Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Chili! Them's Fighten' Words! Big Bad Collars.
Adding to the Book of the Bizarre that is my life are the massive marital fights we have had over CHILI in this house (I first typoed MARTIAL fights...there aren't much truer Freudian slips than that one!)
Those of you from the east may not understand it, but nothing can insult a westerner's integrity and soul faster than insulting his (MY!) chili. Shouting "your mother" will only make us laugh, but insult a man's chili and you're talking spitting in the streets and guns out of holsters!
Some pithy folks out there might quote the saying "well if you know beans about chili, you know chili ain't got no beans." Don't make me spit in your eye! THAT'S TEXAS CHILI! Like everything else, Texas has it own cuisine. Here in the Sonoran Desert we eat Sonoran Mexican Food (although I must admit I have taken a locally very controversial turn there: my favorite place to eat out is LuLu's Tacos and it is Guadalajaran Mexican food. Lourdes makes the best Tortillas in the state! But I have a feeling that has less to do with the food's region and more do with the cook!) Don't offer me any of that yuppie malarkey that they try to disguise as "New Mexico" or worse "Santa Fe". Black beans do NOT belong in food. There is a farming tradition thousands of years old here. That Pima cotton everyone loves so much: the Pima Indians invented it. Phoenix is named for the resurrection of the ancient Indian water canals. With that said: Pinto beans only please! Refried preferred!
My sister was once almost lynched over chili.
Back home in Spokane in the way back '90s, one of her buddies was a too proud Texan. (When his first child was born: he flew down to Texas, dug up some dirt and returned right back so that the first soil his son's feet would touch would be Texas Soil!)
This has been a household battle for about 15 and 1/2 out of 16 years I have been married...and for about a couple years before that! My husband once stooped so low as to call it eastern chili!!! Like what they make in chicago!!! (I have both cast iron frying pan and rolling pin and yes I know how to use them!) Granted the man has not made a pot of chili in his life!
Lately, the battle is over spicy vs sweet chili. I like sweet chili. I am cooking it. We eat sweet chili. He calls my chili an abomination. I call him an abomination.
Again, since I am a pinch of this, handfull of that cook...I will list ingredients and techniques. I cook in bulk too...there is always a package in the freezer.
Pinto Beans. Soaked, simmered and softened. (I do like a three bean chili: more depth of flavor. I will add red and kidney beans. NEVER black or black eyed peas...they overpower other flavors!)
Cream Corn (the secret to a good sweet chili!)
Pureed tomatoes (a lot, I used the big costco cans for my bulk batches)
(the celery in the picture was just impromptu...it needed to be eaten :-)
For the Chili Historian: below is a copy of the battle between AZ Sen. Goldwater and Texas Sen. Tower.
I have been using this recipe for over twenty years, and I think it was
originally published in the New York Times, . Unlike many recipes that call
for spices that are not native to the southwest or Mexico, this appears to
be the original chili of the Goldwater story.
It all started when Senator Barry Goldwater praised the chili of his native
Arizona and deplored that of Texas. "A Texan" he said "does not know chili
indignantly to defend Texas chili. "Comparing Arizona chili to Texas
chili " he said " is like comparing Phyllis Diller to Sophia Loren." In a
chili cookoff that spring Senator Goldwater's recipe was chosen best by a
panel of five experts. Here it is:
ARIZONA'S FINE CHILI
1 pound course ground beef
1 pound dry pinto beans soaked overnight
1 six ounce can tomate puree
2 cups chopped onion
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
Salt to taste, add water to desired consistency
1. Saute beef, drain off excess fat.
2. Add beans, puree and onions.
3. Combine chili powder, cumin and salt, add water, Bring to a boil. Reduce
heat and cook slowly until onions and beans are tender, adding water as needed.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
This version of Barry Goldwater Chili stolen from here