Growing up in Britain, ‘Chili con carne’ is a dish that bares very little resemblance to the Central American dish of the same name. From the Spanish, ‘chili con carne’, literally means ‘chili pepper with meat’ and traditionally are made from chili peppers, garlic, onions, cumin and chopped beef. Since coming to Texas another thing that is different is that chili here is made ‘sans beans’, with chopped beef instead of ground and there is far more depth of flavour to the dish.
Chili con carne was first recorded by one of Hernan Cortez’s Captains in 1519. He mentioned in his book that the Cholulans and the Aztecs had prepared cauldrons of tomatoes, salt and chilies in anticipation of their victory over the Spanish. The only ingredient missing was the meat, which would have been the defeated Conquistadors.
My Texas Style Chili, with a twist
- 1.5lb of cubed stewing steak
- 12oz bottle of beer. I prefer Shiner Bock
- 1 tin of crushed tomatoes
- 1 fresh poblano pepper. Chopped and seeded
- 1 ancho chili pepper (i.e. dried poblano pepper). Leave whole but remove the seeds.
- 1 large yellow onion
- 3 crushed cloves of garlic
- 1 tbls cumin powder
- 1 tbls ground coriander powder
- 2 tsp Syrian hot chili powder
- 0.5 pints of chicken stock
- 1 tsp of salt
- freshly ground black pepper
First brown the beef in a little oil and then sweat the onions and garlic until soft. Add the chili peppers, spices, salt and pepper, then cook for a minute or so. Next add the tomatoes, beer and stock, and leave to simmer for a couple of hours until the meat has broken down into shreds. Serve with rice, bread or just with a little shredded cheese on top.