Shhhh! Don’t tell the Texans. Not all chili is “Texas Red”. There are many other versions of chili around the U.S. and the world.
Since chili was created in the mid-19th century, many modifications have happened to the recipe. Originally, the dish didn’t contain tomatoes; only meat and chiles in a thick broth. Now, it is very common to see chili made with tomato product. Others have changed the chopped beef to ground beef to ground chicken or other meat products. The chiles have gone from the hot chile peppers available in South Texas to those available in other regions, like New Mexico’s hatch green chiles or California’s Anaheim peppers or even tomatillos. Spice blends have been added that make the dish as unique as every cook that has ever made it. As the price of meat rose or diets began to limit meat consumption, people added beans and vegetables as a substitute for the beef.
So, Texans are pretty proud and protective of the term “chili” – a spiced, pepper, meat, thick gravy stew with a lot of flavor and heat. But, don’t tell the Texans that there are many other thick gravy stews called chili that don’t necessarily offend the traditional notion of chili.