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Old 08-14-2005, 09:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daphne duLibre
So, is it a "soup" ???
Well - chili is generally thought of as a sort of stew where I live - it's rich and thick. There is also chili sauce, which is a little thinner and usually served over something like hot dogs, and there is chili soup which is even thinner and watery like a soup. So I guess the answer to your question would have to be it depends on the consistency of what you concoct.
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Old 08-14-2005, 09:19 PM   #12
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I agree that chili is a personal thing. One of our friendly chili contests was a once-a-year party where generally the same dozen or so cooks would make their best pot of red (or green) and we'd compete between ourselves. After many years of this, I came to know who's chili was who's even if we changed pots to try to trick each other, and they probably knew mine too. One fellow always made a chili that I loved even more than my own - I always looked forward to tasting his chili to see if I liked it as much this year, and I always did. It's a lot of fun. And, as I said before, all of our chilis became more mild as the years went on, just because everyone (but me of course!) was getting older, and their tolerances changed. It was kind of funny, since we all started out all those years ago with fiery hot pots of chili.

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Old 08-14-2005, 10:05 PM   #13
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In considering "technical" categories, one could put chili in the stew category. Some make it with more liquid, putting it into the soup category.

However, If feel no compulsion to assign chili into a category. It's OK that it's chili.

I also don't get hung up on the beans/no beans issue. I added kidney beans to my chili when I started making it as a way to stretch the meal. I still do. If you don't, OK, but don't tell me I'm wrong.

As Goodweed said, it's a personal thing.
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Old 08-14-2005, 11:24 PM   #14
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I've known several people who have won chili contents with beans in their chili.

One thing that I have done that is surprisingly wonderful is add diced zucchini. I was dead set against it until I tasted it!!! Also, I love whole black olives in mine sometimes, it just depends on what recipe I am doing. The Pumpkin and Black Bean chili NO black olives but other recipes I use yes. I would pull some out for someone who didn't like beans but they are going in mine! lol I would love to taste your chili BlueCat - I probably wouldn't like it so it might take several bowls to convince me

It's funny how what you say is true about "heat". The older we get the more flavor we want versus heat - it's not that we don't like it it's just that we can't afford that much Prilosec!!!!!!

Can't wait for cooler weather to make chili!!!!!
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Old 08-14-2005, 11:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchenelf
...Can't wait for cooler weather to make chili!!!!!
I don't wait. I had a bowl of chili last week. It may be hot outside, but the A/C makes it "chili" inside.
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Old 08-14-2005, 11:53 PM   #16
 
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Originally Posted by ironchef
FYI, "picante" means spicy or peppery. It does not refer to the amount of acidity in a dish.
Actually, "picante" from Bantam Spanish/English Dictionary means "pricking, biting, piquant, stinging, racey."

"Piquant" -- the cognate -- is French. My Larousse lists "piquant" as "qui pique" -- something that pricks/piques.

"Mordant" comes up in both definitions. From the Webster's Unabridged . . . "mordant" -- acidic.

Picante is a salsa with a vinegar or acid base.

Acid is basic to deglazing a pot -- in ale, picante, tomatoes, etc. Acid breaks down protein molecules -- i.e. meat. It's basic to brining, stews. tough cuts of meat, braising, tenderizing.

Please understand that I'm not flaming you here. It's just that picante sauce is a salsa with a high acid content, and it's acid in the sauce that makes it do what needs to be done in stewing chili meats. It's fundamental to the chemistry involved preparing the dish.
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Old 08-15-2005, 12:03 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daphne duLibre
Acid is basic to deglazing a pot -- in ale, picante, tomatoes, etc. Acid breaks down protein molecules -- i.e. meat. It's basic to brining
Acid is not needed for deglazing a pan. Deglazing can be done with plain water. Acid is also not basic to brining. For a basic brine all you need is water and salt.
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Old 08-15-2005, 12:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daphne duLibre
...
Acid is basic to deglazing a pot -- in ale, picante, tomatoes, etc. Acid breaks down protein molecules -- i.e. meat. It's basic to brining, stews. tough cuts of meat, braising, tenderizing...
Acids also don't do much for tough meats. For example, an acidic marinade will not act to tenderize a tough cut.

