Gramma Willi’s Chili

This is one recipe that I really love. Friends and family are always asking me to make it for big and small gatherings. Easy on the budget and packed with goodness, it’s best when made with love, tastes even better the next day and it freezes well. A special treat served with Corn Bread or Bannock.

2 C. dried kidney beans (substitute pinto, romano, Jacob’s cattle or other big beans, or mix 3 or 4 together)

water

1 or 2 onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic (or 2 tsp. Garlic powder)

oil or fat for frying

1/2 – 1 pound ground beef (or use TVP – see below)

3-4 T. chili powder

2-3 T. cumin

1 T. dried coriander (cilantro), or 1/2 C. fresh

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional, add 2 or 3 times as much for a hot, spicy chili)

dash of cinnamon

large can crushed tomatoes (2 1/2 cups fresh)

1 tsp. brown sugar

2 T. vinegar (white, red wine, apple cider or balsamic)

small can peaches in light syrup (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Soak the beans in water about 2-3 inches above the beans in a non-metal bowl for 6-8 hours or overnight. Discard the soaking water, add beans to a large pot and cover with fresh water an inch or two above the beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the beans are soft (1 1/2 to 3 hours).

Cook the ground beef (or dry fry the TVP) until nicely browned and crumbled, set aside. Sauté the onions in a little oil until soft, then add cooked beef, garlic and spices and cook covered, for 5 more minutes. Add the meat mixture, tomatoes, brown sugar, vinegar and peaches to the beans and stir well. Cover and simmer over low heat for at least an hour to let the flavors blend, stirring occasionally to prevent burning; this is a good recipe to cook all day in a slow cooker or in the oven. Serve over rice.

Suggestions: Vegetarians and Vegans can substitute TVP dry-roasted with cumin for the ground meat to give a meaty texture and lots more protein. Offer crushed red pepper or Tabasco sauce at the table for people who like hot chili.

Hints: The beans will be more digestible if you add a piece of seaweed (kombu or dulse) to the beans while they cook, or you can add 1/2 tsp. baking soda to the soaking water to make the beans less “gassy”.

Time saver: For a quick chili, use 2 or 3 large cans of cooked kidney beans.

Note: Because this is such a good winter meal, we planned to make you a video of this recipe not too long ago when Brian and I were both in Toronto… didn’t work out. We will be getting to that asap, so stay tuned!

Much love, All My Relations, Gramma Willi

Good Clean Food For Everyone!

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Corned Beef and Cabbage

Easy to make, Corned Beef and Cabbage is not only a gourmet treat, but is an honored tradition here in the Canadian Maritimes. We call it “boiled dinner” and substitute pickled pork hocks, necks or ribs, fresh beef or fresh fish for the corned beef. Honorable mention goes out to Dave Osborne, who requested this recipe from Gramma Willi. NOT for the cholesterol-shy!

1-2 pound piece of corned beef

4-5 liters of Water

2-3 lbs. potatoes, scrubbed or peeled, chopped into bite size pieces

3-5 large carrots, peeled and sliced into thick chunks

1 medium sized turnip, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces

1 medium cabbage, cored and cut into 8 equal portions

Fill a large cooking pot with water, add the corned beef, bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for an hour or two, until the meat is pretty much cooked. Cut the meat into nice sized chunks and return to the cooking water.

Add the carrots, turnip and potatoes, add water to cover if necessary. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to medium-low and cook 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are almost tender. Add the cabbage over top of everything, bring to a boil, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until the cabbage is done. This is a delicious, satisfying and hearty meal served with home made bannock or corn bread.

Tip: If you’re making a fish boiled dinner, cook the vegetables first (I’d leave out the cabbage); add the fish during the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking.

Money-Saving Hint: cut-price smoked meat or pastrami end-cuts work very well with this recipe and really save money! Cook them for a shorter time by adding all the meat and vegetables at once, bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour.

Bread – Bannock

Baked Bannock

This is our family recipe, rooted in the traditions of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It’s easy to make and delicious …a good reason to keep a bag of flour in the cupboard. Why run to the store for bread?

3 C. Flour
2 T. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/4 tsp. Salt (or to taste)
2 T. Oil or shortening
2/3-1 C. Water

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Stir well with a fork or sift dry ingredients together. If using shortening, cut it well into the flour mixture. Make a well in the center of the bowl, add water (and oil), mix quickly to get a firm, but not too dry consistency. Pour into a greased pie plate or 9 x 9 in. baking pan (glass is best). Bake 25-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean and dry. Serve warm with butter or margarine, jam, peanut butter. Enjoy!

Options: Use unbleached flour, half & half whole wheat and white flour, bran. Substituting 1/4 C. soy flour and adding milk powder adds extra protein.
Add 1/2 C. sugar to mix and: On top of half the batter, add any of the following fruits: blueberries, apples, strawberries – sprinkle 1/2 C. sugar over fruit. Cover with rest of batter and bake.
Mix raisins into dry mix and drop biscuit-size spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet – a great favorite with kids for breakfast and snacks!

Suggestions: Warm leftover bannock in a slightly damp kitchen towel, paper bag or paper towels in the microwave for 2 minutes or for 10 minutes in a low oven.