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National Chili Day
Hey! Thursday, February 26 is National Chili Day!
Sure, it’s totally made up, but aren’t most holidays?! And I just can’t find a way to be opposed to celebrating meat, tomatoes, chiles, and spices on the fourth Thursday of every February. It’s like a spicy Thanksgiving or something.
A little history…
The earliest written description came from J.C. Clopper, who wrote of a visit to San Antonio, Texas, in 1928: “When they have to lay for their meat in the market, a very little is made to suffice for the family; it is generally cut into a kind of hash with nearly as many peppers as there are pieces of meat—this is all stewed together.”
By the 1880s, San Antonio markets included chili stands that sold “bowls o’ red” that were staffed by “chili queens.” A bowl cost ten cents and was served with a piece of bread and a glass of water. By the end of the 20th century, chili had become a tourist attraction and the San Antonio Chili Stand was an attraction at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893.
President Lyndon B. Johnson was a chili devotee and had strong opinions about chili. He preferred his bowl o’ red to be made with venison instead of beef, and he’s quoted as saying: “Chili concocted outside of Texas is usually a weak, apologetic imitation of the real thing. One of the first things I do when I get home to Texas is to have a bowl of red. There is simply nothing better.”
Cook Some Chili
With all due respect to LBJ, I don’t believe you need to be in Texas to make a righteous pot of chili — and the recipes below prove that a little creativity makes chili an international sensation. Given that it’s National Chili Day soon, you should probably make a batch or two, don’tcha think? Here are two paleo chili recipes from me (both of mine are Whole30 compliant) plus a few recipes from some of my other favorite paleo cooks.
Chocolate Chili from Well Fed
This recipe is literally an award-winner: it won the Paleo Magazine award for Best Savory Recipe in 2012. My husband Dave has said on numerous occasions that I could just make this every day, and he would be happy. It’s hard to disagree: cocoa, cumin, chili powder, and a long, slow simmer make this dish rich and satisfying.
Cincinnati Chili from Well Fed 2
It’s hard to resist a pile of noodles with chili piled on top! And Cincinnati Chili is a singular taste experience: with a touch of cinnamon and a thin broth, it’s like a Greek meat sauce and a pot of Texas chili mashed up with a pile of pasta. It’s unexpected and delicious.
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