Chili is similar to a stew and is composed of meat, chiles, chili powder and may also include beans and tomato sauce. “Con Carne” means “with meat”. Many people believe that this dish originated in Mexico but the truth is, it didn’t.
Charles Ramsdell, a writer from San Antonio wrote in one of his articles: “Chili, as we know it in the U.S., cannot be found in Mexico today except in a few spots which cater to tourists.” Ramsdell argued that if this dish really came from Mexico, it would’ve been there first and would still be there since Mexicans, specially those of Indian ancestry, do not change their culinary customs ever.
The earliest versions of chili were made by the poor people in the 17th century according to most historians. J.C. Clopper is the first American known to have this dish described back in 1926. He stated: “When they have to pay for their meat in the market, a very little is made to suffice for a family; this is generally into a kind of hash with nearly as many peppers as there are pieces of meat – this is all stewed together.”
Fast forward to the 20th century… (1899 – 1973) Chasen’s Restaurant in Hollywood, California is frequented by entertainers, actors and famous people like: Walt Disney, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Temple, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Richard Nixon, Kirk Douglas, Ronald Raegan, John Travolta, Jack Nicholson, Mel Gibson and Ed McMahon to name a few.
Chasen’s is also famous for its chili. Hollywood actors and actresses would come to the back door to buy and pick up their chili by the quart! Their chili is so delicious that it was constantly craved by Jack Benny, wife of Franklin Roosevelt – Eleanor Rosevelt, Clark Gable and Elizabeth Taylor. There was one time when Elizabeth Taylor was in Rome, Italy to film the movie Cleopatra and she asked Chasen’s Restaurant to send her 10 quarts of chili!
The owner of the restaurant, Dave Chasen, kept the recipe a secret and entrusted it to no one. After several failed attempts to contact Dave from beyond the grave, I turned to the recipe from the cookbook entitled “Chasen’s – Where Hollywood Dined” by Betty Goodwin published in 1996, thanks internet! 🙂 . Today’s recipe is a slightly tweaked version of Chasen’s famous chili to make it Ketogenic.
What you need:
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes (go for “no sugar added” brands)
- 1 large green pepper, chopped
- 2 tbsps vegetable oil
- 3 cups chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsps butter
- 2 pounds beef chuck, coarsely chopped
- 1 pound pork shoulder, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup chili powder (can be increased of decreased)
- 1 1/2 tsps ground cumin ( cumin seeds can also be used)
- salt and pepper
- Put tomatoes in a large pot (include the juices), simmer for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute bell pepper in oil for about 4 minutes, add in onions and cook until tender while stirring frequently. Add in garlic and parsley then stir.
- Pour the mixture into the large pot where we simmered the tomatoes. Using the same skillet, melt the butter and saute the beef and pork until brown. Drain the excess fat (if desired, will taste better if you don’t), add to the tomato mixture and season with cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer, cover, and let it cook for 1 hour. Uncover and cook some more until desired consistency is achieved.
You can put a variety of add-ons but don’t overdo it. Here is a safe amount Ketogenic dieters can enjoy:
- Cheese – 4 oz, provided it has 1 carb or less per serving (don’t add if you’re a Paleo dieter)
- Cream (heavy cream, light cream, sour cream) – 4 tbsps (don’t add if you’re a Paleo dieter)
- Lemon / lime juice – 4 teaspoons.
- Avocado – half of it
- Non-starchy vegetables like celery stalk, asparagus, cucumber, summer squash (zucchini, spaghetti squash), bamboo shoots, some cruciferous vegetables like kale (dark leaf), kohlrabi, radishes, leafy green veggies like Swiss chard, bok choy, spinach, lettuce, chard, chives, endive, radicchio, etc. – eat to your heart’s content!
My very first memory of eating chili was when my mom used it as a topping on my hotdog sandwich, I think I was 7 years old at that time. How about you? Any good memories with chili? I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments section below! Eat well, be well, farewell!