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.
The rules are simple: Amateur chefs only, please.
Please list all ingredients on paper with your name and phone number.
Contestants must bring their WARM chili to the market before 10:30am.
We prefer if the chili is in a crock pot so that we can keep it warm.
Judging will begin at 11am! We will provide bowls and spoons for tasting. We’ll also provide the toppings and chips! And will be selling bowls of contestants’ chili for $2 to shoppers after the judging.
Judging will be based on appearance, aroma, taste. Please put your name on a piece of tape and attach to your crock pot. Extra credit for any chili that contains ingredients from the Chappaqua Farmers Market.
Need some recipes to get you going? Here is one for classic-chili con carne (without beans) courtesy of Texas food historian and restaurateur Robb Walsh. This meatless chili recipe features vegetables available at the market now.
A reminder that Nov. 17 marks the end of our weekly “summer’ market season. Swing by the market tent to pick up a schedule for our winter market. While you’re at it pick up some “market bucks” to give as gifts this holiday season. Or, why not, to folks who could use some help with shopping for their holiday meal.
The knife sharpener will be at the market Saturday. Bring your carving knives for the Big Day.
See you at the market!
Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ farmer’s market director
author: “American Pie:Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads” (HarperCollins)