Tis the season of chili, when the frigid air brings one to yearn for comfort and warmth. What better way to satisfy that desire than with a nurturing, spicy bowl of “chili con carne?” Through the years, I ‘ve sampled my fair share of chili dishes, including the canned (bleh!) version, uh, where’s the love in that?! I try to steer clear of anything canned whenever possible.
Some chili folklore:
- Chili had its humble beginnings as a peasant dish, dating back to the 17th century.
- Spanish priests referred to it as “the devil’s soup.”
- They believed that the chiles had aphrodisiac effects thought to be the devil’s work.
- Fiery hot chiles were too closely related to hell’s fiery depths, therefore sinful.
- Chili has Native American, Incan, Aztec, Mayan and Spanish influences.
- First recipe ever written (supposedly) was by a beautiful Spanish nun known as ” La Dama de Azul.”
For more detailed chili history, check this site: http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Chili/ChiliHistory.htm
Anyway, the amount of chili recipes in existence are staggering. Ranging from Texas Red chili to vegetarian, vegan, turkey, wild game, pork, chicken, with beans, without beans, and even to the oddball seafood variety (which doesn’t seem like chili at all). Each concoction proclaims to be the best. Texas named chili as the state’s official “dish.” They are no joke when it comes to their chili.
Well, I am pretty darn serious about my chili too and I need it made from scratch with lots of love. Cooked low and slow for three hours. It tastes so much better that way. Special attention must be paid to every ingredient. Each spice must have enough time to marry the other for a bright harmony of flavor. It should soothe yet awaken each sense with every spoonful. I am no expert, but based on my chili experiences and after whipping up a few batches of my own, I can confidently say that I’ve come up with something very magical. I will call it “Spicy Latina Chili.”
Spicy Latina Chili
- 1lb ground turkey
- 1lb ground sirloin
- 1 cup of chick peas
- 1 cup of water
- 4 oz of thick smoked bacon (cut into 1″ thickness)
- 1/2 cup of semi- sweet chocolate
- 1 tbsp of sofrito
- 1 package of Sazon with achiote
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 medium shallot (chopped)
- 1/2 large red onion (chopped)
- 6 medium white mushrooms (coarsely chopped)
- 1 fresh jalepeno sliced (remove seeds for less heat)
- 3 whole dried chiles (Ancho)
- 1 package of ripe grape tomatoes or a large can of crushed tomatoes if you must. ; /
- 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup of dry red wine
- 1 tsp of all spice
- 2 tbsp of chili powder
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp of cumin
- 1 tbsp of pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp of brown sugar
- 1 bay leaf
In a large stock pot over medium heat, add the protein (ground meat, bacon, and chick peas) top with the dried spices and sofrito. Then add a cup of water, red wine, wine vinegar and chocolate, followed by the tomatoes and fresh chopped veggies. Mix well, incorporating all the ingredients. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat for about 3 hours, while stirring often. Adjust the recipe if necessary to suit your taste buds. (chili is personal!)
Serves about 8 people
Serve with some crusty bread and a mixed green salad. Pair it up with a deep red glass of cabernet or an iced cold lager!
P.S, Your home will smell like heaven.