There are very few foods that are endemic to North America and even fewer that we can say with, fierce national gusto, that are Canadian. Our national palate is largely imported with peroghys from the Ukraine, pizza from Italy and chow mien from China. But I’m prepared to argue a case for Chili. It is a meal that you don’t learn how to make from Babas, Nonas or Lao Laos. Chili is most definitely a North American dish. “While different varieties of chili are made all over the world, the fare is inextricably linked to the culture and history of the Lone Star Stare; in fact, it’s the official state dish,” explains Stephanie Anderson in her book, Killer Chili. “Devotees wildly believe that chili was invented in Texas, perhaps due to its proximity to Mexico.” While Canada is nowhere near Mexico we do have something in common with our neighbors south of the border. About the same time that Chili parlors were springing up in the Lone Star State to serve pioneers, buckaroos and cowpokes, adventuresome mavericks were making tracks through frontiers north of the 49th parallel as well. The yukon gold rush and the traitorous Canadian rockies provide the perfect backdrop for the need to feed with Chili. Chili was a one-pot meal that catered to the rough and tough wranglers who forged a new path across wild terrain. Chili was and still is a tough guy’s (and gal’s) meal. It’s a one dish meal that satisfies, fills you up and puts meat on your bones. It is undeniable, then, that chili should be considered a North American meal…the further north, the better in my opinion. Today’s offering pays homage to the pioneering men and women who forged new paths through the wilderness unknown and who very likely ate chili while doing it.
Have everything ready before you start cooking.
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 cans green chilis
1 1/2 c. chopped cooked chicken
1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. shredded monterey jack cheese
1.4 c. while flour
1/2 c. butter
Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Saute your onions until soft (about 5 minutes). Remove onions from the pot and set aside, then melt the rest of the butter in the pot. Whisk in the flour to make a roux and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes. Then, while stirring, slowly add your stock. Mix in the rest of your ingredients except the shredded cheese and sour cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for an hour. When you’re ready to serve this amazing dish, remove from heat and stir in the cheese and cream. Chili improves over time so leftovers are recommended.