Sunday, May 9, 2010


Enduring childhood memories come in a variety of forms.  One of them for me revolves around my Grandma Harvey’s chili.  Her chili is among my earliest food memories, warming my heart and my belly even today.  In fact, as I write this, there’s a pot simmering on the stove, filling the early, Saturday morning air with the savory smell of my childhood.

I remember eating this chili at my grandparent’s house, and more often, at home as I grew up.  My mom or dad would make a large pot using my grandmother’s recipe, we’d have it for dinner that night.  The rest would end up divided up, leaving some in a pot in the refrigerator for a few upcoming lunches; the rest going into other single serving sized containers in the freezer to enjoy in the weeks to come.
I still have that original recipe, but have modified it to suit my own tastes.  If you like chili, feel free to give this basic chili recipe a try, and modify it for yourself.  Serve up a generous bowl with a side of fresh, crusty bread, then sit down and enjoy.
JP’s Basic Chili
1 lb ground beef or bison - brown in a little oil
1 large onion - chopped
1 green, 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper - chopped
3 red chili peppers - chopped
4-5 Tbs Chili Powder (to taste)
3 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic - crushed
1 Tbs oregano
1 Tbs caraway seed
1 can tomato soup + 1 can tomato juice (same size)
2 cans of beans for chili
Salt to taste
- Saute the beef, onion; green, red and yellow bell peppers in oil for a few minutes
- Add the seasonings, chili peppers, tomato soup and tomato juice
- Simmer for 45 minutes uncovered (You may have to add a little more tomato juice.)
- Add the beans - don’t drain them, just pour it all into the pot
- Simmer until heated through and serve with a little shredded cheddar on top

So the family tradition continues as I cook the family chili and raise my son on one of the same foods I fondly remember from my own youth.  As it is with me, hopefully it’s one of the smells and tastes Paul will always identify with growing up, and with me.  By extension, something as simple as chili will also serve to connect him to the stories and lives of his grandparents and great grandparents.
It’s great to be a dad!

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