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Chili a great treat even after Halloween

November 2, 2010
By Wendy Monro

Each year, my mom's friend, Debbie, makes chili for the parents on Halloween. When the neighborhood kids are trick or treating and arrive at her door, she hands the parents a nice hot bowl of chili and a slice of corn bread. It makes the rest of the walk around the neighborhood so much nicer. It is so sweet how she considers the parents.

This year, we were nowhere near Debbie's house for Halloween. So, I decided to make the chili and corn bread myself. We actually ended up having a completely Wild West Halloween. I put the chili ingredients all together in the morning; however, it was such a beautiful day, we decided to head outdoors.

We spent the afternoon at a place called Bonnie Springs, which is a fun old fashioned Wild West town. As we drove in, we noticed some donkeys off to the side of the road. I rolled down my window to take a picture. One donkey started walking towards us. I thought it was great and got some more amazing shots. Next thing I knew, his head was all of the way into the car. I jumped onto Claud's lap (he was in the driver's seat) and screamed. Another donkey joined him.

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A hot bowl of chili with a chunk of corn bread is a great way to warm up on a cold day.

They're cute from a distance; but, I didn't want them coming home with us. Claud kept telling me not to worry. They made me nervous. It seemed strange that they were this friendly. We eventually got the donkeys to remove their heads from the passenger side of the car and carried on to the town.

We had a wonderful time at Bonnie Springs. We saw a shoot 'em up show. We walked through a petting zoo. We fed ducks and swans. We went on a train ride. Claud was the prosecutor in a hanging trial. We watched a drama in an old saloon. That's when I had a couple of glasses of wine.

On our way home, I saw the donkeys again. This time, I was brave (wine can do that to me) and asked Claud to pull the car over. I jumped out and told the kids, "This time, I will ride one of these babies." I walked up to them again. They were very friendly; but, I could tell they weren't about to let me leap on top of any one of them. Oh well. We all gave them a good pet and went home to prepare for the Halloween festivities.

Fact Box


Serves: 8

Time: 1-1/2 hours

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, crushed and sliced

2 pounds ground beef

2 serrano peppers, diced

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon chili pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon oregano

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons pepper

1/2 a bottle of beer

2 28-ounce cans of diced tomatoes

1 28-ounce can of kidney beans

1 15-ounce can of black beans

1 15-ounce can of corn

2 6-ounce cans of tomato paste

3 bay leaves

Pour olive oil in a Dutch oven, or a stock pot on medium heat. Add onions and red peppers. Saut for ten minutes. Add garlic and saut for five minutes more. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Add Serrano peppers, cumin, chili powder, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt and pepper. Then, pour in the beer. Scrape off the seasoning that is browned on the bottom. Add tomatoes, beans, corn, tomato paste and bay leaves. Mix in well. Let this simmer for at least an hour. Ladle it into a bowl and top with raw diced onion and shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with corn bread.

I turned the chili back on and whipped up some corn bread. I made a vegetarian version and a meat version. The meat recipe follows. The vegetarian version is the same recipe minus the meat.

I made a large pot of chili and two corn breads. I thought we would be eating chili all week. Nope. By the time trick or treating was over and we were tidying up the kitchen, I realized all of the meat chili was all gone. Only the parents ate it. The kids didn't even touch it. They had a supper which consisted of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, and Jolly Ranchers.

We will be eating the vegetarian chili for the rest of the week. That one wasn't as big of a hit. Maybe I will take some of it and add meat to it to get Claud to help me eat it. He told me vegetarian chili is just wrong.

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This chili recipe is so easy to make. You basically throw everything in a pot and let the heat do its thing. You could easily make it in a slow cooker and leave it while you go to work or to a Wild West town. It's a great way to warm up on a cold day. It is perfect with a slice of corn bread.



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