Chilli information page 2

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient
\N \N Written by Linda Beaulieu


While most Texans consider the addition of beans to any chili dish a criminal act, red kidney beans are essential in northern versions such as Cincinnati Chili and Boston-Style Chili, known for its enhanced cumin flavor. Some recipes call for chopped chili peppers; others stipulate chili powder. The combination of beans plus beef allows cutting down on the beef while maintaining a nutritious dish.

Still other cooks insist on the addition of tomatoes, while some disagree about the size of the meat pieces and length of cooking time. To settle such differences, chili cooking contests were started, especially in the Southwest. Probably the most prestigious chili contest is the Annual World Championship Chili Cook-off in Terlingua, Texas, the final showdown of preliminary winners and the climax of the chili cook- off season, sponsored by the Chili Appreciation Society International. This cook-off was first held in 1967 as an advertising promotion for the book, A Bowl of Red: The Natural History of Chili with Recipes, by restaurateur Frank X.

Tolbert. The competition is held on the first Saturday of November with participants from all over the world. In 1974, chili became a hotly debated issue in the United States Senate, where Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater challenged Texas Senator John Tower to a cooking contest. "A Texan does not know chili from the leavings in a corral," Goldwater said to Tower. A panel of five experts judged chili made by the two legislators. Goldwater's chili - made with coarsely ground beef, pinto beans, tomato puree, chopped onion, water, chili powder, cumin and salt - was declared the winner. But the debate continues. Chris Schlesinger, chef-owner at the East Coast Grill and the Blue Room in Cambridge, Mass., asserts that "real" chili has no tomatoes or beans in it. He learned to make a soupy version of chili from an old roommate with Texas roots.

Schlesinger's "real" chili features cubed pork butt and lots of beer ~ six bottles in each pot of chili that serves six people. Down in New Orleans, Emeril Lagasse of Emeril's and NOLA restaurant fame makes a mean black-bean chili, brimming with fresh cilantro and minus any meat. Other recipes insist on a topping of cornmeal dumplings or the use of garbanzo beans or hominy. Purists argue that five-alarm chili - without beans or tomatoes - is mighty and meaty. Although many chili recipes use ground beef, dicing the meat produces a more interesting dish. While some chili lovers add beans to the meat, purists serve the beans on the side. These days chili has become a favorite menu item in trendy restaurants. Chili in its many forms can be made fresh, but is also sold in cans, with or without beans, and is often used in combination with other foods. According to the Department of Agriculture, chili con carne must contain at least 40 percent meat; chili con carne with beans, at least 25 percent meat; chili hot dog with meat, 40 percent meat; chili mac (with macaroni and beans), at least 16 percent meat; and chili sauce with meat, at least 6 percent.

Submitted By SHERREE JOHANSSON On 10-14-94

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