Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chili for the Alabama Cold




When I first moved here I thought it was easy to tell who was a native and who had migrated from cooler climates. When the temperature dipped below 50, locals would break out their gortex.  I would surreptitiously roll my eyes and continued on in T-shirts and flip-flops. Of course, before we left New Jersey, I thought Alabama shared the same coordinates as Miami...






But the more time I spend here the colder it seems to get.
It was really cold today.
Not New England cold like I used to be used to
No, I mean Alabama cold.







Definition:  Although it reads 45 degrees on the thermometer which your Northern brain interprets as 'not cold', because water hasn't frozen and you're not chipping away at the ice on your windshield,  your body is screaming at you to hike up the thermostat and put a on a sweater already!





It now seems my Southern migration has reset my inner thermostat and I find myself, with chilled fingers tapping at the keyboard, in a turtleneck and warm cozy sweater.
But I'm still wearing flip-flops







Chili

1 lb ground meat (I like ground sirloin)
dried red beans
1 onion, minced
1 chopped pepper
packet of chili seasoning
tomato sauce
cayenne
chili powder
cashews

I first soak the beans in water. Then brown the ground meat, add onion and pepper. Once that looks good and toasty I add the drain beans and the packet of chili seasoning. {Just an aside:I have yet to find one that is really good..if you have any recommendations please let me know} and tomato sauce, cayenne and chili powder as you like it. {My kids won't touch this so I go crazy here}
Turn up the heat until it starts to bubble, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for a while...30 minutes? 3 hours? Whatever. It gets better over time. I usually add some water if it looks too thick or smells like it's burning.
Top it off with a sprinkling of chopped cashews, grab some crusty french bread and dig in.
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