Please help. I can't fight the craving...

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matty373
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2007/12/20 13:57:41 (permalink)

Please help. I can't fight the craving...

Hello. My first post. What an interesting site.

I need help, and from what I can tell, Bushie might be able to provide it. I am from southwest Missouri (now living in southern Indiana) and I have been craving Casper's chili. For those unfamiliar, Casper's is a tiny chili dive in Springfield, Mo. It is in a quonset hut close to downtown and while purists wouldn't consider it chili, if you are ever anywhere near it, do yourself a favor and go there. I recommend the frito pie, but it is all good. I feel warm and bloated just thinking about it.

Back to the chili. Casper's opened sometime around 1910 and the same family owned it until a few years ago. The recipe is a closely guarded secret that only a few people know. The only thing they have said is that it doesn't have onions or tomatoes. For the life of me, I can't figure out how they make it without tomatoes.

If anyone here has tried it (I know Bushie has because I searched for it and he mentioned it) please help me figure out the recipe. If you haven't tried it, maybe you have heard of something similar.

Here is a link to some photo's of the place. Trust me, it is even weirder than it looks.

chaimelle.blogspot.com/2007/01/caspers-restaurant-in-downtown.html

Thanks for any help.
#1

32 Replies Related Threads

    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 14:30:08 (permalink)
    I can't recall ever having chili that was made with tomatoes.

    Oh, and welcome to Roadfood.
    #2
    matty373
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 16:03:37 (permalink)
    You may be on to something, Michael. I have done some searching through the recipes here and have found some (not many) that don't have tomatoes. Most of them have Texas in the name and I remember as a kid, we went to a tex/mex place and I ALWAYS had the chili. I hadn't thought of that place in years, but the chili there was similar to Casper's. Both used ground beef, though, and both were really red, which is why the assumption of tomatoes. If anyone has a good recipe that calls for ground beef but no tomatoes, I would be interested in trying it. Thanks.
    #3
    Big_g
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 16:15:37 (permalink)
    Mrs Johnson used to serve this one.....
    Pedernales River Chili

    4 pounds coarsely ground beef (chili-grind)
    1 large chopped onion
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    6 teaspoons chili powder
    2 (16-ounce) cans tomatoes
    Salt to taste
    2 cups hot water

    In a large frying pan, brown meat with onion and garlic until meat is lightly browned; transfer ingredients to a large kettle.

    Add oregano, cumin, chili powder, tomatoes, salt, and hot water. Bring just to a boil; lower heat and simmer, covered, for approximately 1 hour. Remove from heat. Skim off grease and serve.

    Serves 12.

    We've made it a few times and it is pretty tasty...I like it with a chub of sausage cooked in with the ground beef..
    #4
    Big_g
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 16:20:30 (permalink)
    Texas "Bowl of Red."

    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 large onions, coarsely chopped
    5 cloves garlic, crushed
    2 to 2 1/2 pounds lean boneless beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    3 tablespoons Gebhardt chili powder
    1 tablespoon paprika
    1 teaspoon crushed dried hot peppers
    2 teaspoons cumin
    2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
    1 cup hot water
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 to 2 tablespoons Masa Harina

    In a large Dutch oven heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until very lightly browned.

    Add the beef cubes in several batches and brown on all sides. When all the beef is browned, add all remaining ingredients except the Masa Harina. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat for 3 to 4 hours until the meat is very tender. If too much of the liquid cooks away, add some more hot water during the cooking. Adjust salt and chili powder, adding more to taste if desired.

    To thicken the chili, mix the Masa Harina with a little cold water, then add this to the chili while it is still simmering. Cook the chili 10 to 15 minutes longer.

    Serve the chili in bowls with saltines and cooked pinto beans on the side.

    and it looks kinda like this....
    #5
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 16:38:48 (permalink)
    Now that's chili!
    #6
    matty373
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 17:01:20 (permalink)
    Wow, that looks good. If that is one's idea of chili, I can understand why beans would seem out of place. I used to eat at a Mexican place that had chile de puerco. It looked almost exactly like that, but of course had pork. Man, was it good. I am starting to think that I have been a texas chili man all along and didn'g realize it. I will try one of the recipes this weekend, probably the texas red.
    #7
    Big_g
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 17:10:01 (permalink)
    When I do the TX Red, I will dredge the cubed beef in some seasoned flour and then brown it...it also is tasty with that chub of spicy sausage cooked into it. And I'll simmer the whole thing till the meat is close to falling apart..just add a little water or some broth to it to keep the consistancy you want. Fix up a skillet of cornbread pop a cool one and enjoy
    #8
    Michael Stern
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 17:18:26 (permalink)
    Here's the bowl of red I crave right now, from the Little Diner in Canutillo, TX. It is chili con carne and not much else:

    #9
    Big_g
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 17:23:12 (permalink)
    Yum!
    #10
    Bushie
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 17:40:03 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by matty373

    Hello. My first post. What an interesting site.

