Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Chili Marathon

A decade ago, my husband developed the "ultimate" chili recipe, which promptly became famous in my family. Over the years, it has gotten harder for him to make it, but everyone still wants to eat it, so I ended up taking over the cooking. This would have been simpler if I had actually had the recipe instead of just a list of ingredients and the memory of how he did it. Luckily, chili is basically a fancy stew with lots of chili powder in it, so I have been able to fake it well enough that only my kids know that the cook has changed. This year, my mom asked for freezable 2-person batches of chili for Christmas, so someone had to make it. Which means me.

Even a fancy stew takes time, half a day for this recipe. I figure that if I'm going to put that much time into one dish, I will make the most of it - four batches worth. Luckily, my son tried making beer last summer, so we have a huge stainless steel that worked perfectly (although I still need to get the bottom completely clean). So I spent most of today making chili: browning the pork and beef, peeling tomatoes, dicing onions and more onions, seeding and mincing four different types of peppers, sauteeing the vegetables, and simmering the whole mess all afternoon. I got some help on the tomatoes from my daughter, but the peppers were mine to deal with; I have washed my hands repeatedly, but I can still feel the pepper oil on my skn. The good news is that the chili smells wonderful and I have plenty to put in the freezer for this winter, even after saving some for my parents and my father-in-law.

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