Chili or Chile? Either Way, Eat Up!

A cold snap is the perfect weather for a hot bowl of soup, but should we call it chili or chile?

Chili, as we call the soup, is a Spanish word that's been Americanized. The correct Spanish spelling is "chile." I've never seen the rule that says changing the final letter from "e" to "i" makes it American. After all, we have plenty of English words that end in "e."

Furthermore, I have a bone (a word ending in "e") to pick with the person in charge of Americanizing words. If it was deemed necessary to change the spelling of the word chile, why not change it to chilly? We already knew that word. Or, better yet, why not leave chile alone and change chilly to chile? We could say, "I ate chile in Chile when it got chile." That would have been a nice nod to the South American country fine enough to produce 33 tough and inspiring coal miners who survived being trapped underground for 69 days.  

There are as many versions of chili as Carter has liver pills. Whatever your taste preference might be, you can find a chili recipe to suit you. Whether you're a vegan or like chili loaded with the beefiest beef around, there's a recipe for you.

My folks used to buy a frozen block called chili con carne that they would use as a starter ingredient for their chili. The frozen block would be joined in the pot by ground beef, onions, tomatoes and spices. I don't know what was in the chili con carne block, but it must not have been very flavorful if they had to add all the extra ingredients.  

I like to use leftover red beans or kidney beans in chili. If you don't have leftover beans, you can use canned beans that have been drained.  

If sampling 30 different types of chili is something you're dying to do, come to the   If you think you have the best chili recipe around, there's still time for you to enter as a chef.


Beef and Bean Chili   

2 medium sweets onions, diced (I use Vidalias if I can get them)

2 stalks celery, diced

1 bell pepper, diced (I used mini sweet peppers in an equal amount to one bell pepper)

1 pound ground beef (80/20 blend)

2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 quart of cooked red beans or 2 cans kidney beans, drained

2 pounds tomatoes diced or 2 (14 oz) cans

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

4 tablespoons chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Heat a stock pot and cover the bottom with olive oil.  

Saute vegetables in the pot for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add ground beef and minced garlic. Stir to break up ground beef and cook until brown.

Once the ground beef has browned, add red beans or canned kidney beans (drained).

Stir and add tomatoes, tomato sauce and chili powder. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce to simmer and cook for at least one hour. At the end of the cooking time, taste for seasoning and adjust. Serve with Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Fritters.


Basic Chili Recipe  

I used this basic recipe for chili for years. For beginning cooks, it’s a great way to venture into chili making.

1 medium onion

olive oil

1 pound ground beef

1 (15 oz.) can stewed tomatoes

1 (8 oz.) tomato sauce

1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained

Chili powder to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in olive oil until soft. Add ground beef. Break up and cook until brown. Add remaining ingredients. Stir. Cover and simmer for at least one hour.

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Follow Jackie Garvin on her blog, Syrup and Biscuits.  


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