The Orange Slate

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One Chili Night…

February 2, 2011
One recent cold Saturday night found a group of people at my house for dinner. All of us were nearly strangers to each other and to the city. We came together over warm chili and soft bread and tangy lemon cupcakes to relax, to share, and to connect.
We laughed a lot about our persistent and often awkward attempts to feel at home in this sprawling strange city. We compared notes about work and friends and our homes far away. And after a few hours, we parted ways feeling much less like strangers and much more like co-wanderers and friends.

Gather some family, or some friends, or some friends-to-be together over a warm pot of chili this February.  When I used this familiar recipe, I halved the large quantity and still had plenty for six people as well as leftovers that lasted well into the week.

2 lbs. hamburger (extra lean)
1/2 large minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz cans tomato sauce
1 6 oz tomato paste
2 16 oz can red beans (I used kidney because that's all I had on hand, but red are definitely preferable)
1 16 oz can white Northern beans
3 tbl chili powder
3 or 4 large fresh basil leaves (1 tsp crushed dry basil)
1 tsp ground pepper
½ cup Merlot or equivalent red wine (white is an acceptable substitute. Again, all I had on hand…)
In a large stock pot, brown hamburger, minced onion, and minced garlic cloves. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly. Simmer for at least 45 minutes and up to 3 hours.

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