(Family Features) - Nothing can warm you up from the inside out quite like a bowl of hot chili. Whether you like yours with beans or without, five-alarm hot or kid-friendly mild, chili is a satisfying meal on any chilly day.
There are many legends and tales about where chili originated but everyone agrees that it's a uniquely America dish. Across the country, chili has always been a filling, warm meal created by mixing in regional vegetables and beans with meat and spices to give the dish robust flavor.
That customizable quality of chili still exists today. Chili cook-offs are common across the U.S. and many Americans take pride in their family's secret chili recipe.
"As you travel from East to West and everywhere in between, you'll notice significant differences in the way people prepare chili," said Marty Wolesky, chili expert at Hormel Foods. "Each region of the country has developed its own unique recipe for a perfect bowl of chili."
Wolesky describes some of the regional differences - see where your taste fits in:
- The south and southwest are known for their bold flavors, and out West they like it even hotter and spicier. For example, Texas chili is typically very spicy and, surprisingly, never has beans. In New Mexico, chili recipes center on the vegetables and chili peppers for lots of spice.
- In New England, chili is mild and more stew-like than its hot southern counterpart and usually includes lots of beans and stewed tomatoes for subtle flavor. You might even find clam chili in this region!
- Midwestern chili is widely varied. Some recipes call for a lot of spice and chili peppers while others focus on the meat and beans. Cincinnati chili has carved a unique name for itself with a mix of spices, served over a mound of spaghetti, and then topped with chopped onions, red kidney beans, shredded cheese and oyster crackers.
With a rich history of making quality chili, Hormel Foods honors its heritage with new Hormel Chili Master chili. With seasoned slow-cooked tomatoes, a variety of beans and flavorful beef and chicken - this isn't your standard chili. Hormel Chili Master is packaged in a glass jar so you can see the goodness that's inside. All you have to do is just heat and enjoy. Pair up one of the six new varieties, like Chipotle Chicken, White Chicken and Roasted Tomato, with your favorite chili side dish or topping for a complete, satisfying weeknight dinner.
Chili Topping Ideas:
- Whole grain crackers: crumbled on top or stacked up on the side
- minced white onion
- chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- diced avocado
- cornbread: white, yellow or jalapeno
- sour cream
- And, of course, your favorite shredded cheese
For more about Hormel Chili Master chili, visit www.HormelFoods.com/ChiliMaster.