A cookbook devoted to the family friendly, tailgate party classic–featuring more than 60 tried-and-true recipes–from veteran cookbook author and Americana expert Robb Walsh.
Americans love chili. Whether served as a hearty family dinner, at a potluck with friends, or as the main dish at a football-watching party, chili is a crowd-pleaser. It’s slathered over tamales in San Antonio, hot dogs in Detroit, and hamburgers in Los Angeles. It’s ladled over spaghetti in Cincinnati, hash browns in St. Louis, and Fritos corn chips in Santa Fe.In The Chili Cookbook, award-winning author Robb Walsh digs deep into the fascinating history of this quintessential American dish. Who knew the cooking technique traces its history to the ancient Aztecs, or that Hungarian goulash inspired the invention of chili powder?
Fans in every region of the country boast the “one true recipe,” and Robb Walsh recreates them all—60 mouth-watering chilis from easy slow-cooker suppers to stunning braised meat creations. There are beef, venison, pork, lamb, turkey, chicken, and shrimp chilis to choose from—there is even an entire chapter on vegetarian chili. The Chili Cookbook is sure to satisfy all your chili cravings.
For a book only about chili, it has a surprising large variety of them with sections on Goulash and Tagine, Traditional, Favorites Across the Country, and Modern Styles of Chili. It even has an interesting history of chili with old-timey pictures dispersed between the recipes. Some of the cooking styles are old school and can have some hard to find ingredients. The hardest for me to find was the tallow/suet. The dried peppers can be found at your local international store. Most of the recipes themselves have there own history. They come from famous restaurants, chefs, celebrities, chuck-wagon cooks, chili queens, and chili cook-off winners. I was surprised to see Obama’s Family Chili recipe in there.
Some of the traditional recipes flip the proverbial bird at health consciousness but, to follow my rule of following the recipes as closely as possible, I gladly rendered my own tallow for the Chili Queen Chili. Tallow is rendered fat from around beef kidneys. I found that if you let your butcher know your interested in it he/she will hold the suet for you. This was a very easy recipe but I didn’t care for the clean-up. This stuff is greasy, but unlike grease it doesn’t want to come off things it comes in contact with. I must have washed my hands five times after handling the suet and the stuff still didn’t come off easy.
Tallow was also used as a cheap candle wax, lubrication for steam pistons up until the 1950s, McDonald’s deep-fried their fries in it until the 90s, and recently has been used as jet fuel for the United States Air Force. The More You Know.
The recipes I made were out of this world even if a few were anti-health food. There are plenty of addition recipes for those of you who want to relive the chuck-wagon experience and make some of the ingredients by hand like the Dried Chili Paste. For most people a store bought chili powder would be fine. Most batches made enough for six to eight people but the nice thing about chili is it freezes well, so making large pots of the stuff doesn’t go to waste. If you don’t mind the recipes tasting different than the authors don’t be afraid to change ingredients to more health or easier alternatives. I didn’t see anything that would change the cooking times if you switched vegetable oil with tallow for example. Another nice thing is the author has added slow cooker versions to some of his recipes.