Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chili Cures Congestion!

First, thanks to all the Pots & Penheads who’ve stuck with us this last year. We’re sorry about the brief hiatus, but we’re back now, and we’re really excited about all the new recipes, interviews, and writing insights to come!

All that, of course, leads us to the topic of congestion. We all get congested, literally or symbolically. Whether it’s traffic, emotional stress, or too many tasks going on at once, it’s easy to get bogged down.

Lately, I’ve had an overabundance of writing and editing projects trudging inside my head and on my computer. While there are certainly worse problems, this has led to a slowdown of output and an uptick in frustration. Ironically, too many creative ideas at once can stifle creative expression.

To clear out the congestion, I’ve been working at prioritizing, evaluating, and scheduling, with reality in mind, to get myself back on track. Some things can wait. Others can’t. Some get me closer to big-picture goals, and some are just fun sidetracks—certainly enjoyable, but perhaps at a later time.

And speaking of congestion, I’m recovering from an all-night work session and a nasty cold, so I thought a dish with a little pep would be the perfect choice to get the week back on track. Presenting good-old-fashioned, ordinary, wonderful chili. (Okay, yes, there is whiskey involved.)
10 c. water
4 beef bouillon cubes (or replace 4 c. water with beef broth)
1/3 c. whiskey (optional)
4 c. onion
4 cloves garlic
1/4 c. garlic chives (optional)
6 c. tomato
1 tsp. crushed rosemary
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1½ lb. ground beef
1/2 T. black pepper
1 T. sea salt
1 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
4 c. red beans or pintos
2 c. kidney beans
1 T. brown sugar

Get out your large soup pot and fill with 10 cups water. Heat on medium high until hot. Add bouillon and whiskey (if desired).

Dice onions, mince garlic, and chop garlic chives (optional). Add to pot. Cut tomatoes into large chunks, and add to pot, along with rosemary, thyme, and cayenne. Mix pepper, salt, chili powder, and cumin in small dish.

Cook ground beef in a separate pan, seasoning as it cooks with 1½ tablespoons of spice mix. When beef is nearly browned, add it to chili pot. Drain kidney beans and add to pot, along with chili beans (red beans) or pintos. Mix in brown sugar.

Stirring occasionally, cook covered on medium heat for at least 30 minutes. If you have time, for fuller flavor, cook on medium low heat for an hour or more. Serve straight or with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese on top.


  1. Replies
    1. It definitely is. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I haven't had a good bowl of chili in a long time. And yeah, I hear ya on the congestion. Prioritizing and planning, lists and all are a great way to push through. Off to print out the recipe! YUM!

    1. I hope you enjoy it. For what it's worth, this chili has only a light kick, so if you really want to clear things up or just like it hot, crank the cayenne a bit more.

  3. Jonathan,

    Thanks for the August P. of P. I can't believe you've got beans in the chili after 20+ years in Texas. But the whiskey might make up for it.

    David Thomson

    1. Thanks, David. Glad P.o.P.'s been beneficial.

      And yeah, I knew I was gonna catch flack from the southern contingent about the beans. What can I say--my mom's from Michigan! That's just a culinary burden I have to bear. ;) If it helps, I made the whiskey peach cobbler last night too, so I'm not a complete heathen.