I love Texas, which has made this move to California a little rough. In the first grade, we did an “I Love NY” shirt project. We had to decorate a t-shirt with something we really loved. Other children decorated shirts with their dogs, or their parents, or a favorite color. Mine said, “I LOVE TEXAS”. It had armadillos, cacti, cowboys boots, and hats.

Chili is Texan. In a previous draft of this post I started out discussing how my inflated Texan ego believed it was Texan, but I wasn’t sure, so I did some research. IT IS in fact Texan and specifically originates from the San Antonio region. There are different stories of its creation with connections to cattle ranching and Catholic missions. However, the most common story of the introduction of chili to the world was the San Antonio chili booth at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. 

Chili and cornbread are my favorite comfort foods. We have three chili ideas for you, plus my jalapeño cornbread recipe. Chilis include my Deep Roots traditional Texan chili, Newett family chili, and white chicken chili, which is my favorite. Sorry, Texas. 

Deep Roots Chili

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 Gun chili mix -This can actually be purchased on Amazon, or larger HEB stores if you’re in Texas. It includes masa, chili powder, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano.
  • 2 lbs of ground beef or chili meat (My mom buys shoulder roast and then chops it into cubes)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cans of seasoned diced tomatoes (Rotel, or plain if you prefer your chili less spicy)

1. In a large pot heat your oil and add the onion and garlic. Sauté until the onions and garlic are translucent. 

2. Add the chili mix, leaving out the masa. The masa is a thickening agent, so you can leave it in if you like heartier chili, we prefer ours a little thinner so it gets soaked into the cornbread. It is entirely up to you! Stir the mix into the onion and garlic mix until absorbed.

3. Add your meat and brown. 

4. Add the two cans of seasoned tomatoes, do not drain them! Then add one can of water. Yes, cans are units of measurement. Add one of them. 

5. Let sit on the stove until your house smells good, stirring occasionally. While you’re waiting, make your cornbread. 

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread 

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 large lightly beaten eggs
  • 2 sticks of butter, melted
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese (Half of a 16-ounce bag)
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped jalapeños

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a large (about 9-10″) cast iron skillet and coat with butter. Place the skillet in the oven while its preheating. 

2. Fork together your dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, butter, and milk together. Then add the jalapeños and cheese and let sit for about 15 minutes. 

3. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until all dry ingredients are evenly moist. 

4. Pull your skillet out of the oven, pour your cornbread mixture into the hot skillet. 

5. Cook cornbread 30-35 minutes. If you put a toothpick or butter knife into the cornbread, it should come out clean. 

White Chicken Chili

  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • cilantro
  • paprika
  • cayenne pepper
  • 3-4 jalapeños
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 3 cartons of organic chicken stock
  • 1 can diced green chilis
  • 1 can organic sweet corn
  • 1 can organic kidney beans
  • 1 can organic butter beans
  • 1 bag frozen hatch chilis
    • For Garnish
      • queso fresco
      • 1 tomato
      • 1 avocado

1. Pre heat your oven to 425. In a large stock pot heat oil and cook garlic about 5 minutes until browned. Add chicken stock, corn, beans, and bag of diced chilis. Add one jalapeño and a handful of chopped cilantro. 

2. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Bake in the oven at 425 for 20-25 minutes. Set aside to cool. 

3. Chop chicken into bite sized pieces and add to stock pot. Let the soup simmer and sample until you’re too hungry to keep waiting. 

4. Serve and garnish with fresh tomato, cilantro, avocado, sliced jalapeño, sour cream, and cotija cheese. 

Newett Chili 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup copped garlic
  • 1 pound steak meat
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • small handful of dried chilis
  • cumin
  • crushed red pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • smoked ancho pepper seasoning
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can northern beans
  • 2- 32 ounce cans of whole tomatoes

1. Heat oil in a stockpot. Add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Set aside a tablespoon of onion for garnish. 

2. Add spices to preferable taste, Cameron doesn’t measure anything but I suggest about a tablespoon of each. 

3. Add ground beef to the stock pot and brown. 

4. In a separate pan, add 1/4 stick of butter and coat pan. Brown steaks on both sides (about 6 minutes each) until cooked medium-rare. 

5. Cut steak meat into cubes and add to stock pot. 

6. Add beans and tomato and simmer until tomatoes begin to fall apart. 

7. Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and onions. 

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