Perhaps if I were a more professional food blogger, I would have tried this recipe a couple weeks ago, and then posted it last week in time for you all to decide to make it, too.
But I am not at all a professional food blogger, just someone — I expect rather like you — who sees appealing photos and links to recipes and thinks, “I could make that, too.” And so I did. With the kids. The kids declared them as delicious as the store bought kind, then noticed my expression and announced that ours are in fact better. Good kids. More
I always used to think of my family of four as kind of the difficult eaters among my broader family of thirteen. We’re the vegetarians, and my kids have been picky. But as we all– my three siblings, two siblings-in-law, niece and nephew– prepared to gather at my parents’ home this Christmas, I realized there were more dietary issues to take into account than in the past. Meal planning everywhere these days involves an increasing number of allergies, food sensitivities, and food preferences, and my family is no different. Among the thirteen of us, we currently have two on low-salt diets, four managing chronic illnesses with dietary adjustments, one vegan, five vegetarians, one on an elimination diet and one more still in the midst of figuring out what foods are causing new sensitivities.
Every Thanksgiving, I think, “Maybe I’ll make a different kind of roll this year. Maybe sweet potato. Or even Parker House. I don’t need so many dozens of rolls.” And every year, I dig up the recipe for my mom’s wheat germ rolls and every year, I am glad that I do. We have no trouble polishing off the whole batch before Thanksgiving weekend ends, one of the boys always helps me stir and knead and shape, and this year, Eli gratified us all by inhaling deeply over the bread basket as we gathered for our feast and sighing, “Oh, these rolls just smell like Thanksgiving.”
It was our first weekend away from the kids in 6 years. It was love and sunshine all around.
At home with my parents, the kids had a blast, too. We arrived home just in time to watch my childhood team win the Superbowl and eat big bowls of my mother’s chili, with cornbread cooked by Ella.
And that would have been the end of it, except yesterday, Ella typed up a poem about that chili. She claims the chili is better than mine, which, being meticulously prepared from Pierre Franey’s recipe, I freely admit that it was is. I have permission to quote you only a few lines:
from How do I Love Thee?
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I remember the last time I saw you. The crumbles of cornbread resting upon your warm top. The delicious steam rising up and the tasty chunks of meat swirling at your warm surface. You look like heaven in a bowl.//
I remember the last time I smelled you. The chili powder going up my nose. The beans in the broth and the fire on the stove….//
I remember the last time I tasted you. Your freshly baked cornbread and the delicious sauce in my mouth. I loved your black beans. You taste like the best meal in the world.
I dream of the next time we will be together. I love you, chili, for it is you who makes dinner the best meal of the day.
Cornbreads + flags by Ella
The full recipe is yours for the asking:
Chili a la Pierre Franey, from 60-Minute Gourment
1 lb very lean coarsely ground pork
1 lb very lean coarsely ground beef
1 T olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 T finely minced garlic
1 T crumbled dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 t ground cumin
3 cups tomatoes with tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
1 cup water
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 t dried hot re d pepper flakes
2 cups drained kidney beans
Sour cream as garnish, optional
Lime wedges as garnish, optional
If possible, have the pork and beef ground together coarsely.
Heat the oil in a large heavy kettle and add the meat. Cook, chipping down and stirring with the side of a heavy metal kitchen spoon to break up the lumps.
Add the onions, green pepper, celery, garlic, oregano, bay leaves and cumin. Stir to blend well.
Add the tomatoes, broth, water, salt and pepper to taste, and add the red pepper flakes. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Add the beans and cook 10 minutes longer. Serve in hot bowls with a doll0p of sour cream and lime wedges, if desired.