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Talk about a pie fight.

I'm from the Midwest, so I grew up with beans in my chile.  I never much got into the chile-nazi debates over beans or no beans.  Chile is what you want it to be...and some is good, and some is bad.  I've had great chile with beans, and I've had great chile without beans.  I never considered chile to be like Bourbon, which should only be sipped neat or cut with water or club soda.  Anyone who uses either coke or 7-up as a mixer with good Bourbon, or even bad Bourbon, is a heretic.  And, on top of that,  they most likely grew up without proper parental guidance.

But beans in your chile?  I say why not?  

Finally, the World Chile Cookoff association has relented and created a second category for entrants...there will now be puristas, who adhere almost religiously to the "no beans" prohibition, and the rest of us.  I say good on the WCC.

I have always made my chile with beans.  It's the way I grew up knowing it.  It was more of a hearty soup or stew, than it was something you cooked in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven.  Still, over the years, I have adapted the recipe I grew up with to conform with my taste for a more spicy and thicker pot of chile.  Less tomato juice, and more stewed tomatoes.  More and greater varieties of fresh chiles and chili powders.  Different beans.  More cumin.

But I still...hold onto your seats...enjoy it with a good pone of cornbread baked in a cast iron skillet.  What can I say?  I'm from Ohio, not Texas.

I don't have a recipe for's more of a concept than it is a recipe.  I always start out with two onions, and I usually go to the grocery store and buy a chuck roast and ask the guy behind the meat counter to run it through the coarsest grind for me.  After browning the beef, I would add the onions, some minced garlic, jalapenos and 3 diced poblanos that I char in the broiler and skin and de-seed.  Also a green bell pepper.

The way my Mom made chile growing up, she always used canned kidney beans.  If I'm feeling lazy, I'll still use those, but usually I cook some pinto beans these days, or pink beans.  I cook these on the side until they are just about done, and then add them to the chile.  To this I add about 3 large cans of stewed plum tomatoes, and I add tomato juice as needed, and only as needed, to get the consistency I want...not too thick, and not too thin.  I add cumin and chipotle chile powder to taste.  I like the smokey taste of chipotle chile powder.  And after all is right, I let it simmer on the stove for a couple of hours until all the flavors have blended and the beans are completely done.

At the end, I make a skillet of a cast iron skillet with a bunch of melted butter in the skillet before you spoon the batter in.

That, to me, is chile.  It's close, but not quite the same, to what I grew up eatimng, but it's still a world apart from what the purists in the Southwest hold up as the true standard.

There is no true standard...there's only what you prefer.  

Except when it comes to Bourbon.  If you mix any kind of soft drink with your whisky, you are either an inveterate rube, an easy first date, or generally suspect on any number of levels.

Kudos to the World Chile Cook-off folks for finally opening their minds and admitting that more than half the country doesn't eat the same kind of chile that they do in El Paso.


Be you make your chile WITH or WITHOUT beans?

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| 60 votes | Vote | Results

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