Chili Recipes

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Several Views of the History Of Chili, With Original Recipes

The first "chili" recipes appeared in West Texas at the turn of the nineteenth century. They may have had their origin from old Mexican recipes, but since most cowboys couldn't read...or for that matter, cook very good, chili most probably got it's start due to the availability of spices and other ingredients available in the area. A lot of ingredients available to us now were just not available then. Most chili consisted of beef, cumin, pepper, sugar, paprika, garlic, and masa to thicken. Tomatoes were seasonal and usually not available. Chili powder was not manufactured at the time...They used dried chili's (spanish for peppers)...most west texas cowboys were Mexican. Most of the original chili did not have beans due to the time required to soak and cook them...chuck wagons did not appear til later in history and even then, on most ranches, the cowboy was on his own and didn't have time to watch beans all day.

The first renaissance man of chili and one of early scholars of chili lore is Everett Le DeGolyer, known simply as E. DeGolyer.
Degolyer believed that chili had its origins as the pemmican of the Southwest, made of jerky, fat, and native chiles, pounded together to form a highly concentrated and nutritious nonperishable trail ration.
Degolyer found an early mention of pemmican chili in Mexican Gold Rush, a journal of George W.B. Evans written in the mid-1800's. It says beef is prepared for the long journey by pounding it together with lard and pepper.
Evans was introduced to the dish that the Spaniards found the Plains Indians cooking 300 years earlier; Coronado's historian Casteñeda wrote.

They dry their meat in the sun, cutting it into thin slices, and when it is dry, they grind it like flour for storage and make mash to eat. They cook it in a \ pot, which they always manage to have with them. When they put a handful into the pot, the mash soon fills it, since it swells to great size.

It seems obvious that chili would originate where there was an abundant supply of its two prime ingredients, meat and chile. The meat-buffalo, venison and later beef-was available on the plains of southwest Texas. The chile in the form of a tiny, fiery hot chilipiquín, which still grows wild in that area and as far east as Louisiana.
Some of this information is from The Great American Chili Book by Bill Bridges

Pemmican Chili

1 lb best quality jerky, beaten until stringy and fluffy, or separated into fibers and chopped fine, or ground fine. (The first method is the best, but tiresome to accomplish; the third the least preferred. It takes away the character of the meat.)
Up to a head of garlic may be added during beating, chopping, or grinding process, crushed and well mixed into the meat.
1 lb beef suet, rendered
1 to 4 tblsp crushed chiles, or more, to taste

Combine prepared jerky and melted fat and mix until the consistency of hamburger is obtained, and the mix is equal throughout. At this point the only other ingredient needed to achieve true, old-time chiliquín pemmican is the berry like chile, crushed.
Always remembering that the pemmican may be eaten as is, or diluted into a greater volume with liquid, the piquins (which can be found in most supermarkets might be marked chiles tepínes) can be mixed into the jerky-fat mixture in amounts of 1/4 cup or more, to educated taste. Crushed red chile, like Italian peperone rosso, can be substituted for the piquíns, but chilipiquín freaks insist the flavor (and hotness, remember) will be inferior to the real thing.
Recipe From: The Great American Chili Book by Bill Bridges

E. DeGolyer's Chili

1 large onion chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups rendered beef kidney suet
2 1/2 lbs extra lean chuck beef, cubed
1 slice (approximately 1 lb) fresh ham steak, trimmed and cubed
2 c water
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 c red chile pulp or 6 tblsp chili powder, or more
1 tblsp salt, or to taste

Cook onion and garlic in rendered beef suet until onion is limp and yellow. Add beef and ham and cook, stirring often, until it is a uniform gray color. Add water, mix well, simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Add cumin, oregano, chile pulp or chili powder, and salt to meat mixture. Stirring frequently to prevent sticking, simmer for an additional hour. Serve. Serves 10 to 12.
Recipe From: The Great American Chili Book by Bill Bridges

This next recipe is also an original from the 1800's


3 lb cubed chuck
1/4 cup oil
1 quart water
1 tsp of salt or to taste
10 garlic cloves, chopped
3 oz chile powder
1 tsp ground cumin (comino)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cayene pepper...more or less
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tblsp sugar
3 tblsp paprika
3 tblsp flour
6 tblsp masa (fine ground corn meal)

In a large skillet, saute meat in oil until browned. Add water and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours. In a small bowl, mix chili powder, salt, garlic, cumin, oregano, cayene pepper, black pepper, sugar and paprika. Add to skillet. Simmer 30 longer will cause spices to lose flavor. In a small bowl mix flour and masa. Wisk flour masa mixture into chili...stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Bring mixture back to simmer until thickened. Remove from heat. Serve over beans, rice, hot dogs, enchiladas, burritos, or eat plain. Cheese (cheddar, longhorn, queso blanco,etc.) goes well on top.
Note lack of tomatoes and beans...
Give it a try.....
Yield: 6 servings

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