A few weeks ago, Kory and flew to Los Angeles to attend the Annie Awards, for which he was a judge. I wore shoes with feathers. Kory wore a really nice suit.
We had a fancy hotel room, cocktails, a terrific lunch date, Korean food at the best Korean spa in town, picadillo at Mercedes Grill, drinks with my best friend from grad school at a new lounge, owned by someone we watch on TV.
It was our first weekend away from the kids in 6 years. It was love and sunshine all around.
At home with my parents, the kids had a blast, too. We arrived home just in time to watch my childhood team win the Superbowl and eat big bowls of my mother’s chili, with cornbread cooked by Ella.
And that would have been the end of it, except yesterday, Ella typed up a poem about that chili. She claims the chili is better than mine, which, being meticulously prepared from Pierre Franey’s recipe, I freely admit that it was is. I have permission to quote you only a few lines:
from How do I Love Thee?
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I remember the last time I saw you. The crumbles of cornbread resting upon your warm top. The delicious steam rising up and the tasty chunks of meat swirling at your warm surface. You look like heaven in a bowl.//
I remember the last time I smelled you. The chili powder going up my nose. The beans in the broth and the fire on the stove….//
I remember the last time I tasted you. Your freshly baked cornbread and the delicious sauce in my mouth. I loved your black beans. You taste like the best meal in the world.
I dream of the next time we will be together. I love you, chili, for it is you who makes dinner the best meal of the day.
Cornbreads + flags by Ella
The full recipe is yours for the asking:
Chili a la Pierre Franey, from 60-Minute Gourment
- 1 lb very lean coarsely ground pork
- 1 lb very lean coarsely ground beef
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- 1 cup finely chopped green pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 T finely minced garlic
- 1 T crumbled dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 t ground cumin
- 3 cups tomatoes with tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 cup water
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 t dried hot re d pepper flakes
- 2 cups drained kidney beans
- Sour cream as garnish, optional
- Lime wedges as garnish, optional
- If possible, have the pork and beef ground together coarsely.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy kettle and add the meat. Cook, chipping down and stirring with the side of a heavy metal kitchen spoon to break up the lumps.
- Add the onions, green pepper, celery, garlic, oregano, bay leaves and cumin. Stir to blend well.
- Add the tomatoes, broth, water, salt and pepper to taste, and add the red pepper flakes. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Add the beans and cook 10 minutes longer. Serve in hot bowls with a doll0p of sour cream and lime wedges, if desired.