Wednesday, November 19, 2014

American Chili

A friend of mine from China recently asked me about what I considered the quintessential American food. She said, of course, I couldn't say a hamburger (technically it's German). We continued the conversation talking about the cliche', "...as American as apple pie.", with me realizing that we don't actually eat a lot of apple pie (at least I don't), except for special occasions. That's when I suggested chili might be the answer she was looking for. Obviously it's a regional food, more popular in some geographic areas or others, but mostly wide-spread. Though I forewarned,  some chili recipes (or like canned chili) are notoriously bad, American chili (or chili con carne as we call it here in the U.K.) is a unique dish I rarely see duplicated abroad (and if it is, it's bad). 

I do have some evidence to back it all up. For instance, New York City consumes more chili than the entire state of Texas. Yet, the dish was a Texas invention, modified from timeless dishes (mole) descended from the Aztecs and Mayans. 

No, it's a cold day here in Cardiff, and walking through City Centre made me long for a hot bowl of chili, topped with shredded cheese and some crusty baguette pieces.  This is not a condiment chili, like Tommy's, but a Chuckwagon chili (like that served on prairies by settlers traveling by wagon) to be served in a bowl with a spoon. If you like Chili's Chili, or Carroll Shelby's chili, then you're bound to love this (If you're not familiar with either of those, you're still going to love it). I've refined it down to perfection, just for you.

Just one more note, chili should never, under any reason, have beans in it (a bit of a public service announcement). If you do, you'll upset the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli who will visit you in your sleep and suffocate you with your own pillow.


Recipe Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds of ground beef. 
  • 2 cups of crushed tomatoes 
  • 2 cups of water 
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar 
  • ½ fresh diced onion 
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder 
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1 teaspoon paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar. 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes 
  • ¼ teaspoon of onion powder. 
  • ¼ teaspoon of cayenne powder 
  • 2 Tablespoon of all-purpose flour. 
  • 1 Tablespoon of corn starch 
  • pinch black pepper 
Recipe Method:

1. Brown ground beef
2. Add all ingredients.
3. Simmer on medium-low heat for approximately 15-30 minutes.
4. Top with chopped onions, cheese, sour cream, and/or jalapenos.