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Chili Wars

Contributed by: Pamela Cole Harris

The earthy heat and flavor of the Green cooked combined with pork and cooked for hours? Or the almost sweet warmth of the Red, using the added broth as a catalyst to explode into flavor? Which do you chose? Where do you stand in the Chili Wars?

Lest you think this is not an important question, look at the volumes of literature and the heated (no pun intended) discussions on the subject throughout the Southwest! Texas, it seems, is a firm ally of Red chili. Green chili, however, seems to be the state choice for New Mexico. And California - ahhhh, California! - swings both ways!

Without telling you where my loyalties lie (although you will probably guess!), here are two delicious examples of each side:

Red Chili


  • 1 onion, medium, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped small
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns, cracked
  • 45 ounces Chile beans, hot and spicy variety, 3 cans
  • 24 ounces V-8 juice
  • 24 ounces beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Ancho Chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

To a large skillet (preferably cast iron) add the ground beef, onion, pepper, garlic, and pepper and cook until the meat is colored but not browned. Add 1 cups of beef broth. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in the spices, the beans, V-8, and the remaining beef broth, chile powder and cumin. Cover and continue to simmer 2-3 hours. Serves 8.

Green Chili - The Elixir of the Gods! (Oppps! I wasn't gonna tell!)


  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil (or other oil, in a pinch)
  • 1.5 lbs. Cubed Pork
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 med. Onion, diced
  • 2 oz. chopped canned Jalapeno
  • 8 oz. chopped canned green chiles
  • 15 oz. canned chicken broth
  • 15 oz. water
  • 28 oz. canned tomatillos, drained and crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. oregano
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 pinch of fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Ancho Chile Powder

In a heavy, cast-iron skillet, brown the meat and onion in the oil. Add the garlic and cook until the flavor is released (about 1 minute). Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. The resulting thick chili can be served with tortillas and savored as a cure for the infirmed and a balm for the soul!

So chose sides! War may be !@#$%, but whatever side you chose in this battle, you will come out a winner! And to the victor go the spoils - pots full of heavenly smells and glorious flavor sopped up with warm tortillas!

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Pamela Cole Harris is a writer and editor with over 35 years (yikes! Has it been that long?) experience. She has over 100 articles published in 15 magazines and on 30 (and counting!) websites. For more of life from Pamela's unique perspective, visit her new website, , as well as , , and . You can contact Pamela at .

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