Wednesday, January 7

Congressional Chili

So the State Legislature is in session and Taylor is sick. Perfect time to make Chili. According to my research, Former House Representative Jake Pickle, who represented Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives for almost 30 years started making venison chili and giving it away in the cafeteria while the Legislature was in session. It became very popular and so demanded that the cafeteria asked him to stop giving it away because no one was actually buying things on the menu. This became a favorite of President LBJ, beginning, according to Wikipedia, when he was Senate Majority Leader. Lady Bird had the recipe printed out on cards and mailed it out when it became so requested from the White House. Furthermore, the Texas Chili Parlor is a popular eatery for capitol workers AND chili con carne is Texas' national dish.

That highly extensive five minutes of research done to figure out why this would be called Congressional Chili by the Junior League of Houston's new cook book entitled Peace Meals, which was featured in my recent edition of House Beautiful. I halved this recipe and didn't have mole. The only thing I'd change is cutting the peppers a bit smaller. It was really good!

Congressional Chili

adapted from Peace Meals: JL of Houston
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
4 cloves garlic, pressed
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 pounds ground beef, preferably sirloin
16 ounces canned tomato sauce
3 tablespoons prepared red mole ( I did not use this but will try it next time)
3 tablespoons chili powder
3 cups water
32 ounces canned kidney beans
Shredded cheddar cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the peppers begin to soften. Perhaps add garlic closer to the end or take care to stir frequently so that garlic does not burn to the bottom of the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Brown the beef in a soup pot; drain off any excess fat. Add half of the sautéed onion-pepper mixture to the meat. Stir in the tomato sauce, mole, chili powder, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Adjust the seasonings by adding additional salt, pepper, mole, or chili powder. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the beans and the remaining half of the onion-pepper mixture; cook for 15 minutes. Serve topped with cheese and onions.

I was skeptical because it was chunky but I thought it was really good! I'd recommend being sure the peppers are really soft when you're sauteeing them so that they only provide flavor not a surprising crunch. As you can see, Taylor endorses it.


  1. I like the venison option. Get more of ours. PAPPY

  2. Please make some more!! Dad ate all that you brought here. I didn't get a bite of it and I'd like to taste it next time you make it!!

  3. Erin,
    Yummy!!! LOVE the monogram on your page!!!!!

  4. Wow! It must have been good, Erin; your dad ate it all and left none for your mom! I've got to try this! Your grandpa will enjoy it, too; I'm sure.