Bex’s Chili with Beef, Beans & Hominy
- December 2021
- By Bex Streeper
- Recipe from Mexico
This chili with two kinds of beef is on repeat request in the home of Bex Streeper, one of our favorite cooks of Puerto Rican–Mexican traditional dishes. What makes it different from any other chili recipe submitted to our Familia Kitchen’s Chile con Carne Recipe Contest is its use of two kinds of beans (surely breaking all kinds of laws in Texas) and, most surprising, hominy!
”Every fall, my family requests this chili weekly, on what we call our Thursday chili nights,” says Bex, who grew up in Chicago in a Puerto Rican-Polish family and married into a family with a Mexican heritage. Her cooking marries the traditions of both destinations, deliciosamente.
”I have spent years crafting my chili con carne recipe,” says Bex. ”Growing up in Chicago, there were so many kinds of Midwest chilis, but they never made an appearance in our household. It wasn’t until I moved to Iowa that I experienced obsession with chili. There are countless chili cookoffs, where locals showcase their best chili recipes, which are often chock full of tomatoes, beans, celery, and maybe some chili powder. This is the genesis of my quest to make great chili con carne.”
The First Inspiration of Bex’s Chili
Bex’s chili recipe is inspired by the Mexican family food traditions of her mejor amiga growing up. ”I gained my appreciation and love of authentic Mexican cuisine from my high school bestie’s mom, Candy Elliott. Candy learned to make authentic Mexican comida from her suegra in Zacatecas, Mexico.”
That Zacatecan cooking knowledge made its way into Bex’s kitchens in Chicago and now Iowa. ”She introduced me to some of my favorite dishes such as pozole and enchiladas. That led to the base of my chile recipe, my salsa roja, which I make the traditional way. I toast chiles and spices on my comal.”
For the next phase of Bex’s chili education, she hit the books. ”I began researching the history of chili. I read about the famed San Antonio chili queens, the Aztecs, jailhouse chili, and of course cowboys. I devoured everything I could find regarding its history. I brought this research forward into this recipe. It includes using nuggets similarly to how cowboys used what was left of their coffee in their chili, as well as chunks of beef.”
Bex did make one major change—which her family loves. ”My chili evolved away from the Texas tradition of no beans. I started adding beans and hominy—which gives my recipe a stick-to-your-ribs feeling!”
When ready to eat, don’t forget the garnishes, she says. “I normally serve this chile with my homemade corn muffins and queso for topping.”
For more of Bex’s Mexican-inspired recipes, check out her sopes with carne asada with 3 types of salsa, ”shrimp ceviche,” and her guacamole with pico de gallo.
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