Is it chili or chile?

…that depends.  Are you talking about a soupy mixture or a fruit of the capsicum group? Since neither spelling begins with a capital “C” then it isin’t about the country.

There have been strong debates as to where the best chile’s are grown and New Mexico takes pride in being the “chile” capital.  For this distinction, in 1983, the then governor of New Mexico declared the spelling end with the letter “e” and had a full legislative body to back him. The new spelling ending in “e” became a congressional act of New Mexico.

If you sit down at a table with a bowl of soup mixture, the word ends with the last letter being an ” i “.

Chili spelled with an "i"

…but if you go to the grocery to buy the fruit itself, the word ends with an ” e “.

Chile Pods

If you were to buy the pepper in powder form, look at the spelling.  If the word ends with the letter “i” there are more ingredients included than dried peppers.  If the powder is spelled with the last letter as an “e”, it is pure, dried, ground chile pepper.

chili and chile powder

Ingredients for chili above.

Two lbs. beef, pork or in this dish, venison, cubed
One large sweet onion
1/4 cup flour
Two cloves garlic, finely chopped
One small can tomato paste
One large can diced tomatoes
28oz. can beef broth
Four Tbls. New Mexico chile powder
One Tbls. ground cumin
One tsp oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Two stalks celery including leaves, chopped
Two tsp salt
Three Tbls. apple cider vinegar
One bell pepper, seeded and chopped
One poblano chile, seeded and chopped

Cut up or chop all ingredients above. In a dutch oven, brown the meat. Remove from the oven and drain on a paper towel lined platter. Sauté the onion, bell pepper, garlic and poblano chile. Add meat back into the dutch oven. Sprinkle the flour over this.

Now, add tomato ingredients along with beef broth. Add apple cider vinegar.
Allow to simmer for one hour.

Add all the dry ingredients (spices and herb) along with the celery and allow to simmer for 1/2 hour longer.

Home Chef’s note:  I find adding herbs and spices towards the end more flavorful.  They simmer long enough but not so long they lose flavor.


About Pam Rauber

Photographer, Writer, Home Chef.

One response to “Is it chili or chile?”

  1. Anna Rebecca says :

    This looks super spicy! I love the photo of the chili peppers!

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