If you like hearty, richly flavored dishes, you will find chili con carne to be the perfect winter warmer. Perhaps you have only tried canned chili, in which case you will love homemade chili because it is so much better. Serve chili with rice or with French fries. You can also serve it with flour tortillas or cornbread.

Chili con carne means "chili with meat" and a traditional recipe for chili con carne is made with chili peppers and beef only. The recipe has been altered over time to include cumin, green bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and sometimes kidney beans.

How Did Chili Con Carne Originate?

Chili con carne might be considered one of the most famous Mexican foods but actually it is not Mexican. Nobody is sure where this dish came from but a nun from Spain called Sister Mary of Agreda did write down the recipe in 1618.

Other people believe the recipe for chili con carne was introduced to the Americas in 1731 by the Spanish settlers. Perhaps Texas cowboys invented this dish in 1850 - that is another popular belief. Nobody knows for sure how this dish originated, or where, but it is definitely not Mexican in origin.

How to Make the Best Chili Recipes

Chili peppers, water and cubes of beef are the basic ingredients to make chili con carne, but you can add tomato paste or tomato sauce if you like the taste, since this thickens the dish as well as giving it a richer flavor. Cumin can be used to add a smoky taste. You might want to add some hot sauce too, if the chilies do not make it hot enough for your palate.

One of the best tips for a tasty chili is to make it a day or two before you want to eat it. Let it cool and the refrigerate it. Gently heat it back up when you are ready to eat it and you will find that the flavors have developed and intensified, and the flavor has become richer.

If you eat the chili on the day you make it, you can freeze leftovers in individual portion-sized sandwich bags. Reheat the chili by putting the frozen, well-sealed sandwich bag in a pot of boiling water for fifteen or twenty minutes, on the stove.

Add a few teaspoons of finely chopped jalapeno to the onion and beef when you saute them for extra heat. For even more spiciness, you can add some dried cloves and cayenne to the chili con carne seasoning.

Beans or No Beans

There is a law in Texas prohibiting the use of beans in chili con carne recipes, although some people like to add beans. The reason for the Texan law is that a lot of people view beans as an unnecessary filler, which allows the chef to skimp on the meat.

Other people enjoy the texture of the beans and do not think the bean flavor detracts from the sauce, so it is up to you whether or not to include beans or not. Maybe you could make a traditional Mexican chili con carne recipe without beans and then make one with beans, to see which you prefer.

Chili con carne might not be Mexican in origin but this recipe certainly makes use of the best Mexican seasonings and flavors, from the juicy beef to the flavorful onions and chilies. Mexican recipes are full of wonderful flavors and if you enjoy using fresh ingredients to make mouthwatering dishes, you will love Mexican food.

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