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All the way from the Emerald Isle!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Chilly Willy

We are experiencing The Big Chill here in Galway this week. Last year, right around the same time, we had a few weeks of rain and flooding. Nothing like it in fifty years around these parts, so they said. This year, coldest temperature ON RECORD with so much snow and ice the schools are closed. So, we are holding out for next year with the hopes that sweet November might bring a little sunshine. Climate change rampant on our little island. 

As luck would have it, a very dear friend has chosen this week to holiday with us. He lives in Los Angeles. Where everything is warm and sunny all year long. The last time he came to visit was during the month of April, and it was very warm and sunny. We drank beer outside every day. He was fooled by our schizophrenic weather. Now, the truth has been revealed. He is wearing gloves, a scarf and a hate and drinking mugs of tea to beat the band. Strange, but I think he kind of likes it.

Now, here is an interesting tidbit of information for y'all. Although there are a gazillion perks to living and working in Los Angeles, it seems there are a few things missing. For example, the restaurants do not serve good old fashioned (American) comfort food. No meatloaf, no chili. In an effort to provide a little slice of Irish-Americana home-cooking, we served up some chili for lunch yesterday. 

For my Island readers, Chili is like Shepherds Pie without the mash potatoes on top and like Bolognese with chili spice instead of tomato-basil sauce. You have absolutely NO VALID EXCUSE for not trying this recipe. AND if you have children they will be begging you for chili dogs every day!

You will need:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can of Guinness (when in Rome)
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • Shredded cheddar cheese 
  • Another 2 large onions (sliced and diced)
  • Tabasco sauce (or your fav. hot sauce)
  • Hot dogs
  • Hot dog buns


  1. In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste, chili powder and cinnamon. Cook, stirring, until mixture has begun to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add all meat, and cook, breaking it up with a spoon until nice and brown, about 5 - 8 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes with their juice, Guinness, and beans. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a rapid simmer. Cook over medium heat until chili has thickened slightly and beans are tender. We find that chili always tastes better the next day so allow it to cook for an hour (at least) then refrigerate overnight.
  4. To serve in a bowl sprinkle with cheese and raw onion and a dash of tabasco.
  5. You can serve it over spagetti if you want to make more of a meal out of it.

This is a very messy dinner for kids. BUT they love it. And it is jam packed full of protein with all the meat and beans, so very good for them. If you have trouble digesting beans then my suggestion is to make sure they are cooked very well.

A little side of fruit salad to tone down the heat is always a welcome relief at the table too!

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,



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