Fwd: Re: [gardeners] Authenticity

Terry King (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Fri, 24 Jul 1998 17:28:28 -0600

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> Pat, would you mind sharing an 'authentic' Texas chili recipe for those of 
> who do actually add *beans* to chili?

Chili is made from very few ingredients:
	Meat (beef or venison) cut (NEVER ground) into small dice
	Chili peppers

Dried peppers (preferably a mix -- some smoky, some hot, some sweet) 
are soaked in warm water for several hours. The peppers are split, 
some or all of the seeds removed, and the flesh scraped out. The 
pulps are added back to the water and all is simmered until about the 
consistency of gravy.

Meat is browned in a little of its own fat together with chopped 
onions and garlic. (Some purists do not add onions; I do.) The 
chili-water-pulp is added, and all is very slowly simmered until the 
meat is tender. Ours is a "low-fat household" so we are very careful 
about the amount of fat that is used for browning, and when the meat 
is tender the entire pot is chilled overnight until the fat rises and 
can be discarded.  The chili is then reheated  and is thickened by 
a spoonful or two of dry masa mixed with cold water. NOW the chili 
meets salt for the first time.

Meanwhile, beans (pintos) have been soaked and cooked in a separate 
pot. They are seasoned only with a whole onion or two, more garlic, 
one or more chili pods and black pepper. NO salt until just before 

In separate containers are chopped raw onions. Some people 
also pressent bowls of jalapeno peppers and tostados (fritos for the 
lazy) to strew on top.

To serve, each person ladles chili into a bowl, adds the beans 
separately to his serving, and puts onion,, peppers and 
tostados on top according to his own preference. Purists eat 
chili straight -- nothing added -- but cornbread should be within 

The Texas legislature, some years back, was considering the cost of a 
jail riot that resulted from the serving of a bowl-of-red prepared by 
an out of state cook. The prisoners were so offended by "Yankee 
Chili" that they rioted and caused considerable damage. After voting 
funds for restoration, the Texas legislature passed a law forbidding 
any but Jail House Chili be served in houses of detention in Texas! 
The recipe is pretty much as described above and as far as I know, 
the law still stands.

As I said, Texans take their chili serious!  Pat

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