Ceramics for a Tex-Mex Delight

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Chili Con Carne has to be one of the most well known Tex-Mex dishes in the world. Nothing else says hearty and nourishing like chili does and it’s versatility is unbeatable; from a simple bowl of chili on a cold winter’s night to warm your body and soul, to a chili-dog or chili-fries on a warm summer’s day at a ballgame. Chili is definitely a dish to be enjoyed year-round!

Fresh ingredients make for a great chili!

There’s great controversy over what does and doesn’t belong in chili and whether adding certain ingredients actually changes the dish enough to change it’s name. A common ingredient that is pondered over is beans. Do beans actually belong in chili? Evidence does suggest that there isn’t anything unauthentic about the addition of beans to chill however, certain Texan aficionados will argue the fact that chili does not contain beans. Truth be told, Texas-style chill doesn’t contain beans and may not even contain any other vegetable at all for that matter, except chili peppers, onions and garlic! An interesting fact about chili is that it’s the official state dish of Texas and there are numerous competitions to boast best chill in the world. In fact, there’s even an International Chili Society that organises and judges chili competitions.

Black beans and red kidney beans. Delicious and full of protein. A great addition to any bowl of chili!

A recipe that has been in a close friend’s family since the Acadians were deported by the British from the maritime provinces in Canada to Lousiana and Texas has evolved greatly over the years. The truth is that it most assuredly didn’t even start out as chili but has evolved into a delicious version of the dish. I love being creative in the kitchen so I’ve put my own spin on their original recipe that I will share with you……and YES, it does have beans!

Smokey and Sensational Chili – click link for full recipe!

Accompany your chili with guacamole and cornbread. Click on the links under the photographs to find the recipes

Homemade guacamole – click link for recipe!

Comforting cornbread – click link for recipe!

A rarely used method of preparing chili is in an earthenware pot in a wood-fired oven which adds another dimension to the dish. Ceramics are a far cry from being anything new to us as cookware. In fact, we have been using ceramics for about 20,000 years for cooking and we have been refining the process ever since. Shapes and sizes of earthen cookware vary widely across the globe and techniques for shaping and firing ceramic vessels do as well. The Chili Queens of 18th century San Antonio, Texas used to heat their chili over mesquite-flavoured wood fires in Mexican ceramic cauldrons. This got me thinking about the recipe and I decided to replicate the Chili Queen method of preparing the dish. I was even able to capture the smoky flavour added by a wood-fired oven.

Advances in the manufacture of ceramics have greatly improved the quality of the cookware that we use today. I’m a firm believer in quality and Fornetto’s range of unique and beautifully crafted ovenware and pizza stones are made using only top quality materials. The stoneware can be used in a wide range of temperatures to a maximum of 500°C (930°F) which gives you the versatility to create great tasting dishes in your wood-fired oven.

A great feature of their stoneware is that it’s highly resistant to thermal shock, which means you can take your dishes directly from your freezer to your pre-heated oven. In addition they have a high capacity to retain heat so that the food you prepare stays hotter for longer when it gets to the table. Whether you’re cooking chili, roasting a chicken or making a pizza, the range of stoneware has you covered. The entire selection of Fornetto cookware has been especially created to compliment any conventional or wood-fired oven. I like that their glossy “empire-red” glazed finish makes a bold statement on my table – whether I’m serving inside or out.

You’re in for a treat. Enjoy!

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