Chili was first introduced to the public at the Columbia Exposition in Chicago in the 1893 at a Texas booth. It has its roots in the south-western part of United States. Originally it was made of chilies and chopped meat. Later beans were added to the mix. The Indian tribes in the South West like the Hopi made pemmican of dried meat, and chilies that cowboys later copied to take with them as they traveled. Chili was the food of poor people of areas in Texas because chili peppers grew wild in the bush. In San Antonio there were “Chili Queens” who sold their chili at night on street in chili carts to the patrons of saloons until 1937 when they could not meet sanitary regulations. Around 1890 William Gephardt made chili in his cafe and imported ancho chiles from Mexico that he ground up into a powder that he sold as Eagle Brand Chili Powder. By 1899 he had trade marked Eagle Brand Chili Powder. It wasn’t long after that the one pot dish was common fair in the South West and spread across the states. Many new recipes were developed for it and shared in news papers and magazines in the first quarter of 20th century. Moreover chili is not a Mexican invention and only gets its name from the peppers. It is truly an American Cuisine and comfort food.
Here is an idea make up your own chili mix ahead of time. I have been making my own chili mix for years. This is an adaptation to a recipe that is offered by the University of Main’s Extension Center. Over the years funding for agricultural centers have been cut back for home economics. It was a program that was started by FDR and extended ideas and education in home making in the poor rural areas. This is something that is now needed in the urban areas and I am glad that our current First Lady has made nutrition her mission.
Even if your budget is stretched way beyond what you thought you could feed your family with. There is still seasoning mixes that you can have on hand to help make a quick meal without paying the mark up and packaging that is charged by commercial companies. I know it is hot right now and this is not the time of year for chili but you can start looking for inexpensive chili powder, cumin, cilantro flakes, instant onion and minced garlic. Good place to look is spices that are in bags at the grocery and on display for $1. I was able to make about pint and half of mix. That is enough for 10 batches of chili using the recipe for making chili given here. It cost me less than $4 to make the seasoning mix using inexpensive spices.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon instant minced garlic
- ¼ cup of chili powder
- 1 cup instant minced onion
- ½ cup of cumin powder
- ¼ cup cilantro dried flakes
- 1 tablespoon of salt
Combine all ingredients. Store in a tight container. Use ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon for the following recipe:
- ½ to 1 pound of ground meat
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of seasoning mix
- 1 16 oz. can of tomatoes ( whole. Chopped or sauce)
- ½ cup water
- 2 15 oz can kidney beans.
Brown meat in skillet and remove excess fat. Add seasoning mix and stir in. The oils release the flavors of some of the seasons. Then add tomatoes, water, and kidney beans. Don’t drain kidney beans, dump it all in. Bring to a boil cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
I like celery and green peppers in my chili so I would add a chopped stalk and some chopped green pepper when I fry the meat. You can use any kind of ground meat for chili. Sweet peppers have become very expensive. When I buy them I chop them up and put them in a baggie and freeze them. I have them on hand for things like chili. I do the same thing for the red and yellow peppers to. I look for them from a farmers market because they are cheaper. This chili is also good meatless.
Enjoy your Chili when you are in a hurry or out of ideas and out of money.