Midwest, where we made a version of Cincinnati chili, but without the sweetness. Chili aficionaos would undoubtedly barf at the thought...

I use beans, tomatoes, onions, and mild as well as hotter peppers, along with the dried chile powder and cumin, and ground beef. Let's call it "chili stew".

It wins the only competition about which I care I care about!
Mine is similar, but with grape jelly
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:25 AM   #15
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When I was in college, I lived with three guys and on the weekends we'd have hottest food contests. Make something, watch each other sweat, and drink beer.

I received a recipe from Austin called "Texas Red And A Long Neck" (that's Lone Star Beer) plus a package of "H*ll In A Bottle".

I'll post the recipe when I find it.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:53 AM   #16
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I don't even LIKE chili. But, of course ate it all the time when at A&M.
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Old 02-16-2014, 11:00 AM   #17
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I look at regional 'Chili wars' the same I look at deep-dish versus thin crust, they're just different. Each person can have their own preference. Texas Chili w/o beans is good, people from there probably prefer that style. (*)

I can enjoy chili of all types, I enjoy the variety. DW makes a great chicken & white bean chili, but that is a very, very different dish from a beef-meaty chili w/o beans. They are both great in their own way. I'm even open to a good veggie chili, if there is such a thing, I may have had one I can't recall.

Same with the different BBQ styles - enjoy them for what they are. They are all good, sugar, tomato, vinegar, whatever - I'm almost glad I was not raised with a regional preference, that would be too limiting.


(*) just proving I know how to use they're, their, there - from that other thread

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Old 02-16-2014, 11:04 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Tailgate View Post
We found this chili recipe in Texas Monthly magazine...it's got a lot going on but it's well worth the effort..best we've ever made.. like most Texas chili, not a bean in sight...
Here's the link to the article and the recipe:

Chili | Texas Monthly
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Old 02-16-2014, 11:06 AM   #19
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The best chili I have ever eaten was made with venison (by a co-worker whose husband is a hunter).

I concoct (sans recipe) more of a chili stew: extra lean ground beef, beans (must have beans), Penzey's medium chili powder, onion, green pepper, can of Rotel tomatoes, a squirt of ketchup for a little sweet taste, half a bottle of beer, and lots of diced garlic. The other half bottle of beer can be consumed as an aperitif while chili simmers.

I have tried Cincinnati chili and I like it. I have known Texans from my husband's Army days who were absolutely aghast (dare I say even revolted) at the thought of beans or pasta mentioned in the same breath as chili.
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Old 02-16-2014, 11:27 AM   #20
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Chili is by far one of my favorite dishes to make. I put everything in there with beef from sweet corn, peppers, onions, beans, chickpeas, tomatoes and lots of spices... and maybe some chocolate.
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