What Is Chili?
Updated: Jul 2, 2022
In a post this week, I called it my "Chiliest Chili." But even in that post, I was questioning whether the name "Chili" applied. So I DuckDuckGoed "What is chili?"
One response* was "...chili is a type of stew often made with some combination of peppers, beans, meat, tomatoes, and spices." Peppers? Check. Beans? Check. (Okay, I used green beans instead of kidney beans or pinto beans or the like.) Meat? CHECK! Ground beef, ground pork, and ground turkey are in there. Tomatoes? Check again! Whole cherry tomatoes (or maybe grape tomatoes), diced tomatoes, diced tomatoes with diced chilis, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Spices? Check. Mostly hot pepper spices and garlic powder and black pepper, but that's still a check. I note that there is no mention of corn nor peas nor carrots nor cabbage nor even onion, and my "chili" has those in abundant abundance.
I was forced to ask of the interwebs, "What is Stew?" There was no consensus. Here's what I got from Wiki**:
"A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables and may include meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef, pork, lamb, poultry, sausages, and seafood. While water can be used as the stew-cooking liquid, stock is also common. A small amount of red wine is sometimes added for flavour. Seasoning and flavourings may also be added. Stews are typically cooked at a relatively low temperature (simmered, not boiled), allowing flavours to mingle."
I must admit that this much more accurately describes what I cooked. Also, I added Merlot to the mix, which definitely qualifies as a red wine. When next I exercise the culinary arts, I do not plan to mix red and Vidalia onions with leeks. I can only find the leeks when a thin bit of onion is in a ring. Their mild taste is overwhelmed. The liquid I stewed in was mostly from the tomatoes, especially the diced tomatoes, and the tomato sauce and paste. And the liquids released from the other ingredients - I added no water and not much wine.
Ultimately, I have decided that what I made is Ragoût de Chile based on my French Canadian heritage.