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For many people around the globe especially those who live in cold regions, chili is the best comfort food. What I like about chili is that it is very versatile. With so many variations, you can eat chili with a lot of foods from cheese and cornbread to even ice cold beer.
I also appreciate that chili can be frozen, unlike other dishes. Cooked chili can be safe to eat when it is frozen. So no matter how much chili you cooked, you don’t have to worry about leftovers.
What is chili?
A bowl of chili con carne on the table
Also known as chili con carne, this is a dish that we often associate with the Mexicans. It’s a spicy stew containing meat, chili peppers, tomatoes, and beans. Seasonings also include onions, garlic, and cumin.
There are many stories how it came about, with one mentioning a Spanish nun who wrote the first chili con carne recipe consisting of chili peppers, onions, tomatoes, and venison.
Another story has it that the Canary Islanders introduced it to the people of San Antonio, Texas in the 1700s using local peppers, wild onions, and various meats.
Through the years, Americans have enjoyed chili. One of the most prominent chili lovers is US President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Is chili nutritious?
A bowl of chili con carne and a spoon on the table
With meat (usually beef) as its base ingredient, chili is definitely a protein-packed dish. A serving of chili has around 15 grams of protein which is already 25% of the required protein intake of an average sedentary man.
When you add beans to it, chili can even be a richer source of protein. Plus, beans has fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
The other base ingredient, chili peppers, is considered by many as a super food. It is rich in antioxidants. It is also a good source of vitamin C as well as carotenoids. It helps relieve inflammation and lower cholesterol.
Best foods to pair with chili
So what goes well with chili? Here is my list of the best foods to pair with chili, in no particular order:
There are many corn chips variety that you can choose from but my personal favorite is blue corn chips. You can eat the corn chips after you pour the chili on them. I simply dip the chips in a bowl of chili. I know some people who eat them separately, saying it gives them a salty change of taste.
Pasta plate on the table
In some countries, it is normal for chili to be served on top of spaghetti. Yes, they use the spicy stew just like a pasta sauce.
You can try this with cooked elbow macaroni. Pour the chili over the macaroni and then let it in the refrigerator overnight. This should allow the pasta to absorb all the spices. Serve this the following morning. You can also add frozen corn kernels to make the dish look more appetizing.
a bowl of Salad on the table
Just like corn chips, there are many variations of salad. This means it won’t be hard for you to choose a salad type that goes well with chili. You can start by sprinkling chili on green salads. You will be amazed at how the spicy stew will improve the flavor of the dish.
You can also throw in some diced cheese, sour cream, cilantro and onions to the mix. These ingredients will not only improve the flavor and texture of the salad but also neutralize the spice of chili if the latter is too strong for your taste buds.
Bread on the table
I have to agree with the people in the Southwest— chili and cornbread are inseparable. What I like about cornbread is that it doesn’t need any rising time.
But I will also have to say that chili really goes well with any bread whether it’s corn bread or white bread. You can make your own bread or go to your local bakery. Whichever route you decide to go, you can be sure that bread and chili make a very good combination.
pieces of cake on the table
Yes, you can enjoy chili with desserts. You can make you dinner perfect by serving brownies with chili. Or why not have a peach cobbler? Perhaps apple pie and ice-cream will also satisfy your taste buds.
If you want to have some Southwestern flair, you can pair chili with sweet corn pudding or empanadas. Even a simple dessert consisting of sliced fruits with cinnamon can taste good with chili.
A bowl of chili con carne rice and a spoon on the table
There is no denying that chili is one of the most versatile dishes around. You can practically pair it with every dish, from main courses to desserts. I even know people who can’t eat chili with beer!
What’s your favorite food to pair with chili? Share it with us by writing in the comments section below. Better yet, share this article on Facebook or Twitter. You’ll be surprised at what your friends pair with chili!
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