October is National Chili Month

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October is National Chili month.  With the cold weather due to arrive shortly, it’s time to dust off those chili pots and make a nice big pot of this comfort food. It doesn’t matter if you’re into three bean chili or chili of the hot and spicy variety: chili is a great one pot meal, especially in the fall and winter months. As we celebrate national chili month we’ve put together a blog that’s jam packed with everything you’ve always wanted to know about this versatile dish.

History of Chili

There are a lot of theories as to who invented chili. Some of it may be fact and some of it may be fiction, so you be the judge of who you think was the true inventor of chili.

-One theory states that back in the early 1900s meat was scarce and expensive. Poorer families would buy a hash that was made with a few pieces of meat as well as peppers. This hash was often added to tomato sauce and beans in order to make a heartier dish, now known as chili.
-Another legend states that the first chili was actually invented by a nun named Sister Mary of Agreda of Spain. She was known to go into trances where she went to faraway lands and preached to individuals. Supposedly she wrote down a recipe for chili that involved venison, Chile peppers, onions and tomatoes.

Fun Facts About Chili

-Chili first became popular in the U.S. during the Gold Rush that occurred in the middle 1800’s. This is because it was pretty easy to make for cowboys and really satisfied their appetite after a hard day’s work. Back then they boiled some water and dumped in salt and pepper, dried beef as well as the fat and chili peppers.
-The first known chili cook-off took place in Terlinga Texas in 1967.
-What once used to be a straight forward dish has become slightly complicated with all the different varieties of it. Popular chili’s include, white chili, vegetarian chili and bean-less or Texas-style chili.
-Cincinnati is known as the world’s chili capital. This is because over two million pounds of chili is consumed each year by Cincinnatians.

Popular Chili Festivals

There are quite a few chili festivals set to occur in the month of October. Here are a few of them that are expected to draw very large crowds:

– Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Chili Cook-off, October 25th
– Great Miller Lite Chili and Barbeque Cook0ff, Georgia International Horse Park, October 4th
-World’s Championship Chili Cook-off, The MGM Resorts Festival Village, October 24-26th

Make Your Own Chili

If you can’t make it to a chili festival, you can easily make a pot of it at home. We’ve included a very basic recipe that’s easy to try for your first time, however, you can add just about anything to your chili.  Use various types of beans.  Before browning your ground beef you can saute onion, peppers, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne pepper.  You can also use various types of beans along with the kidney beans. You can of course use ground turkey, ground pork or ground lamb.  You can also make just a veggie chili adding in anything from squash to mushrooms.

What You’ll Need:

– 1 pound ground beef
– 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
– 1 can of kidney beans

To Make:

Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain.  Pour the entire of jar of the spaghetti sauce into a pot. Dump in the kidney beans. Stir in the browned ground beef. Let the ingredients simmer on low until they are thoroughly heated. If you like you can top it with tons of items or pick your favorite. Popular toppings include shredded cheese, sour cream, scallions, diced avocado, cilantro, parsley, lime, raw onions, tortilla chips or crushed saltine crackers.  Chili goes great with corn bread.

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