Mexican cuisine has developed into a distinctly new-world flavour fusion. In the Pre-Columbian era, beans and corn were staples in the diet of native inhabitants across the Americas. During colonial times, spices and cooking methods were introduced from across the Spanish Empire. This influence is the evolution of the dish and its signature spice combination of chili and cumin.
The Tex-Mex chili cook-off
Today’s, Tex-Mex cuisne exists thanks to chili. In the past century, this dish gained popularity in the US thanks to the Mexican population living in the southwest. The Chili Queens of San Antonio became famous for their tasty yet inexpensive meals. As the southwest developed, chili joints, parlors and stands would evolve into Tex-Mex road houses. For some officianados, perfecting their own chili recipe is a passion. The chili cook-off offers prizes, bragging rights and lots of “healthy” competition. To celebrate the importance of chili to the cuisine of Texas, it was named that state’s official dish in 1977.
Chili sin carne
Most of us are familiar with chili con carne (Spanish for chili with meat). But anyone who has tried this meatless version, or “chili sin carne” has been impressed. You will be surprised at how awesome it is a purely vegetable dish. It’s actually got a fair amount of protein thanks to the beans. I like to serve it topped with shredded Monterey Jack, Cheddar or Chihuahua cheese in a taco bowl or over nachos. For your guests who want meat with their meal, simply accompany this chile with some chorizo, chicken wings or slow roast baby back ribs.
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 green pepper diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 rib celery chopped
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- ½ tsp chili flakes
- 1 can kidney beans (19 oz)
- 1 can black beans (19 oz )
- 1 can whole kernel corn (12 oz)
- 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz)
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup passata or tomato sauce
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup cheddar cheese grated
- Sauté the onions, red pepper and celery in a large skillet or wok until tender (about 5 minutes).
- Meanwhile, open the cans (saving liquid) and mash about ½ of the black beans.
- Stir in the garlic and chili flakes. Cook for about a minute.
- Add all the beans, corn, (including liquid from cans), tomatoes, vegetable broth, tomato sauce and spices. Bring to a boil.
- Cover and simmer for about 60 minutes.
- Serve with hot crusty bread or tortilla chips and top with grated cheese.