    I need help, and from what I can tell, Bushie might be able to provide it. I am from southwest Missouri (now living in southern Indiana) and I have been craving Casper's chili. For those unfamiliar, Casper's is a tiny chili dive in Springfield, Mo. It is in a quonset hut close to downtown and while purists wouldn't consider it chili, if you are ever anywhere near it, do yourself a favor and go there. I recommend the frito pie, but it is all good. I feel warm and bloated just thinking about it.

    Back to the chili. Casper's opened sometime around 1910 and the same family owned it until a few years ago. The recipe is a closely guarded secret that only a few people know. The only thing they have said is that it doesn't have onions or tomatoes. For the life of me, I can't figure out how they make it without tomatoes.

    If anyone here has tried it (I know Bushie has because I searched for it and he mentioned it) please help me figure out the recipe. If you haven't tried it, maybe you have heard of something similar.

    Here is a link to some photo's of the place. Trust me, it is even weirder than it looks.

    chaimelle.blogspot.com/2007/01/caspers-restaurant-in-downtown.html

    Thanks for any help.



    I'm glad I stopped by today. I've been eating Casper's chili since I was a kid. My parents used to go to Casper's before I was born.

    When I first went there, it was in a quonset hut on south Glenstone.

    I don't know of any recipes available, but you'll need a midwestern chili recipe, not a Texas recipe. I'll do some looking around, and if I find one that sounds similar, I'll post it.

    Thanks for the memory.
    #11
    matty373
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 17:56:35 (permalink)
    Man, Michael, that looks even better than the first picture. I don't suppose you have that recipe, do you? I am curious on a couple of things: What cut of beef is the best for this and what in the heck is a chub of sausage? Would you slice the sausage or crumble it or neither?

    Bushie- Those pictures I posted the link to had my mouth watering. You are probably right about the midwestern chili recipe, but I haven't found any that don't have tomatoes.

    #12
    lynndunham
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 18:16:57 (permalink)
    I just found this recipe on Cooks.com. Could this be it?

    TEXAS CHILI (NO ONION OR TOMATO)

    1 lb. ground or dried beef
    1/4 lb. ground beef suet
    2 dried sweet peppers
    1 tsp. ground cumin
    3 lg. garlic cloves
    1 tsp. white green pepper
    1 tbsp. chili powder
    5 chili tepinos (to taste)
    Can of brown chili beans

    Saute beef until brown, drain excess fat then add suet and cook slowly. Add sweet peppers, cumin, garlic, pepper, chili powder and chili peppers, then add water to cover and cook slowly for 2 to 3 hours. Add more water then simmer until serving. Heat chili beans in separate pan and serve with chili in large soup bowls. Do not cook beans with the chili. Sprinkle each serving with fine diced red onions or green onions. Serve with crackers.
    #13
    rouxdog
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 18:43:51 (permalink)
    I think I've eaten about every chili concoction mentioned, loved em all!
    Matty, do a search for Penderyspices.com. They have packaged dry chili mixes from some of the big winners at the annual Terlingua, Tx. CASA chili cookoff event. Easy to follow directions.
    #14
    rouxdog
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 19:00:59 (permalink)
    Matty, make that CASI (chili appreciation society international)Go to penderys.com, p. 51 of their catalog. I really am stuck on Randy Moore's mix. It never fails. Use either coarse ground beef or cubed.Seems theres a chili establishment in S. Illinois, Collinsville, I'm not sure? I've heard thats pretty good canned stuff. Anyone know?
    #15
    matty373
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 20:03:10 (permalink)
    Thanks for the tip. I will order some stuff from penderys. Any other suggestions for mixes? I like it hot.
    #16
    Big_g
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 21:17:42 (permalink)
    Matty, a chub is one of those plastic tubes from the grocery store. I've also cubed some pork butt and added it to my cubed chuck for chili, but I do like the flavor sausage adds. If you can get some chorizo (mexican sausage)it takes it up a notch.
    #17
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 21:19:19 (permalink)
    I prefer venison, myself.
    #18
    thediningroom
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 21:26:16 (permalink)
    Laugh all you want, but Wendy's has the best chili in the world, the trick is to order sour cream and chopped onions and some extra powered chili hot sauce, all available on request. I have been to all kinds of Chili Cook offs in the Chili Capital of the world, Michigan, and it's just as good on a regular basis. Although I agree with previous posts, venision chili kicks butt! Thanks.
    #19
    saps
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 21:29:15 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by thediningroom

    Laugh all you want, but Wendy's has the best chili in the world, the trick is to order sour cream and chopped onions and some extra powered chili hot sauce, all available on request. I have been to all kinds of Chili Cook offs in the Chili Capital of the world, Michigan, and it's just as good on a regular basis. Although I agree with previous posts, venision chili kicks butt! Thanks.


    OK, but it's going to be a lot of laughing.
    #20
    Bushie
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 21:41:09 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by matty373

    Thanks for the tip. I will order some stuff from penderys. Any other suggestions for mixes? I like it hot.


