Joe, the author of probably the best book ever written about chili, included his own recipe in With or Without Beans. "That which is to follow," he wrote, "represents many tedious, but gladdening, hours in the kitchen, not to mention countless pots of chili." Joe then presented three pages of description of his chili before revealing the recipe. He modestly stated that it should not be construed as the "best ever" chili, but rather one that satisfied the Coopers' appetites. "This recipe," concluded Cooper, "like most all worthwhile others, was conceived out of an uncertain past; born of a belief that no man can live long and prosper without good chili; reared in the confusion of trial and error; and now exists in maturity with the respect of neighbors and friends."
This recipe originally contained beef suet, but that ingredient was omitted after LBJ's severe heart attack when he was Senate Majority Leader. Remember to skim the fat off the chili. She wrote: "So many requests came in for the recipe that it was easier to give the recipe a name, have it printed on a card and make it available. It has been almost as popular as the government pamphlet on the care and feeding of children."
"My wife's a great chili maker," bragged Bill Mauldin, the famous political cartoonist. "Of course, she makes enough for a battalion in the infantry." His soldiering background and pride in his mate's culinary skills combine as Mauldin reviews the family's favorite recipe.
In an 1870s cookbook from Puebla there were recipes for 44 different moles but only one, Mole Poblanode Guajolote, or turkey in mole sauce, is called the National Dish of Mexico. This mole has descended from an Aztec chilemolli dish and although it’s called poblano, it doesn’t contain any poblano chiles. In this case poblano refers to the people of Puebla, birthplace of this dish. For an authentic taste, lard is used, but if that’s offensive to you, substitute vegetable oil.
Also, Mexican chocolate can be used, but if you do, be sure to eliminate the cinnamon from the recipe.
Enchiladas prepared with mole sauce and Mexican asadero cheese, also called queso blanco, are as exotic as they are tasty. This is also a great way to utilize leftover turkey. Enchiladas are not difficult to prepare--in fact they are quite easy. The trick is to have everything organized and ready to go before assembling the enchiladas.
The original version of this recipe was first published in 1880. According to John Thorne, "This may be the earliest printed recipe for chili con carne and it is surprisingly authentic, save for the suspect addition of `espagnole,' a white sauce seasoned with ham, carrot, onion, celery, and clove." Mrs. Owen wrote, incorrectly: "This might be called the national dish of Mexico. Literally, it means `pepper with meat,' and when prepared to suit the taste of the average Mexican, is not misnamed." We have revised the recipe to add ingredient amounts, which, in the recipe-writing fashion of the day, Mrs. Owen omitted. We have retained most of Mrs. Owen’s original instructions.
Using a commercial salsa as a base for this soup makes it quick and easy to prepare as well as allowing you to choose your spice level from mild to wild. The heat of the salsa will intensify, so I won’’t use anything that is too hot or a salsa that is habanero based. This simple soup can also be expanded to a more hearty soup, with the addition of ingredients such as cooked pinto or black beans, chicken or turkey, or even whole kernel corn. Add these to the soup after it has been pureed. For a taste of green chile, chicken enchiladas in a soup bowl, just use green chile salsa and chicken.