Boy, I hope this stuff turns out alright…
I’m in charge of dinner for the reunion crew tonight, and in the interest of saving money, I decided to go with something that could be made (largely) out of ingredients on hand. There was a six-pound bag of frozen hamburger patties left over from the barbecue on Thursday, and I realized that chili, if done correctly, is one of the most forgiving dishes when it comes to “what kind of meat did you use?”
(note: yes, this is why Wendys makes chili. Yes, Wendys chili comes from burger patties that got cooked, but not used. Or at least it USED to. And yes, it’s still good chili.)
So… I thawed 6 pounds of patties in the nukrowave, and gathered the rest of my ingredients. My sister-in-law insisted on using pinto beans instead of red beans or kidney beans, which kind of ruins the flavor for me, but that’s okay. Pretty much EVERYbody insisted that I not season the chili any spicier than a 2-ounce bottle of “meat paste for babies,” which is also okay… I found the cayenne pepper, and I know how to use it on a bowl-by-bowl basis.
I eyeballed the seasoning: pretty much everything had to be added in amounts of “lots and lots” because there was this six-pound pile of beef to be seasoned. There’s a half-cup or so of chili-powder in there, several dashes of cayenne (they’ll never notice, I swear), and a bunch of onion powder and dried minced garlic. I used three home-bottled bottles of tomatoes, and chopped in one lonely onion that was sitting on the counter saying “I think I was supposed to be used at the barbecue, but nobody cut into me.”
I boiled the whole mess in a really big pot, and then added 1/3 cup of cornmeal as a thickening agent. Somebody (read that “me, but I shouldn’t admit it”) didn’t drain the beans, the meat, the tomatos, or ANYTHING before mixing it all together, and the result needed something to help it, you know… be thick.
The rest of the reunion crew headed off to the local swimming pool, and I started the cornbread… it’s the “Better Homes and Gardens” recipe, multiplied by four. Four cups of cornmeal, four cups of flour, four cups of milk, eight eggs, a cup of sugar… I can’t remember the other ingredients — just that I filled two casserole dishes with batter, and am now waiting impatiently for the timer to tell me that it’s cornbread.
So… I hope this stuff turns out alright. Otherwise 25 people who are tired and hungry from swimming are going to rend me limb from limb.