Somewhere else on this site there is a link to an article by Shirley Corriher discusing this fact. She does say that, while acidic ingredients don't act as a tenderizer in marinades, dairy products do.
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Old 08-15-2005, 12:32 AM   #19
 
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Ahhhhhhhhhh, "traction" . . . *G*

"Traction" is the term I use when a thread takes off.

OK, on the "soup" question. When I log on now I see all sorts of sub-categories in this forum. When I logged on before it was just "soup" -- which for me is anything in a pot that gets heated on a burner and contains any amount of water.

Ahhhhhhh, but the "beans/no beans" question. From a culinary anthropological view -- broadly historical . . . Chili was first developed, evidently, on chuck wagons where it was readily heated, re-heated, "amended" (In gardening, "amending" means adding different kinds of dirt to pre-existing dirt. The analogy seems to work here.). Also, chili was pragmatic, a food made from what was at hand and "cheap cuts" -- because it gets "stewed" which tenderizes all but soup bones.

So, yes -- chili with beans is authentic. But the "elite" dish is meat and chilis. I've never had the "elite" chili despite two years in the Army in Texas. So, I made some recently. I like it. Beats "beans & rice" to death.

But after Texas and the Army, it was college -- a rather extended period of college, about 12 yrs all tolled. In college we did "red beans and rice." But the "beans" got "tweaked" according to what was available --

(Maybe we should collaborate here, "An American Natural History of Chili")

I think, "chili" is a potage that is spiced with chilis. Cheap meat and beans work well with chilis in a pot, cooked long and slow.

Usually it was pinto beans, but also red beans, kidney beans . . . limas, garbonzos. When you're a starving college student, beans are beans.

Then some sort of meat. We'd actually do "pet food" -- This was the ground beef at the grocery that was out-dated. It'd be frozen and re-labeled as pet food. One of my colleagues was doing her Ph.D. in microbiology. She assured me that once the ground beef is frozen, the bacteria count freezes too. Also, cooking kills all the bacteria -- so long as you really, really cook it. None of this "rare patty" or "beef tartar" stuff.

Beans in a pot, water, tomatoes, meat, peppers -- I like the jalpeno escabeche -- pickled, with onion and carrot. Cheap in a large can. We used to pocket the Tabasco sauce off the tables at restaurants when it was set out as a condiment. (Hey! It's in support of "education" ! ! ! )

So, a pot of beans, with some meat. We'd add black olives -- zucchini would work, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic for sure. It was a "Tex-Mex" potage.

With rice -- beans and rice form a complete protein. When you're a starving college student, complete protein at bargin prices is important chemistry to understand.

On the chili -- I forgot to add: Garlic. Nothing I cook lacks garlic. Seems the "staff of life" somehow. Also, cayenne, Tabaso sauce. Tabasco is a chili from what I understand.

I have a cupboard full of "heat" -- A pinch of this, a bit of that. Seems intuitive.

Chili in hot weather. Actually, I have a couple MD friends/colleagues who note that all the chilis in this south of the border cuisine literally cause a physical reaction that assists the body in tolerating hot weather. The chilis cause you to prespire, but it aids in heat tolerance.

Finally -- Columbus was looking for India and trade in pepper. He found chilis and called them peppers. Calling them chili peppers just confuses the issue. Green pepper, red pepper are actually chilis.

It's not a soup. But this is the right forum category.
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Old 08-15-2005, 12:51 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daphne duLibre
Chili in hot weather. Actually, I have a couple MD friends/colleagues who note that all the chilis in this south of the border cuisine literally cause a physical reaction that assists the body in tolerating hot weather. The chilis cause you to prespire, but it aids in heat tolerance.
I like to eat and make chili no matter what the weather is outside or inside. To me chili does not fit into any category, but chili. I prefer my chili on the thick side, no veggies, lots meat and beans, and spicy, but not too hot.

This is a wonderful thread, DL. Thanks for making us think a little.
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