It's often said that chili originated in Texas as a type of hash-like dish brimming with meat, peppers, and flavorful spices. Chili was the star of the San Antonio Chili Stand at the 1893 World's Fair in and by the 20th century, the dish had made its way to other regions. Today in Texas cities like Austin, chili is a popular dish on restaurant menus. In North Austin, you can find great chili at places like Cover 2, while areas like Round Rock and Buda have local favorites as well.
What Makes Austin Chili Special?
Chili in Austin and across the state has several variations, but the common denominator of most Texan chili is that it contains no beans. Texas Red Chili, also known as Cowboy Chili, is bean-free — no kidney beans, no pinto beans. For an award winning red chili, check out the recipe created by Debbie Ashman via Esquire, the winner of the Terlingua International Chili Championship. It features ground beef, beef stock, tomato sauce, and several different chili powders and spices.
In Austin, you can find classic Texas Red Chili at local places like the Texas Chili Parlor on Lavaca Street or chili made with a mix of ground beef and pork at Lucy's Fried Chicken on Burnet Road. Many local chili recipes rely on savory meat plus a combination of spices and peppers. It's possible to find some chili with beans in Austin as well as vegetarian chili and verde chili.
Chili Night at Home
While it's always fun to head out to an Austin restaurant, it can be just as much fun to have a chili night at home. Invite friends over and wow the them with your culinary skills! The Springs at Lakeline apartments in North Austin may be close to many local restaurants that serve up chili, but you can make a big batch at home for game day or any day of the week.
The great thing about chili is that you can easily change it up to suit your personal taste. A basic chili needs meat. Ground beef, chuck steak, brisket, shreds from short ribs, and boneless chuck roast all work great in Texas-style chili. Beyond the meat, you'll have to decide if you want to add tomato sauce and/or chunks of tomato — a can of diced tomatoes is an easy shortcut. Green peppers add a touch of sweetness but serranos increase the heat. A combination of both dried and fresh peppers is ideal. Peppers to consider include anchos, guajillos, chipotles, Anaheim, and red or yellow bell peppers.
However, the key to flavorful chili really is the spices. Many recipes can for onion and garlic powder, but you can use fresh onions and garlic as well. Paprika, cayenne, chili powder, salt, pepper, and cumin typically are staple spices for a basic chili recipe.
Top it Off
For your chili night in, don't forget the toppings. Shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese is a must, or kick up the spice a bit more with some shredded habanero cheddar. Sour cream, fresh chopped onion or scallions, and fresh or pickled jalapenos are popular toppings for chili in the Austin area. Serve your chili with a slice of cornbread like 24 Diner on Lamar Boulevard or over tots like Dirty Martin's on Guadalupe Street.
February 22 is National Chili Day, the perfect time to plan a chili cook-off or chili party at your Springs Apartments. Springs Apartments in Austin have just the right space for cooking and entertaining. To see floor plans for the townhome-style apartments at the Springs at Round Rock, the Springs at Lakeline, or the Springs at Sunfield, contact us today.