Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chili Nation

I love chili. Love, love, love chili. If I go out somewhere and they offer it, I'll usually order it, at least a small cup just to try it. There are some I like more than others, but really, all chili is good.

Ten years ago when I had tons of extra throw away income I joined a cook book club. I had to buy SIX in a year, but I got, like, eight free. Most of those I've given away or sold in garage sales, but I still have my very dog-eared copy of Chili Nation. . Chili Nation has a chili recipe representing each of the 50 states.

I haven't opened it in a while, preferring to find my chili recipes online, but when I unpacked it from a long lost box a few weeks ago I got to thinking. In all these years I've had that book, I've only used three of the recipes. Three? How can it be? So I decided then and there that I was going to try every. single. recipe* in that book. I was going to make chili once a week, but my husband, he doesn't like chili as much as I do. So, I'm just going to wing it and make chili when it sounds good.

Two weeks ago was one of those times.

I made the Arkansas chili because I was craving McClards BBQ and that recipe was a copycat on the Tamale-BBQ spread that is so absolutely fabulous.

Mmmmm. McClards. There's nothing else like it, but it takes nine hours to get there. Seriously. If you ever find yourself driving through Hot Springs, Arkansas. You MUST stop there. You won't be sorry.

Anyway. A couple weeks ago I set about making the Hot Springs Chili-Tamale Spread. The recipe called for homemade tamales and I was like, BWAHAHAHA! I live in TEXAS. There's plenty of tamale trucks and authentic Mexican grandmas who KNOW how it's done. And, low and behold, HEB had fresh ones on sale that week. So there ya go.

So I had my tamales. Check. Then I needed to make the chili.


After the chili was done, 45ish minutes later, I made the spread.

I spread the tamales in a row in a casserole dish and covered them with the chili. I then topped that with a ton of shredded Cheddar and chopped green onions. Then I baked that for 20 minutes and then served each portion with a huge helping of corn chips. Just like McClards. Mmmmm....McClards.

But. I have no pictures of my actual very beautiful Chili-Tamale Spread. Because as soon as it came out of the oven my husband cut into it and it was pretty much completely devoured in a half hour. Nothing left. Nothing.

It wasn't McClards, but it was good. Oh, it was good.

So, Chili Experiment State One, ARKANSAS, was a four thumbs up. Adam gave it a thumbs down, but Adam eats only sliced ham and yogurt without a fight, so he's not a good judge.

If you want the recipe, let me know and I'll add it in a separate post.

Tonight I'm taking my chili journey to OHIO. Cincinnati Chili. Mmmmmm.

If there's a state you want me to try, leave a comment. *The only states I refuse to make are Colorado (venison, no access to that) and Maryland (crab! Ewwww.)


Fran said...

Crab chili? BLERK!! I would love the recipe for any of the chilis you especially like!

sherrypg said...

When I think of chili, I always think of Iowa (ha). Let me know how that one works out.

kelly jeanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kelly jeanie said...

Great post. My husband loves him the chili, where I'm more of an occasional chili kinda gal. He likes this horrible chili they make at a greasy diner in Green Bay that they serve over noodles, cheese, and kidney beans. Apparently John Madden also loves the stuff from said diner but I don't see the appeal.

As a native Cheesehead, I'd love to know what kind of chili Wisconsin is known for in that there book.

What do they put in crab chili?

Ruby Red Slippers said...

What does my home state do? (Michigan)
If they use deer meat-counnt me out, too! Everyone is all into hunting deer here, but we are not. Yuck.
I would be curious how MI chilli is-