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Today is National Chili Day

By Jane Butel  February 22, 2018

It is time to spice it up with chili to celebrate National Chili Day!  To kick off the day, I am being interviewed by the National Food and Wine Network this morning.  ( It also happens to be National  Margarita Day and I am giving you my favorite margarita recipe--great with the chili!)

Here's their information.   The nation’s food, wine, restaurant, travel and entertainment Show is available on multiple platforms, including broadcast radio, cable television, Roku, online at www.CRNTalk.com and on various mobile applications like Tune In Radio, iHeart Radio, Aha Radio, iTunes and Stitcher.  Their combined distribution reaches 11 million homes nationally in over 250 markets.

Also, to help you enjoy chili throughout the coming months--we are placing our famous, purest, reddest  chiles on sale for half price today only, (February 22, 2018).

One pound of our Pecos Valley Spice Co. pure ground red or green  chile will make 120 servings of the average chili recipe or 65 enchiladas.  To help you even more, I am placing the 2nd edition of my 'Chili Madness" on sale for only $10.00.

Chili was made famous during the cattle drives to the rail heads in Kansas.  Before the railroads were built, the ranchers in the west and northern Mexico had way to get their cattle to market, hence when the railroads were built in the late 1800's, the cattle drives began where the herds were driven by cowboys to the rail heads such as Dodge City, Kansas--famous for the TV show "Gunsmoke" and many western movies.

What fueled the cowboys on these long trail rides was chili.  Chili keeps quite well especially if it is made with pure red chiles--as red chile is the world's best anti-oxidant.   So chili was fed to the cowboys by the "cookies" that cooked the trail from their portable  "kitchens".  My maternal Grandfather was an executive  responsible for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad western expansion out of Dodge City, always said that the reason that so many midwestern chili recipes had tomatoes and beans and other vegetables in them is that as they neared Kansas; the pot of chili would be getting rather "thin" and the cookies would stretch it out with the addition of beans, tomatoes and vegetables. 

He developed and refined this original, pure Texas type chili recipe from talking and tasting chilis with the many cookies who cooked the trail.  It is called Bowl o Red--we call it Pecos Valley Bowl of Red after our chile company.  Enjoy!

Just a nite--for a special kick, try housebreaking your chili by adding a shot glass of tequila to the top of it.


The influence behind this recipe came from my maternal grandfather, who was in charge of the line extensions going west from Topeka, Kansas.  While working with the Santa Fe Railroad, he was stationed a long time in Dodge City, KS which was the end of trail for the cattle drives.  He developed this recipe after commiserating with lots of “cookies,” or trail cooks who cooked for the cowboys bringing cattle up from Texas and Northern Mexico.  It has won numerous chili cook-offs and is one of the really true original chilis. I like to gussy it up with side dishes of Fixin’s ‘n Mixin’s of chopped onion, pickled jalapenos, mixed grated cheddar and Jack cheeses, sour cream garnished with lime wedges edged in powdered mild red chile and a bowl of pequin quebrado minced Habeneros for those who like it red hot! 

Yield:  6 to 8 servings 

2 Tablespoons lard, butter, bacon drippings, or rendered beef fat

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

3 pounds lean beef, cut into ½-inch cubes

3 medium-sized garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 cup pure ground hot chile or to taste

1/4 cup pure ground mild chile

1 Tablespoon ground cumin, divided

About 3 cups water

1-1/2 teaspoons salt 

  1. Melt the lard in a large heavy pot with a flat bottom and straight sides over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened.  Remove from heat.

 2. Add meat, garlic, ground chiles and ½ the cumin to the pot.  Break up any lumps.  Stir in the water and salt.  Return to heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the flavors are well blended. NEVER COVER.  Placing a lid on a stew such as this will steam the meat, toughening it, rather than allowing it to break down and become quite tender.   Add more water if necessary.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding remaining cumin. Serve with fixin’s ‘n mixin’s as noted above.

Perfect Margaritas

When we first lived in Albuquerque, NM, nearly every Friday evening our neighbors and friends gathered at our house for drinks, a potluck of whatever they wished to bring and lots of conversation and good times. These soirees continued for years until we moved away.

One of our very fun neighbors started calling my margaritas “crawl home” when they were made as directed below. (He had literally almost crawled home one Friday night.) Afterward, if we made them half strength of the tequila, we started calling them “walk home” margaritas and the name stuck among our friends.

Interestingly enough, for our full participation weekend and week long classes, we make them and the students without exception always vote for the Perfect or “crawl home” margaritas.

These are so much better than the margaritas the average American bar serves. They are definitely the best when made with freshly squeezed lime juice and good-quality silver tequila and Triple Sec or Cointreau. These margaritas are strong, so be careful!

Yield: 2 to 3 drinks

Coarse or kosher salt (optional)

2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice, approximately 2 to 3 limes, save halves after juicing

6 ounces tequila

2 ounces Triple Sec

1 teaspoon raw egg white, lightly whipped, optional*

Ice cubes

1. About an hour before serving, squeeze limes. If salted rims are desired, place salt in a small, dry saucer. Gently rub rind of lime that has been squeezed on the edge of the glass, then lightly crunch into the salt and place glasses in the freezer so they will be frosty.

2. Combine lime juice, tequila, Triple Sec, egg white if using and about 8 to 10 ice cubes in a blender or cocktail shaker. Blend or shake well. Taste and add more lime juice or Triple Sec, if desired. Pour into the frosted goblets and serve.

*The egg white sustains a foam on top of each margarita, which is very attractive.


Combine fresh lemon juice and lime juice for a delicious, if unconventional, margarita

Imperfect or “walk home” Margaritas: For less strong margaritas, reduce tequila to 3 ounces.

Frozen Margaritas: Keep adding ice and blending until mixture is somewhat firm or to desired consistency.





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