When stepping into a Mexican restaurant, especially those in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, you are likely to encounter the common question, “Red or green?” This refers to the type of chili sauce you would prefer with your dish, and it is particularly important when it comes to the hearty and flavorful Chili Con Carne. Eddie’s Mexican Restaurant would like to highlight this flavorful debate and understand the nuances of red and green Chili Con Carne.
What Gives Chili Con Carne its Flavor?
At its core, “Chili Con Carne” translates to “chili with meat.” Historically, it is a spicy stew containing chili peppers either red or green, meat which is usually beef, and often tomatoes and beans. Though it has roots in Mexican cuisine, Chili Con Carne is especially popular in Tex-Mex cooking, with various adaptations existing across regions.
Red Chili Con Carne
Red chili sauces are typically made using dried red chilis. These are rehydrated, blended into a paste with a mix of spices, and then simmered to develop deep, rich flavors. Here is what sets the red version apart:
• Flavor Profile: Red chilis offer a robust, slightly smoky taste. They often have a deeper and more complex flavor, thanks to the drying process which concentrates the chili’s natural flavors.
• Heat Levels: While the heat can vary depending on the type of chilis used, red chili sauces can pack a punch, especially if hotter varieties are chosen.
• Common Ingredients: Aside from the chilis, red Chili Con Carne might feature ground beef or chunks of stew meat, onions, garlic, cumin, and sometimes tomatoes or even a touch of chocolate or cinnamon in some variations.
Green Chili Con Carne
Green chili sauces, on the other hand, are crafted from fresh green chilis. This version is particularly iconic in places like New Mexico, where the Hatch green chili reigns supreme.
• Flavor Profile: Green chilis provide a brighter, tangier, and more vegetable like flavor compared to their red counterparts.
• Heat Levels: Green chilis can range from mild to very hot. Again, the heat level will depend on the type of chili used. Hatch green chilis, for instance, come in both mild and hot varieties.
• Common Ingredients: Green Chili Con Carne often features pork instead of beef, though beef is still common. Alongside the chilis, you will find onions, garlic, cumin, and sometimes tomatillos or tomatoes to round out the dish.
Red or Green Sauce; Which One to Choose
When faced with the “red or green” decision, consider the following:
• Your Heat Preference: While both versions can be spicy, sometimes red chilis might be spicier due to the concentration of flavors.
• Meat Choices: If you have a preference for beef or pork, it might aid your decision, though many restaurants offer both meats with either sauce.
• Flavor Desires: If you are in the mood for a deep, smoky flavor, red might be the way to go. For a brighter, zestier experience, green could be your pick.
Authentic Mexican Cuisine in Las Vegas, Nevada (Just Minutes from Summerlin, North LV, Paradise, Lone Mountain & Henderson, NV)
And if you simply can’t decide? There is a third option “Christmas,” which means you would like both red and green chilis on your dish. It is a festive blend of both worlds! Whether you are a red chili enthusiast, or a green chili fan, Chili Con Carne is a dish that captures the heart and soul of Mexican cuisines. So the next time you are at a Mexican restaurant, embrace the “red or green” question not as a challenge, but as an invitation to a flavorful adventure. If you are craving Chili Con Carne or other tasty Mexican dishes, come on down to Eddie’s Mexican Restaurant today.