The chilli plant originates from South America and was added to food dishes very early in history however the first recorded experience of the dish that we now know as Chilli Con Carne was in 1529, when the Franciscan friar, Bernadino de Sahagun described chili pepper-seasoned stews being consumed in the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, now the location of Mexico City.
The use of beef as the primary meat originated with Spanish colonizers to America. In Spanish, the term "chille con carne", consisting of the word chile (from the Nauatl chīlli) and carne, Spanish for 'meat', is first recorded in a book from 1857 about the Mexican-American War of 1846. This recipe dating back to the 1850s describes dried beef, suet, dried chilli peppers and salt, which were pounded together, formed into bricks and left to dry, which could then be boiled in pots in an army encampment in Monterrey, of what is now Neuevo Leon, Mexico.
Chilli then became commonly prepared in northern Mexico and southern Texas. Chilli Con Carne was then adopted by the working-class Tejana and Mexican women In San Antonio. The Chilli Queens of San Antonio Texas were particularly famous for selling their inexpensive chilli-flavored beef stew in their casual "chilli joints".
The San Antonio Chilli Stand, in operation at the 1893 World Exposition in Chicago, helped popularize chilli by giving many Americans their first taste of it. San Antonio was a tourist destination and helped Texas-style Chilli Con Carne spread throughout the South and West. Chilli Con Carne is the official dish of the U.S State of Texas.
Let’s Spice It Up
Texas from 1684 was French, the land taken from the numerous Native American tribes of the area and in 1690 changed hands to the Spanish. The Spanish concerned about the strong French influence from neighbouring Louisiana sent families to strengthen the Spanish garrison in San Antonio from The Canary Islands. They brought with them the Berber spices and herbs, ground coriander, oregano and in particular ground cumin that they had been using at home. These spices were added to the Chilli and meat dish giving it a more aromatic flavour.
Chillis from the South; herbs and spices from across the Atlantic and high quality meat from the longhorn cattle of Texas. Hey Presto Chilli Con Carne.
Cincinnati Chili originated with immigrant restauranteurs from Greece who were trying to expand their customer base by moving beyond their ethnic styles of cuisine. Slavic Macedonians Tom and John Kiradjieff immigrated from Argos Orestiko, fleeing the Balkan Wars, ethnic rivalries, and bigotry, in 1921. They began serving a "stew with traditional Mediterranean spices" as a topping for hot dogs which they called "Coneys" in 1922 at their hot dog stand located next to a burlesque theatre called the Empress, which they named their business after. Tom Kiradjieff used the sauce to modify a traditional Greek dish and came up with a dish he called chili spaghetti. He first developed a recipe calling for the spaghetti to be cooked in the chili but changed his method in response to customer requests and began serving the sauce as a topping, eventually adding grated cheese.
To make ordering more efficient, the brothers created the"way"system of ordering.
· Two-way: spaghetti topped with chili (also called "chili spaghetti")
· Three-way: spaghetti, chili, and cheese
· Four-way onion: spaghetti, chili, onions, and cheese
· Four-way bean: spaghetti, chili, beans, and cheese
· Five-way: spaghetti, chili, beans, onions, and cheese
Empress was the largest chili parlor chain in Cincinnati until 1949, when a former Empress employee and Greek immigrant, Nicohlas Lambrinides, started Skyline Chili. In 1965, four brothers named Daoud, immigrants from Jordan, bought a restaurant called Hamburger Heaven from a former Empress employee. They noticed that the Cincinnati chili was outselling the hamburgers on their menu and changed the restaurant's name to Gold Star Chili. As of 2015, Skyline (over 130 locations) and Gold Star (89 locations) were the largest Cincinnati chili parlor chains, while Empress had only two remaining locations, down from over a dozen during the chain's most successful period.
The history of Cincinnati chili shares many factors in common with the apparently independent but simultaneous development of the Coney Island Hot Dog in other areas of the United States. "Virtually all" were developed by Greek or Macedonian immigrants who passed through Ellis Island as they fled the fallout from the Balkan Wars in the first two decades of the twentieth century.