Cold and wet, a day for soup and chili. I had both today—what a treat. Neighbors Margaret and Dennis took me to the deli for lunch—we all had soup and shared a bottle of wine. Lovely treat at lunch. Good company, soothing food—I was a happy camper and came home to take a nice nap, while Dennis kindly included my groceries on his planned run to Central Market.
Jordan’s back had been bothering her for several days, but she finished it off with a real wrench last night and was incapacitated this morning, to put it mildly. She slowly got better as the day went on but she announced chicken soup or chili would be good for supper, and finally decided on chili. I rescheduled dinner plans and checked my pantry, pulling out two cans of diced tomatoes—only one turned out to be tomato sauce, so I had sauce aplenty but not much tomato (as I reread the recipe I realize it didn’t call for diced tomatoes and I was mentally mixing in my ubiquitous recipe for Doris’ Casserole). Chili is forgiving, and it was good anyway. Margaret and I talked about what we put in chili, and I forgot to tell her the essential ingredient: beer.
Not too many years ago, I wrote a book on chili, its history, the chili festivals—the big ones were held just last week in Terlingua, and lots of recipes ranging from the ridiculous to the really hot and complicated. I included my own recipe, which is also in my memoir/cookbook, Cooking My Way Through Life with Kids and Books.
I call my chili Judy’s mild and tentative chili—no chiles, etc. but you can embellish it as you wish. And, yes, I put beans in my chili. Heresy, I know. Here’s the basic recipe.
Judy’s mild and tentative chili
1 lb. ground beef
Enough oil to sauté onion, garlic and beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup beer
4 tsp. chili powder or to taste
½ tsp. Tabasco (optional)
2 tsp. salt
2 c. canned beans, rinsed (I prefer pintos)
Note: the diced tomatoes didn’t hurt; go ahead and add them if you wish.
Brown onion and garlic; add hamburger and cook until all pink is gone. Add everything else except beans and simmer for 60 to 90 minutes. Stir occasionally, and add more beer as needed (you’ve got that open warm beer anyway). Taste and add more chili powder as needed. Add beans and heat just before serving.
My family likes to top it with crushed saltines (in your hand, of course), chopped purple onion, and grated cheddar.
Should you be interested, here are some handy buy links (I’m operating on the theory that one should never miss an opportunity to hawk one’s books).
Texas is Chili Country, https://www.amazon.com/Texas-Chili-Country-History-Recipes/dp/089672946X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510193157&sr=1-1&keywords=Texas+is+Chili+Country+Alter&dpID=617midHQgsL&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch
Cooking My Way Through Life with Kids and Books, https://www.amazon.com/Cooking-through-Books-Stars-Texas/dp/1933337338/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510193215&sr=1-1&keywords=Cooking+My+Way+Through+Life+with+Kids+and+Books&dpID=51CkxYqaq0L&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch