Chilli has survived sacrifice, war, bank robberies, cook-offs… a plethora of travesties that would have killed a lesser dish, and has done so victoriously. Lauded by criminals and presidents alike, there are few things finer than a bowl of chilli.
The story of how this dish came to be is mired in mystery, intrigue and heritage. Chilli is loved by all and its devotion spurs a yearning for everyone to create a tangible connection between themselves and it’s inception; dates change, stories grow ever more bombastic and hyperbole gets quite carried away. Yet there a few beans of truth in the blackened and battered cooking pot that is the history of chilli.
Before we can talk about the meal itself, it is necessary to talk about its origin. All heroes must have started somewhere and our gastronomical jewel is no different as it traces its heritage to the chile spice, whose story is almost as old as time itself.
Unlike most condiments and spices, the bold and boisterous chilli did not rise from humble beginnings. It burst into the mouth of the world from around 7,000 BC. Civilisations in South America have been using its unflinchingly powerful taste in elevating their meals to be worthy of the gods. They used it to create a fiery, chocolatey elixir, traces of which have been found in the tomb of kings and priests.
While many are familiar with Chili con Carne, the addition of the Spanish phrase “with meat” should provide a clue that this is not the original recipe of the meal. It originated as a vegetarian dish in Ancient South America which would consist of vegetables and spices. It wasn’t until it moved North to the Southern States of America that they would include meat. We only call ours a “sin carne” because the carnivorous option has become so prevalent.
Don Juan de Onate brought along the green chile pepper to New Mexico in 1598. Over 100 years later, displaced Canary Islanders in San Antonio used local spices, wild garlic and peppers to concoct aromatic dishes. And thus, the dish that inspired this soup was born.
There is no single, agreed upon recipe to the ubiquitous dish, every state claims to have invented or perfected it. Every shack and restaurant lays claim to a marvellous story of how their chilli saved the whole town; such as Fort Worth’s claim that the famous bank robbers Frank and Jesse James tried some of their chilli and refused to rob any of the banks in town. But we have taken one of the many authentic Texan recipes, given it some GLORIOUS! spirit and brought it home for you to enjoy.
We know you’ll enjoy our Texan Four Bean Chilli as much as we enjoyed learning the history behind it and like Billy the Kid said: “Anyone who eats chilli can’t be all bad.”