Summer is coming which means it is time to start preparing for Summer Barbecues! Barbecues are the best, not just for the obvious, but because they bring people together. Don’t believe me? Just try going to any barbecue this summer and not leaving with about 15 new friends. Either way, to get people coming to your summer barbecues more often, you have to crank out some of the best food. Chili is one of the best dishes to add flavor to any meal.
It may not seem likely that chili could bring life into any party, but that may be because you aren’t making the best chili there is to offer. Who knows, maybe after reading this article you’ll even be able to win one of those chili competitions a lot of towns host during the summer months? Even if that’s not your speed, there are some recipes for any gathering you host, no matter how small.
Angela Sellers is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. Sellers has been the Food Specialist for Hormel Foods Corporation since March 2015, so she knows a thing or two about making good chili. Hormel is one of the leading companies in the world for chili, and their products always give your chili the perfect touch. Sellers says, ““The great thing about chili is you can customize it, and you can always add new things.”
She is right about that. In fact, the ways you choose to enjoy your chili may have a lot more to do with your geographic location than you would think. Sellers explains, “People are extremely passionate about their chili, and depending on where you are in the country kind of determines what you are having it with.” That may seem surprising, but results show that people across the country tend to enjoy their chili’s in ways that are specific to their state.
For instance, Sellers says, “In Ohio they love it over spaghetti. In the south, they love it over corn they love it over BBQ, and in Texas they eat it over corn chips. I know on the Westside they are mad about their avocados, so it just kind of depends where you are. I think those seasonal ingredients come into play, but there is no wrong way to enjoy your chili.” Odds are you know exactly what she’s talking about.
If you’re looking to switch things up, and go against the grain when it comes to the typical ways to prepare chili, well there might be some fun ways to do that as well. “I think the sky is the limit. There are some things that might sound a little bit quirky, like beer or chocolate, or things like that, but I say just try it. I think it adds to the depth of flavor in your recipe,” Sellers says.
For those of you with dietary restrictions, don’t fear, because there are plenty of ways for you to enjoy a nice bowl of chili this summer to according to Sellers, “What I always encourage people to do is make sure you read your labels. If you are for instance, gluten free, Hormel does offer 17 different varieties of Chili. Two of those are all natural products which are completely gluten free, but we offer a Turkey Chili, a chicken chili, a vegetarian option, so there is an option for everyone.”
Chili nation is no joke. Check out two exclusive Hormel recipes below, and go to WeAreChiliNation.com for more.
3 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
⅓ cup finely chopped red or white onion
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
About 12 cups corn tortilla chips
1 (15 ounce) can HORMEL® Chili with Beans
1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced ripe olives, coarsely chopped, if desired
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded colby or Monterey jack cheese
1 to 2 fresh jalapeño chilies, thinly sliced, if desired
1. Heat oven to 375˚F. In bowl, mix together tomatoes, onion and cilantro. Squeeze lime into the tomato mixture and toss until blended.
2. Arrange a single layer of chips on heatproof platter or baking sheet. Top with spoonfuls of chili, tomato mixture, olives and cheese. Add jalapeño slices, if desired. Repeat layers until all the ingredients are used.
3. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese is completely melted. Serve nachos hot.
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup milk
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (15-ounce) can HORMEL® Chili No Beans, heated
1 cup shredded lettuce
½ cup sliced green onions
½ cup sliced ripe olives
½ cup chopped tomato
Crackers or chips, if desired
1. In small bowl, blend together cream cheese, milk and 2 cups shredded cheese. Spread mixture onto large serving platter.
2. Spoon warm chili over cheese layer. Continue to layer remaining ingredients (lettuce, remaining cheese, onions, olives and tomatoes). Serve with crackers or chips for dipping.
Feature Images: Martjin van Exjel