The other night at dinner, I told a friend that I was planning on making chili. His response, "you mean, chili con carnie?"
I had no clue what he was talking about. Was it the British accent? Or was chili con carnie something I had never heard of? I explained I was making good ol' American chili. The type that you top with sour cream and cheese...where you ladle over chips.. where you pair with spaghetti. He looked at me just as confused - he had only had chili con carnie over rice. After a few back and forths, where I would repeat "chili" and he would again, questioningly ask me, "chili con carnie?", we pulled out the smart phone.
He typed "chili" into the search box, and to his credit, the search results all came up "chili con carne" (in my Californian accent, con "car-nay")! How did I manage to live in Texas, and be an avid chili lover (on fritos, with bread, in lasagna, on spaghetti, vegetarian, turkey style...) and not know it was actually called chili con carne?
After digging around a bit, here's what I've learned about chili:
- It's true, chili is also known as chili con carne
- The American sources (Food Network, Cooking Light, Southern Living, Taste of Home...) have recipes for "Chili"
- The British sources (BBC Good Food, Jamie Oliver, NHS Healthy Recipes, the Guardian...) have recipes for "Chili con Carne"
- In California, "carne" is "car-nay"
- In the UK, "carne" is pronounced "car-nie"
- Chili on spaghetti is a Cincinnati specialty, and not yet discovered by the British
- If you google "Best Chili in London", nothing comes up. No restaurants, no places to eat it.
Have I just found my idea for a food stall in London? Chili con carne on spaghetti, anyone?
You might think that I'm unqualified to share this recipe since I didn't even know the proper name it, but I promise, it's really delicious and healthy. It's based on this Whole Foods Colorful Chili Recipe. The main difference is that I haven't found much (any?) love for turkey here, so I've replaced it with ground beef (aka beef mince).
I'm curious about your experiences, and would really appreciate if you could please tell me in the comments below: 1) do you call the dish "chili" or "chili con carne", and 2) do you serve chili with any of the following, or something else: bread, rice, chips, pasta?
Chili Con Carne Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 500 g (1.1 lbs) beef mince
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 (400 g or 15 oz) can chopped tomatoes (or less for a more chunky chili)
- 1 cup diced white mushrooms
- 1 (400 g or 15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (400 g or 15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons chili powder, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon paprika
- spaghetti (as many servings as needed)
- sour cream
- shredded Cheddar cheese
In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add in the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is slightly translucent. Add in the beef mince and cook until the meat is brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the red peppers, green peppers, and mushrooms and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Add in the tomatoes, cannellini beans, red kidney beans, chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, and salt. Bring the pot to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve over spaghetti and top with a generous spoonful of sour cream and a handful of shredded cheddar cheese.
Chili originated in Texas where the recipe then and now does not contain beans. Some people in the Depression added beans as a cheap filler that allowed it to go farther. Adding beans makes it stew, no longer chili. Adding pasta makes it Chili Mac. We like our chili over rice or just by itself
Hello! Here is a very stupid question I hope you can help me with. When the recipe calls for chili powder that means powdered dried chili peppers? Or store-bought ‘chili seasoning powder’ . Because I’m in Switzerland and can’t get that quick chili seasoning powder. I’m looking for the actual spices and measurements I need to cook this. I am missing some flavors from back home. Thanks!
My first home was Mexico City and I never heard of Chili nor Chili con carne. Then in my teens I moved to Northern California and we ate Chili at the cafeteria (which had only a few latinos back then, so I never associated it with Mexican food) Particularly loved Chili dogs!
Last year at an international pot luck event in Switzerland I tried Chili con Carne and said it was Mexican food. I was confused. I think of Chili as Old West Cowboy Texan food, that's what I want to make for my kids with pasta! Thanks!