*Note: This post was originally written September 2011. I’ve updated the recipe. My thoughts and sentiments expressed in the original post are the same now as they were 5 years ago.
On Sunday, 9/11/11, I proudly wore red, white and blue to attend the special service at our church in memory of the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives when our county was attacked by terrorists 10 years ago. The memory of the feelings I had sitting in the same church on the Sunday following the terror attacks was still fresh. That service was moving and required tissues, too. But out of the unspeakable horror of that attack came a unity in our country that I’d never witnessed. All differences were put aside. Neighbors helped neighbors and families help families. We were united as a country against evil. American flags waved. People sang “God Bless America”. We prayed together. We checked on each other out of genuine concern.
That was 10 years ago. A lot has changed. Yes, we’ve made remarkable progress in our fight against the bad guys who wish us harm. But when I think about how divided our country has become, it almost makes me sick to my stomach. I refuse to let myself dwell on that. Instead, I’m focusing on goodness that is still out there in full force. It’s not even hard to find. It shows up at Syrup and Biscuits daily. Sometimes hourly. There’s goodness all over the comments you make about sweet memories and people who have touched your life. It’s in every story you share about special occasions and how you celebrate them. Each time you mention a family dinner or gathering, it gets covered up with goodness.
YOU are goodness.
Each and every one of you are a blessing to me and everyone around you. I’ll never be able to thank you for all the riches you have brought to my life. I’m a blessed person and I recognize that and fully appreciate the responsibility that goes along with it. “To whom much is given, much is expected.”
I strongly feel that it’s my responsibility to continue to lend my voice and personality to Syrup and Biscuits and provide a forum where pleasant memories are sparked, family time is encouraged, good food is enjoyed and a connection is made. People want to belong. That’s part of our nature. We are social beings which explains the popularity of Social Media. I’m no different from any of you. I want to feel connected and feel that I belong, too.
Connections happen in my kitchen with routine frequency. I feel a close connection to my grandparents when I make a recipe that has memories associated with them. I feel a connection to my ancestors when I work the soil and grow vegetables or when I make a particular dish that dates back hundreds of years. On the day after the 10th anniversary of 9/11/01, I felt drawn to my kitchen: the epicenter of the goodness in my life where sweet memories and connections live. Sometimes they ride in like a knight in shining armor. Sometimes they are quiet and sneak up on me. However they choose to arrive, I’m delighted to have them and especially today when I need to be reminded of all the goodness around.
On this day, I felt the need to cook something simple that would make me feel connected to my past when life was simple and I happily existed in my somewhat naive little world. Beef and Bean Chili brought me that connection.
Syrup and Biscuits marches forward carrying memories, connections and a heap of goodness. We’re all wearing white hats. The black hats don’t stand a chance.
Y’all come see us!
Beef and Bean Chili
yield: a big ol’ pot full, approximately 8 to 10 servings
Use 80/20 ground beef and there is enough grease in the meat to cook the onions and peppers at the same time the meat is browning. After all the pink is gone from the meat and the vegetables are tender, drain the excess grease.
3 medium sweet onions , diced( I use Vidalias if I can get them)
1 bell pepper, diced
3 pounds ground beef (80/20 blend)
4 to 5 cloves of garlic, minced
3 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
3 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
2 (15 0z.) cans tomato sauce
1/4 to 1/3 cup chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
Place onions and bell pepper in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add ground beef on top. Stir and crumble beef as it cooks. During last 5 minutes of cooking, add garlic and stir.
After all the pink disappears from the meat, drain off excess grease.
Add kidney beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir well.
Add chili powder, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Top with cheddar cheese, sour cream and jalapeno peppers or serve with Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Fritters. Or both.
Beef and Bean Chili
- yield: a big ol' pot full approximately 8 to 10 servings
- Use 80/20 ground beef and there is enough grease in the meat to cook the onions and peppers at the same time the meat is browning. After all the pink is gone from the meat and the vegetables are tender drain the excess grease.
- 3 medium sweet onions diced( I use Vidalias if I can get them)
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 3 pounds ground beef 80/20 blend
- 4 to 5 cloves of garlic minced
- 3 15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained
- 3 14 oz cans diced tomatoes, with juice
- 2 15 0z. cans tomato sauce
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place onions and bell pepper in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add ground beef on top. Stir and crumble beef as it cooks. During last 5 minutes of cooking, add garlic and stir.
- After all the pink disappears from the meat, drain off excess grease.
- Add kidney beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir well.
- Add chili powder, salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
- Top with cheddar cheese, sour cream and jalapeno peppers or serve with Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Fritters. Or both.