Chili con carne means "chili with meat" and in the United States this spicy stew is simply referred to as chili. The recipe is said to have originated from what is now northern Mexico and southern Texas. There are several legends of how the dish first came to North America. According to some historians, in 1731 immigrants from the Canary Islands arriving in what is now San Antonio, Texas, made a spicy Spanish stew similar to chili. Whoever may have introduced the dish, chili is a favorite of southerners and it became increasingly popular after the Civil War. By the 1900s chili recipes had spread across the country with distinct regional variations such as Cincinnati five-way chili, Springfield-style “chilli," and Texas Red chili. Chili con carne combines several of the most popular ingredients in Texan cooking: beef, tomatoes, peppers, onion, and spices. Texans enjoy it so much that in 1977 chili con carne was named the state's official dish. Contrary to common practice, authentic chili usually does not use beans, and although some cooks prefer a spicier stew, the standard version is mildly seasoned and allows the flavor of the beef to dominate.
Recipe Servings: 6
+ 5 minutes resting
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium-size yellow onion, diced
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 2½ Tbsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp ground cumin
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1½ cups beef broth
- 1 can (15 oz) petite diced tomatoes
- 1 can (16 oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
- Pour the olive oil into a large pot and place it over medium-high heat and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the ground beef and cook for 6–7 minutes, while breaking up the meat.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, if using. Stir until well-combined.
- Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with their juice), beans, and tomato sauce, stirring well.
- Bring the mixture to a slow boil before reducing the heat to a gentle simmer.
- Simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
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