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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Corn Bread

Quick to make and soooo good! Make it instead of popcorn for movie night, serve with chili, soups, stews or toasted for breakfast, lunch or snacks. A big hit with old folks, children, teens and the growing numbers of people known as “foodies.”
The following recipe gets you started into the wonderful world of corn bread; you may find yourself surprised at the long history of corn bread, from ancient, old-fashioned and traditional peoples to the settlers in native lands who expanded the uses of this amazingly simple and very nutritious staple food of the ages.

Watch how to make Corn Bread on video!

1 C. corn meal
2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 –2 C. milk or 1/2 milk 1/2 water, or part canned or powdered. (Hey you vegans! – you can replace the milk with plain water and 2 T. cooking oil.)

Mix dry ingredients together, add milk or water, stir well, adding enough liquid so that the mixture is not too thick, like a cake batter. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking pan (or pie tin) and bake 35-50 minutes until done (a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean and quite dry). Cornbread should be nicely browned on the sides, but not too brown on top. Great as is, buttered, and with jam for breakfast and snacks.

Suggestions: Add canned corn and/or jalapeño peppers for a Mexican flavor; make it Italian-style with a few finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Add soy flour to the dry mix or grated cheese to the wet for extra protein. For corn cake, increase the sugar, add an egg or two, mix in a little oil or vegetable shortening, beat the batter very well until smooth. I love using frozen berries in my corn “cake-bread” in wintertime. Tastes really great toasted and buttered; try it under poached eggs. Mini cornbread pizza slices? Garlic corn bread? – why not?
Hints: Instead of plastic, use a clean kitchen towel for wrapping leftover corn bread to keep it soft. You can make a double batch and freeze one for later. Great for pot luck suppers and a really nice gift for your favorite friends and neighbors.

Corn kernels remind me of nature’s generosity – so many seeds from one corn cob! Corn plants will grow well with good earth (shred and add last year’s stalks to the earth – nitrogen!) and some care and give you many more seeds to feed many more people. The best whole brown corn husks can be harvested and dried – pull back the husk, tie and hang until the seed kernels are hard, then twist them off and store a non-plastic bag or envelope – want to grow your own popcorn or grind your own cornmeal?
Good seed growing and saving information is easy to find – e.g., check out the Long Island Seed Project. Share and trade your seeds to keep them strong.

~ Sometimes I pray that it becomes impossible to contaminate corn;
I am careful about it. ~