Day 9: Searching through Grandmother’s Recipes

Snow is still on the ground, the cat is stretching in front of the blazing fireplace, I have a cup of tea, all is good.  I decided to spend part of the morning going through the compilation of my Grandmother’s recipes in search of soup recipes.  It was a bit more difficult because any soups were lumped in with “Main Dishes” in her cookbook, but it was a pleasant way to spend the morning—perusing through all of them in search of soup recipes.  It sparked a lot of food memories.

I was amused to see a recipe for “President Johnson’s Chili Con Carne” included.  Obviously, this in an old recipe.  I did a bit of research (i.e. Googled it) and I found a few similar recipes but without the pinto beans.  It is a basic chili recipe and I am sure Grandmother clipped it out of a newspaper or magazine.  Since I had stocked up on Eden Organic dry beans, had some local beef and bacon in the freezer, and some more home-canned tomatoes, I decided to give it a go.  I updated the directions a bit.   Here it is, a blast from the past:

President Johnson’s Chili Con Carne (I know it is not true Chili Con Carne because of the addition of beans.  I wonder if Grandmother added that ingredient?)

*1 1/2 c. dried pinto beans (Soaked overnight and cooked; reserve cooking liquid.)
3 slices bacon
1 lb. hamburger
1 c. chopped yellow onion
1/2 T. sea salt
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 T. flour
1 pint stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 T. chili powder (I used regular and a bit of Ancho chili powder.)

After beans are cooked, reserve 1 cup of liquid.  Cut up bacon and saute in large skillet.  Add hamburger.  Brown well.  Remove from skillet and drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Do not wipe out skillet.  Add onion and garlic.  Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat. 

Add flour to the reserved bean cooking liquid and stir until lump free.  Add to skillet with tomatoes, chili powder and salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring often.  Add meat back to skillet.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.  Add beans and simmer 1 hour longer or until hamburer is tender.  Makes 8 servings.

This is a really thick chili, so feel free to thin it down with water, tomato juice, beef broth, or red wine.  And, when I make it again, I will add some more spices like cumun and cayenne.

*To Cook beans after soaking, rinse well.  (Water plants with soaking water!)  Place 4 1/2 cups water in a pot with a lid. Add soaked and rinsed beans.  Bring to a boil; cover; reduce; simmer at least 90 minutes.

For other recipes from Grandmother’s stash, see the following posts:

 Potato Salad and You

Grandmother’s Ice Cream

Grammy’s Grape Pudding

Grammy’s Banana Fritters

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Grammy’s Green Tomato Relish

Clothesline Taffy

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