There are as many legends about the origin of chili con carne as there are varieties of peppers. One of the more far-flung stories says the dish hails from a Spanish nun in the early 1600s who never left her convent but had out-of-body experiences in which her spirit was transported across the Atlantic to preach Christianity to the Indians. After one of the return trips, her spirit wrote down the first recipe for chili con carne: chili peppers, venison, onions, and tomatoes. Another yarn says the dish was brought to San Antonio by Canary Islanders who were sent to Texas by the King of Spain as far back as 1731.
Others believe the first chili mix was concocted around 1850 by Texan adventurers and cowboys as a staple for hard times when traveling to and in the California gold fields and around Texas. Needing hot grub, the trail cooks came up with a sort of stew: they pounded dried beef, fat, pepper, salt, and the chile peppers together into stackable rectangles or chili bricks ” which could be easily rehydrated in campfire pots of boiling water.
Either way, chili is a point of personal pride for Texans and most Texans have a family recipe they are willing to share – or not.
We had so much fun at last year’s Chili Cook-Off we decided to make it an annual affair. Continue reading november 8, 2018