Novel Recipes

It’s mid-November. Alice is shopping for the holidays, buying posole, blue cornmeal, and chile powder for Saisee. On the other side of the country, in the cold Northeast, Finch and Stephen are well on their journey. Tired, and frustrated in their attempts to track down the missing panels of the triptych, they could use some of Saisee’s chili (and cornbread) about now.

Saisee’s Spicy Chili
(Serves 8-10)

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 pounds ground beef chuck
3 medium onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 medium green peppers, coarsely chopped
1 can (4 oz.) diced medium green chiles (mild)
1/3 cup chili powder
2 – 28 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes and their juices, coarsely chopped
1 – 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1-1/2 cups beef stock
16 ounces bottled beer (preferably IPA)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Turn the heat up to high and add the ground beef, breaking it up with a metal spoon. Cook until browned, then remove from heat, drain, and set aside, transferring meat to another bowl. Wipe out pot and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped onions and cook over medium heat until golden brown, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook for two minutes, stirring frequently. Add the remaining ingredients except for the kidney beans and cook over medium high heat for at least 45 minutes, stirring frequently and skimming any excess fat from the top. Lower heat to medium, remove bay leaves and add kidney beans, cooking for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, uncovered. Once chili is cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat and serve with cornbread.

Marion Cunningham’s Custard-Filled Cornbread
From The Breakfast Book
(Serves 8)

2 large eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups whole or 2% milk
1-1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8” square baking dish or pan that is about 2” deep. Put the buttered dish or pan in the oven and let it get hot while you mix the batter. Put the eggs in a mixing bowl and add the 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Beat until mixture is well blended. Add the sugar, salt, milk, and vinegar and beat well. Sift into a bowl or stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda, and add to the egg mixture. Mix just until the batter is smooth, and no lumps appear. Pour the batter into the heated dish, then pour the cream into the center of the batter—do not stir. Bake for 1 hour, or until lightly browned. Serve warm. (The center will be a creamy, barely set custard.)

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