It’s National Chili Day.

We eat a lot of chili at the Scrumptious house. It’s a rare week that goes by that we’re not restlessly circling the kitchen, gathering up our provisions to knock out a big pot. Truth be told, it’s rarely our official state dish:Texas Red. A kettle of the good stuff runs about a hundred dollars so we content ourselves with other, lesser chilis most of the time. I wore out my first chili kettle. Smooth out. I was standing over my stove top circling around the bottom with a big wooden paddle, and I kept bumping into a divot. I emptied the Texas Red into a steel pan, and turned the pot upside down. You could read a newspaper through a quarter sized almost-hole in the bottom.

Chile peppers, crucial to the construction of chili, have been in Texas since time immemorial. Chiltepins are native to the Great State, and available for free in ditch lines and on roadsides everywhere.

Texas grows the finest chiles on earth but competition is stiff.

Chile cultivars have been prevalent in nearby New Mexico for over 400 years. Ever since Don Juan de Onate (b.1550) first began making his way through the state with a satchel filled with peppers.

Does chili make you crazy? That’s what Joe DeFrates claims. He’s the only man ever to win the National and World Chili Championships.

Maybe Paul Burka has had one too many bowls of Texas Red. The political writer for Texas Monthly bucked up against chili as our official state dish back in 2013. He went on to nominate brisket in its stead. The breast of a steer is enjoying an extended moment in the sun currently but will never have the lasting power of a restorative bowl of red.

We’re apolitical but always searching for historically significant chili recipes to share. Thusly, we leave you with the following:


1 large onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

Several cloves of garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound ground turkey or beef

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground basil

1 tablespoon chili powder

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Several tomatoes, depending on size, chopped

1 can red kidney beans

Sauté onions, green pepper and garlic in olive oil until soft.

Add ground meat and brown.

Combine spices together into a mixture, then add to ground meat.

Add red wine vinegar.

Add tomatoes and let simmer, until tomatoes cook down.

Add kidney beans and cook for a few more minutes.

Serve over white or brown rice. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese, onions and sour cream.

The Art And Science Of Chili archive

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