My cousin made chili for us last night. It was the best I'd ever tasted! He doesn't use recipes. He just enjoys designing anything, including food.
I spoke about him briefly on this blog one other time. He owned a custom landscaping business in California, not far from where we used to live. The housing market crashed and never recovered there. He lost his home and business--he is 48, making this a bigger tragedy--and had to move back here last year to live with his parents and his wife of two years. They bought a fixer-upper home--not inhabitable yet--that he's busy renovating. It had to be gutted so the process is a long one. It will be a nice 2200 square-foot home when the work is complete, not including the large walk-in basement.
His parents are now wintering in Florida--probably a blessing.
His wife is a Christian; he is not. Her husband passed away about five years before she met Rick. I am hoping we can be friends, and that my husband can mentor him and counsel him in his marriage, which isn't going well. Counseling and one-on-one discipleship are my husband's greatest strengths.
Please pray for them? Like many Americans, they are having to make difficult adjustments--challenging their ability to meet the ingrained needs men and woman have in their marriages. Men, above all, want to be respected and appreciated. Women need to feel loved and cherished. When a crumbled economy challenges a man's ability to provide, he finds it harder to do the cherishing. And when the man isn't providing, for whatever reason, the woman finds it harder to respect and appreciate. Put a sense of hopelessness in the mix and you have quite the recipe for disaster, unless God is supreme in the marriage.
Now, on to that recipe.
I don't usually have time to chop anything--all my cooking is done while chasing a toddler--so unfortunately we use powered spices most of the time. This chili, however, is worth the effort! Perhaps I'll have to make a batch after the kids are in bed.
1 lb. leanest hamburger
5 links hot and sweet sausage (casings removed, most of fat drained after cooking)
1 15 oz. can chili beans
1 15 oz. can white beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1/2 stalk celery with leaves, chopped
1 can tomato paste ( I forgot to ask, but I presume the 8 oz. size)
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz., approx.)
1 can water (depending on consistency you desire)
spices to taste (garlic powder, Mrs. Dash, parsley, chili powder)
I didn't write down many directions, but I think he said he saved enough liquid from the meat to soften the vegetables, then he added the meats back in, followed by the rest of the ingredients. He cooked it for three hours.