We tend to take our chili seriously in San Antonio. After all, it’s the official state dish of Texas, and the Mexican staple was introduced into the U.S. culinary melting pot right in our plazas. There are so many ways to make it, so if you want to warm up on a chilly winter evening, try any of these savory chili recipes.
The Classic Approach
While chili is prepared differently nearly everywhere you go, you can’t go wrong with the traditional preparation that developed right here. This carne con chile recipe draws from the family cooking that was served at open-air food stands of San Antonio for years. Its warm, piquant taste can transport you back to the convivial plazas when Tejano performers entertained the crowds that gathered each evening. Dried chiles like guajillo and ancho impart the earthy richness that developed slowly as they transformed from fresh Mirasol and poblano varieties.
No Meat? No Problem
Even though the dish’s original name translates to “meat with chile,” this hearty stew can be surprisingly satisfying without an ounce of animal protein. A good vegetarian chili still packs a bowl full of tasty veggies and mouth-tingling spices, and it comes together in just a little over an hour of cooking. This recipe brightens things up with the use of fresh chile peppers, combining mild bell peppers with the notably spicier jalapeños. If you want to keep the stew from getting too hot, you can cut away the membranes and seeds of each jalapeño, as that’s where most of the heat is. Beans round out the dish, and it’s best to use a variety like garbanzo and kidney.
You might have heard of the spaghetti-style chili in Cincinnati or the chilidogs of the East Coast, but how do they prefer the spicy stew up in Colorado? For residents of the Centennial State, a bowl o’ red is not red at all. Green chili is the way to go in this case, and tart little tomatillos give chile verde its distinctive color. Anaheim chiles add a mid-grade heat along with their own verdant hue, while cumin can be added for additional spice. Pork shoulder is the protein of choice here, and a little flour added early on will help thicken the stew.
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