It’s time to pull out that old chili recipe. You can just feel it in the air right now.
Autumn is just around the corner. Days are getting shorter and of course it’s much cooler now.
Summer is over. It’s time for chili!
Whenever this chef thinks about chili, I think about old-fashioned chili con carne simmering on the stove with chili beans and spices. I think about coming home from school as a child and asking my mom what’s for dinner? The minute I hit the kitchen, I know it’s chili time.
My mother always made old-fashioned basic style chili with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, a little bit of garlic and of course chili powder blended right here in Kansas at Williams Chili Seasoning.
Everyone has a secret weapon in their chili recipe and my mom’s secret was cumin. Now that’s
not really a secret but my mom always told me it was her added little kick to the chili pot.
I started to do a little research on the history of chili to find out just when it was actually first discovered.
I can tell you right now, the first recipe did not contain ground chicken or turkey. No way my friends, the first chili recipe by the frontier men contained dried beef, suet and of course chilies.
Before the frontier men left on the trail, women would make up packages of this mix and all the men had to do was put it in a pot and add some liquid while on the trail.
It wasn’t until many years later when cooks started adding pieces of pork or goat meat to the chili pot.
Of course, San Antonio Texas plays a big part in the history of chili in America. The San Antonio Chili Stand, in operation at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, helped people from other parts of the United States taste and appreciate chili.
San Antonio was a significant tourist destination and helped Texas-style chili con carne spread throughout the South and West. Chili con carne is the official dish of Texas as designated by the House Concurrent Resolution Number 18 of the 65th Texas Legislature during its regular session in 1977.
It has been said that some of the first chili was made by the Chili Queens in San Antonio. The Mexican women would load homemade chili onto a covered wagon and bring it to a town square to sell.
And since were talking about chili in America, we need to talk about the old-fashioned chili parlors at the turn-of-the-century. Small chili joints started opening in Texas and when word spread, parlors began opening in the Midwest with a different flavor and recipe.
In Kansas City, Dixon’s Chili Parlor has been around since early 1900’s. As a matter of fact, President Harry Truman was said to have been a frequent customer of Dixon’s and claimed it one of his favorite restaurants in America.
I still like to go visit that parlor in Independence and sit at one of the bar stools and watch the family members prepare my chili.
One thing we must not forget is to mention is the use of tomatoes and beans in the chili. Many Texans will tell you that putting tomatoes in the chili is a crime and you should be not only punished but also put in jail for this.
Wow, those Texans don’t play around!
As for adding beans, there is no crime for that. Actually, beans were added because in a lot of homes there was no meats available in the beans provided a great amount of protein to the chili pot.
Today there are not that many chiller parlors across America but there are many restaurants that still serve chili and of course it is a staple in many homes. I mean seriously can you imagine how many people prepare chili for their chili dogs, Frito Pies, nachos, baked potatoes, as a topping for spaghetti like in Cincinnati, chili burgers and more. If you think about it, the list is endless.
Of course we cannot forget to mention all the chili festivals and chili cooking contest across America in the next few months.
As for this chef, I have my own recipe which has been passed down in my family.
I hope I don’t get punished for adding tomatoes to the chili pot. When it comes to seasoning, I love to support our local friends at Williams Chili Seasoning so that is what I like to use. My secret weapon is a little different than my mothers, it is cocoa powder.
I think you will enjoy my chili along with some saltine crackers and perhaps some homemade cornbread on the side.
I’m waiting for some cool nights now and I’m thinking about tailgating with my own chili pot at a Kansas City Chief’s game this season. I am grateful to the frontier men and the people of Texas for inspiration and what they did to put
chili on the map.
Let the “Chili Season” begin my friends!Jasper Mirabile’s Chili 3 pounds ground chuck 1 yellow onion, chopped 1 jalapeno, minced 28 ounce can red gold tomatoes 10 ounces (2 cans) Rotel whole tomatoes green chilies 4 fresh garlic cloves, thinly sliced 2 packages Williams Chili Seasoning 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder Cumin, to taste 16-ounce can red kidney beans or chili hot beans
Brown meat with onion and jalapeno. Drain any grease. Add tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes and garlic. Simmer 10 minutes. Add William’s Chili seasoning, cocoa powder and cumin. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes. Add beans.
Let chili simmer about 10 to 15 minutes more before serving.
This is chili at its best and easy to make! Serve with any number of condiments such as Tabasco, shredded Cheddar, sour cream, minced onions saltines. I love to serve over macaroni or spaghetti. I also think a sweet cornbread on the side is a must.
Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jasper’s commands the helm of his family’s 59-year-old restaurant, consistently rated one of Kansas City’s best Italian restaurants. In addition to running the restaurant with his brother, Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He hosts many famous chefs on his weekly radio show Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM and sells a line of dressings and sauces.