Chili purists, steel yourselves. Or as author Robb Walsh suggests, at least suspend disbelief and let your taste buds be the judge while taking a colourful romp through chili history — and some creative adaptations of the ancient dish.
The Chili Cookbook has every version you can think of, and explores its evolution from Mexico to the American southwest and how it has influenced mealtime around the globe.
The book: The Chili Cookbook ($24.99) is a 190-page hardcover that traces 500 years of chili, from the first Aztec stew to the tastes of modern Texas cowboys. There are 60 recipes for chili disciples of all kinds — with or without beans, with or without meat, using venison and lobster, and merged with cuisines of countries like Hungary, Greece and Pakistan. There are recipes from American roadside diners and even the White House.
Walsh also includes a primer on the varieties of dried and fresh chili peppers, and a ranking of commercial chili powders, which often substitute other spices for pure ground chilies. Or there’s a recipe to make your own (see accompanying video at thestar.com).
The author: Texan Robb Walsh is a longtime food writer who co-owns El Real Tex-Mex Café in Houston. On his journey into chili pepper culture, he says he discovered heart-stopping recipes in the most unlikely places.
Recipes I’m dying to make: Lobster chili; White chicken poblano chili; Huevos rancheros “Christmas”; Lentil, sweet potato and ancho chili; Frito pie.