Welcome to Thom's Chili Bowl
I didn't grow up in Texas or
the Southwest but I developed a fondness for very spicy and hot foods
early in life. I experimented with many recipes over the years and
Chili has become my favorite spicy dish. I have also discovered
Chili is a subject that almost everyone has an opinion of how it should
be made. I have not met nor am I aware of anyone who makes
chili and isn't convinced his or her chili is best. In my opinion
that is what makes chili so special.
Although I did not grow up in Texas, Donna and I did live in San Antonio
for a while and rekindled my desire for spicy foods and my desire for
spicy foods made me the spicy food lover I am today. The foods
served up in San Antonio are without match anywhere in the world.
I find Chili Cook-offs to be exhilarating and I can't seem to pass up
one. All the wonderful smells, taste, texture, and spices
fascinate me, as they are prepared and cooking as people make their
particular version of Chili. I have tasted chili where the chef
substituted the beef with a myriad of meats to include chicken,
turkey, venison, elk, pork, sheep, goat, buffalo, rabbit, and some
exotic meat such as rattlesnake, etc. I guess what I am saying is
that you can make chili from any edible meat. However, some I have
not been brave enough to try. But there is still time.
Furthermore, there are many Chili Societies that are designed
specifically for the chili lover.
To me, of coarse, a bowl of chili contains two main ingredientsóBeef and
Chili powder. Some folks feel they can make a good chili using
pork or pork & beef mixed. It's true they can and I enjoy it on
occasion but I am partial to using only beef in my chili. For a
long time I made my own chili powder by grinding the chilies into a
powder and adding cumin and oregano. But now, I have found that
most commercial chili powders already include cumin, oregano and garlic
in a mixture that works well for me. However, if you are a
traditionalists then I have included in my Bowl of Red recipe the
ingredients you will need if you use a pure chili powder or "Chile Molido".
What makes chili peppers hot? Capsaicinoids. Like to know more
about what capsaicinoids are and how to tell how hot a chili will be?
Paul Bosland, professor of horticulture at New Mexico State University
is a foremost authority on chili peppers. Check his article at
How to Prepare Chilies.
- To Roast and
Put chilies on a baking sheet. Place under a preheated broiler
about four inches from heat. Turn the chilies until they are
completely blistered and charred. Enclose the chilies in a paper bag
and let them steam until they are cool enough to handle. Under
running water, start at the blossom end and peel the peppers,
discarding stems, ribs and seeds. Now they are ready to use. If a
broiler is not available, use a fork and hold each chili over the
flame of a gas stove top burner.
To Freeze Chilies...
You need not blanch chili peppers before freezing them. Simply seed them
(skin by roasting and peeling if desired), chop them up and freeze in small
portions for later use.
To Dry Chilies...
Cut entire whole plant at its base or harvest individual peppers and string
them from the stem ends on strong thread. Hang up to dry in a cool, dry,
The people I met while living in San Antonio, Texas
were quick to point out that chili was invented in San Antonio, Texas, about
the middle of the Nineteenth Century and it began as a simple peasant stew
using materials inexpensive and at hand. I have found nothing to
refute that and have no reason not to trust them. Meat, Chile Peppers,
Camino, Oregano and Garlic made up the first recipes. I also discovered
while living in San Antonio that all the spices listed above except the
Camino grow wild in the South Texas area.
Here is my Recipe...
Bowl of Red"
If you have ten people
making chili then you have ten ways to make the most authentic "bowl of
red". It doesn't matter if it is Billy Bob's "Hot Pot" or Bart's
"Jump Start" Or Buffalo Bill's "Road Kill", everyone who makes chili
"makes the best". Ask them. Doesn't matter,
my bowl of red is
definitely the best ever.
These are the Ingredients that I like in my chili.
You can adjust to
- 2 pounds lean ground
- 2 large cloves garlic,
- 1 large red onion,
- 1 bell pepper, finely
- 7 tablespoons chili
- 2 teaspoons cumin (add
only if not in chili powder)
- 1 teaspoon dried
oregano (add only if not in chili powder)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoons paprika or
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco
Sauce or to taste
- 16 ounces tomato sauce
- 16 ounces water
- 28 ounces canned
- 2 tablespoons masa or
This is how I prepare it.
- Brown the beef by searing it in a skillet
or Dutch oven, drain well.
- Add the garlic, onion and bell pepper over
medium heat, stirring as you add. Continue to cook for 5
minutes more, stirring frequently. Mix chili powder,
(coriander, cumin, and oregano only if your Chili Powder does not
contain them), salt and paprika together, and stir into pan.
- Add Tabasco sauce, tomatoes, tomato sauce
and water; bring to a boil then simmer, covered, about 30 minutes,
stirring and adding water as needed. If you want it spicier
cook it an additional 15 minutes.
- Mix the Masa with 4 tablespoons of water
to make a paste, and slowly stir into chili to thicken. Cook 2
- I serve the chili topped with chopped red
onions, chopped Jalapenos, and shredded cheese.
Here are some more
Chili Associations and Societies: