Each week our editorial team tackles a new ingredient or dish with one goal in mind: creating easy and delicious meals. Check here on Monday for the weekly ingredient and look for our recipes on Thursday. Feel free to join us in our endeavor; we look forward to seeing what fantastic meals you come up with. Ours are below:
This week: Chili
When making chili, there comes a point when you have to ask yourself, aside from the beans, “What really makes chili different than a thick meat sauce?” In that same respect, what differentiates a Texas-style chili from a Cincinnati chili? What makes chili chili? From some research, it seems that to qualify as a chili, there needs to be meat, spices and/or chiles involved. But what about the beans?
It turns out that 'Chili con Carne,' Spanish for ground meat with chiles or chili powder*, doesn't actually call for beans, and neither does the 'original' chili recipe. They also don't include tomatoes or some of the other ingredients that we've come to associate with chili. It appears that the chili recipes of today have evolved and are constantly being recreated and reinvented (as you'll see below).
Regardless of the origins and definitions of chili, or whether you decide to use beans, tomatoes, beer, or even throw it over pasta, it is a comfort food that aims to please, especially on a cold winter night or during a big game day like Super Bowl Sunday — it's Iron Chef Michael Symon's favorite thing to eat too.
As for chili's similarity to a meat sauce, well, I guess it depends on how you like your chili.
Share your favorite recipe with us and check out our take on this bean-filled delight below.
Colman Andrews: Catalan Chili
Molly Aronica: Short Ribs and Cocoa Chili
Allison Beck: Sweets 'n Beans Chili
Arthur Bovino: Original San Antonio Chili...Yankee Style
Maryse Chevriere: Cincinnati-Style Chili
Jess Kapadia: Kheema ("Indian Chili")
Valaer Murray: Chili Verde
*Note: Chili powder, which can be store bought or homemade, is generally composed of ground dried chiles, cumin, garlic, oregano, coriander and cloves, although there are always slight variations in the spice mixtures.