Well, since my last post, I did break down and make chili for Super Bowl Sunday. Interestingly enough, there are several places that claim to be the chili capital of America. Among them, is Springfield Illinois, where I am from. Being from the chili capital and having a brother who was the fire chief there, I have chili sauce in my veins. My favorite chili parlor is a place called The Chili Den. You can specify how hot you want your chili to be. If you order “Firebrand” and successfully eat the full bowl, they put your name on the wall. The place has been there since 1945 and there is still room on the wall for names. My name is on it.
Some chili trivia:
- Chile, with an "e" is the pepper and chili with an "i" is the concoction.
- It is said that Will Rogers judged a town by the quality of its chili. He sampled chili in hundreds of towns, especially in Texas and Oklahoma and kept a box score. He concluded that the finest chili (in his judgment) was from a small cafe in Coleman, Texas.
- Jesse James (1847-1882), outlaw and desperado of the old American West, refused to rob a bank in McKinney, Texas because that is where his favorite chili parlor was located.
When I make chili, I think of it as a process rather than a recipe. I almost never make it the same way twice. I always use beef, but it may be any of several cuts. Sometimes it is steak and sometimes chuck. I may cube the beef or grind it coarsely. I have lately stopped using chili powder. I prefer to get a variety of dried chiles and blend them myself. That way I have more control of the flavor. I have included a recipe for chili and a picture of what this batch looks like.
Chili traditions and variations are vast. What is your favorite kind and why?