It happens that the fourth Thursday in every February is National Chili Day in the USA. Chili con carne is a winter dish, but we have to do what we have to do, even if it’s not winter here in Brazil. Chili con carne is usually a mixture of tomatoes, beans, chili peppers, shredded or ground meat, onions and cumin, but there are many variations and everybody has their favorite recipe. In the cowboy days when western America was being settled, they used to make chili bricks. Settlers would pound together dried beef, chili peppers, salt and suet. Then they would make them into brick shapes and dry them.
The bricks would be taken out on the trails and boiled up when the cowboys or settlers stopped to camp for the night. So in those old cowboy movies you see when the guys are crouched around a pot over a campfire, they just might be heating up a chili brick. Or, it might be one of their boots. Southwestern Americans probably invented chili con carne, and it is generally thought of as a Tex-Mex dish, in other words, an Americanized version of Mexican food. Chili con carne is a serious business, and you can buy it canned or frozen. In restaurants, you will find it served over eggs, hot dogs, baked potatoes, French fries, hamburgers, corn chips, and occasionally even rice. I am going to give you two family recipes from New Mexico for genuine Chili con Carne, where chili peppers and chili con carne are both taken very seriously.