Reader photos. Reader mail. Reader recipes. They are three things our Arkansas Living staff can’t get enough of!
Normally our Reader Recipes appear in their own section. But this one has such a meaty backstory, I thought I’d dish it out here.
A rich chili recipe was submitted by Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative member Ron Bird.
“Prior to finding our little bit of heaven in Arkansas, my wife, Carla, and I had our full-time residence in Texas,” explains Ron, a former Texas state legislator, who lives “in the middle of nowhere next to nothing” but not too far from Mena. “A fellow legislator and I proposed legislation to make chili the State Dish of Texas. Prior to the vote … I prepared a large pot of chili to entice the legislators to vote for the resolution.
“I’m happy to report that chili is now, and has been since 1977, the State Dish of Texas.”
And we’re happy to report that the creator behind the State Dish of Texas chose to retire in Arkansas!
Ron’s Texas Chili
2 pounds ground round or chuck
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/ cup catsup
4 heaping tablespoons chili powder
2 heaping tablespoons ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can ranch-style or chili beans (optional)
Brown ground beef, bell pepper and onion, breaking up meat to avoid clumps. Add crushed tomatoes, catsup, spices, about 1 tomato can of water and salt to taste. Simmer on low heat, stirring regularly for at least 1 hour, adding additional water to desired consistency. Add beans, if using.
Ron’s notes: Cooking longer enhances the flavor. I like adding beans. Chili is always better the following day. Making cheese enchiladas and topping with leftover chili before heating them in the oven is one of our favorite meals. Also, if you really like your chili hotter, add chopped, fresh jalapenos when browning the meat. ENJOY!
You might want to have some chili heating up while viewing our fantastic, frigid photo essay of readers’ pictures that is sure to give you chills!
Stay warm, and stay well!
Jennifer Christman Cia
Editor, Arkansas Living