Chili is a thick soup that usually has some combination of meat, peppers, tomatoes, spices and beans. This hearty soup may have gotten its roots from Spanish cuisines, as they call it ‘chili con carne’ or chili with meat. Originally, the dish was an inexpensive food for those who couldn’t afford good cuts of meat. West-bound pioneers usually brought “chili bricks” to heat over the fire while they were on the trail. The bricks were a combination of dried beef, fat, chile peppers and salt.

Today, competitions are held for the best chili recipes. There is a huge debate about the correct way to make the dish. While the ingredients vary in every recipe, many people say that chili should not include beans or tomatoes since those are not considered a part of the original pioneer recipe. The ingredients of every recipe vary from person to person. Some choose to use ground beef or ground turkey, while others use pulled chicken. Most of the cooks can agree that usually the dish includes some type of peppers, kidney beans, onions, chili powder, salt, pepper, tomatoes and paprika. Another great idea is to add black beans, corn, mushrooms and black olives to the dish to give it a more unique flavor. Chili is best served hot and topped freshly chopped onions, shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

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