Category Archives: Food


Today (6 December 2013), northwest Arkansas is covered in snow. That being the case, it’s a good day to make chili. That’s especially true, since as a western writer, I like to get the feel of life in the period that I write about.

So here’s what I do when I make chili. Don’t call this a recipe. It ain’t that formal.



I use round steak. You can use top sirloin or ground beef, depending on how you like and can afford things. Use two to three steaks, and you’ll need a large pot, so go with three.

Canned goods:

Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies–get the Habanero variety for hot or the cilantro cans for astringent.
Rotel big can of diced tomatoes–redundant, perhaps, but who cares? We ain’t measuring here.
Chili beans–I get Bush’s hot beans. Do as you wish.

Chopped stuff:

Onions–two or three, but more is better
Peppers–whatever kind. The long red ones are good, as are the yellow or red bell peppers.
Garlic–this is essential. Get a lot more than you expect to need, and put it all in. Use the real thing, not a powder.


Olive oil–o.k., so that’s not a spice, but you need it anyway.
Cumin–remember how we don’t measure? Well, you want a lot
Ground red pepper
Chili powder
Black pepper


Get out your biggest pot and put it on the large burner. Pour in olive oil. I did say pour. The stuff’s good for you.

Pour the spices in a bowl and mix them up. Use a lot.

Chop up the vegetable matter, removing the seeds from the peppers, the skins from the onions and the garlic. Dump the lot into the pot, and turn the burner to high. Stir now and then while doing the next step.

Use the scissors from a good knife set to cut up the round steak into cubes. It doesn’t matter how big. Trim away the fat, and feed it to your dog. Dump the meat into the pot, and stir until brown. Mix in the spices during the stirring.

Dump in the canned goods. Bring to a boil, then turn the burner down to a bit below medium, and cover. You want the pot slightly bubbling, but not boiling after the first boil. Stir every now and then.

It’s ready when it’s ready. The longer you cook it on not too much heat, the more thoroughly mixed the flavors. Eat it alone, or pour it over brown rice.