If one is going to talk about Chile peppers, it’s probably within the realm of good taste to talk about Chili.
Now I spent a great deal of my life believing that Chili was a stew of ground beef, tomato broth and beans. This is most assuredly due to the fact that I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, home of things most certainly not chili or chile related. Rolling Rock Beer? Yes! Primanti Brothers? Absolutely. Chile peppers? Eh, not so much.
But it could have been worse I suppose, where I could have grown up thinking that chili consists of beans, tomato sauce, and cinnamon over pasta.
That’d be Cincinnati chili by the way.
Chili con carne is almost assuredly a Texas creation, which I’ll give them full credit for. It’s not a Mexican dish as far as I’ve been able to discover. The basis of red chili comes down to meat, salt and dried chiles combined into a stew. It was a way to stretch meat for several days.
The question for me is whether pinto beans are part of the mix. Beans are a staple of Tex-Mex cuisine, but there are folks who state unequivocally that beans are not part of the chili experience. From the International Chili Society’s Judging Criteria:
1. Traditional Red Chili is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat or combination of meats,cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA which are strictly forbidden.
2. Chili Verde is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with green chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA which are strictly forbidden.
I don’t know which is more amazing; the fact that the International Chili Society has such an aversion to beans, or the fact that there’s an International Chili Society.
I still am the belief that one can put beans into their chili, but I have come to understand that chile peppers should also be part of the mix. I’m a quick learner that way.