Chilis Spicing Up Your Life

Did you know? Jesse James, outlaw and desperado of wild West lore, once refused to rob a bank stuffed with gold and money. Was his love for chili the reason?

Chili – this name comes from the Spanish chile con carne (literally chili with meat). As the name says, it has two main ingredients: meat and chilli peppers.

Ingredients: Chili and "Carne"

Chili Peppers are one of the world’s oldest spices. Originating in America people all over the world are now using and growing them for use as spice, vegetable and even medicine. It finds its use in dried form as powder, dried peppers or fresh. Making a great chili con carne requires fresh chilli peppers.

The meat used for chilli recipes should be beef, venison or other meats.

Chili with Beans vs. beanless Chili

Whether beans belong in a great chilli was always subject to discussion for most chilli aficionados. It is likely that some chili cooks once started adding beans to supplement or even replace expensive meat. Understandable as the beans contribute taste, valuable proteins and nutrients to the chili.

Today it is a question of taste and tradition whether to add beans or not. Some chilli experts believe in a third way: they think beans must not be cooked in the chilli. Instead they should be heated separately and be used as an addition to the plate.

Vegetarian Chilis

Especially for vegetarians beans are a good choice to substitute the "carne" in the recipe. Other good substitutes are rice or tofu. Well, some chili experts consider vegetarian chili not to be genuine chili - just another spicy vegetable stew. But isn’t it the taste what counts?

Texas style Chilis

Texas chilis contain beef and dried red chili peppers. That makes them red in color (often supported by secret ingredients like chocolate). Texas style chilli became famous in the 20s and 30s. In this years hundreds of small, chili parlors throughout Texas sold tasty chili for a low price. Unfortunately they disappeared after the war due to new laws.

Even President Lyndon Johnson had a favorite chili of Texan origin. It was called "Pedernales River chili" - named after his ranch located there.

Cincinnati style Chilis

Cincinnati style chili has become popular, too. But it is different from its texan cousin:

It is commonly not served as a stew. Instead it is eaten as topping for hot dogs or spaghetti. Necessarily has a much thinner consistency and it does not contain any beans. Instead cheddar cheese gives it a special characteristic flavor (and it makes it less spicy than Texas style Chili).

Chilis for your Health

These are the most popular variations of Chilis. But chili is not only a spicy and tasty meal. It is good for your health, too. The Chili Peppers used in the recipes are rich in vitamin C and it seems they have many favorable effects on health. Its spice supports digestion, gives a natural appetite and strengthens the health of the inner organs.

It is not know whether these healthy reasons made Billy the Kid loved chili. But he liked the chili served in his favorite chili parlor in McKinney, Texas. And he didn’t want to loose the source of his favorite chilli. So he refused to rob the bank located on the other side of the street. To him a great chili was more worth than a bank filled with tons of money.

You don’t need to rob a bank, either. But perhaps you want to spice up your life, too? Why wait any longer, your next meal can be a great "bowl of red", if you want.

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About The Author, R. Schmidt
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