    I order from Pendery's. It's "good spices".

    One of the best old standards, frankly, is the Williams mix sold in the little packets. That's what we always used at home when I was a kid, and it's actually better than stuff like Wick Fowler's.

    Add cayenne to make it hot without affecting the flavor.
    #21
    Bushie
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 21:48:58 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lynndunham

    I just found this recipe on Cooks.com. Could this be it?

    TEXAS CHILI (NO ONION OR TOMATO)

    1 lb. ground or dried beef
    1/4 lb. ground beef suet
    2 dried sweet peppers
    1 tsp. ground cumin
    3 lg. garlic cloves
    1 tsp. white green pepper
    1 tbsp. chili powder
    5 chili tepinos (to taste)
    Can of brown chili beans

    Saute beef until brown, drain excess fat then add suet and cook slowly. Add sweet peppers, cumin, garlic, pepper, chili powder and chili peppers, then add water to cover and cook slowly for 2 to 3 hours. Add more water then simmer until serving. Heat chili beans in separate pan and serve with chili in large soup bowls. Do not cook beans with the chili. Sprinkle each serving with fine diced red onions or green onions. Serve with crackers.



    That's not Casper's, but it looks like a darn good recipe. That's very similar to what I make as an "eatin' chili" down here in Round Rock.

    The thing that makes Casper's great is the "gravy" that the meat and beans are swimming in. It's thick enough to hold things together, yet fluid enough to allow crumbled crackers to be accepted. The flavor is beef and chili spices.

    The most known chili I can compare it to is Steak n' Shake, but it's an insult to compare the two in public.

    Casper's definitely deserves a review on this site, and the next time I'm up in Springfield, if I remember my camera, I'll attempt such.
    #22
    matty373
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/20 22:36:35 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Bushie



    Casper's definitely deserves a review on this site, and the next time I'm up in Springfield, if I remember my camera, I'll attempt such.



    Sounds like a good idea; I will do the same. When you are there, don't forget The Pizza House on Glenstone (amazing) and possibly Pappy's.

    p.s. I wish someone would tell me how to make the chili in the second picture. otherwise, I might have to make the road trip to Canutillo, Tx. Wherever that is. Do you think the recipe is about the same as the one listed above it?
    #23
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/21 02:54:19 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by matty373

    quote:
    Originally posted by Bushie



    Casper's definitely deserves a review on this site, and the next time I'm up in Springfield, if I remember my camera, I'll attempt such.



    Sounds like a good idea; I will do the same. When you are there, don't forget The Pizza House on Glenstone (amazing) and possibly Pappy's.

    p.s. I wish someone would tell me how to make the chili in the second picture. otherwise, I might have to make the road trip to Canutillo, Tx. Wherever that is. Do you think the recipe is about the same as the one listed above it?

    What right minded chili cook would ever say his recipe was the same as someone elses?
    #24
    rouxdog
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/21 10:12:12 (permalink)
    Matty, Bushie beat me to it! Cayenne for the extra heat, I second that emotion! Also, I like mine soupy enough to lovingly welcome some crackers.
    Michael Stern, we have a little joint around here which serves a similar looking and similiarly described bowl of red. I like it occasionally. However, I prefer a more complex seasoning mixture.
    #25
    matty373
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/21 10:23:43 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bill voss


    What right minded chili cook would ever say his recipe was the same as someone elses?



    Sorry, but I am a simple minded chili cook just trying to get started and can't figure out why the chili in the second picture looks so red. I will try big g's recipe (which also looks amazing) and let you know what I think. As a mid-westerner, this isn't what I think of as chili (blasphemous, I know), but I can't wait to try it.

    p.s. Thanks for all the help.
    #26
    rouxdog
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/21 10:28:14 (permalink)
    Matty, go with Penderys! They'll make you an expert.
    #27
    matty373
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/21 10:36:35 (permalink)
    rouxdog- Thanks for the tips. I would be curious what you consider a good seasoning mix. By the way, I am no stranger to cayenne, I use it on almost everything. I have been making chili for years and it is by far my favorite food, but mine has tomatoes and ground meat and beans (lots of beans) and a whole lot of peppers. It is very soupy to start out with, but I cook it for several hours and then refrigerate overnight to serve the next day. By then it is the perfect consistency. Served with saltines (or rice or cornbread) and sliced jalapenos. Very good on a cold day, no matter what you call it.

    Oh, my pendery's catalog should be on the way soon.
    #28
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/21 10:49:06 (permalink)
    Matty, I was joking. we joke a lot around here. To me the 2nd picture looks like mostly
    saucified hot red peppers
    #29
    matty373
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    RE: Please help. I can't fight the craving... 2007/12/21 11:02:05 (permalink)
    Bill- I know you were joking. I do a lot of that as well. Don't know what saucified hot red peppers are, but I will try to find out.
    #30
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