Houston is underwater, and as I wrote this the water was still rising. Meanwhile, Donald Trump visits Austin, hundreds of miles from the flood and the destruction and the desperation. He visits my neighborhood, where my friends live up the road in quirky bungalows. My neighborhood, where there's still a record shop. My neighborhood, where the backyard bar my husband and I built inside a structurally questionable lean-to garage is locked and waiting to someday again receive the motley combination of drunks, journalists, activists, academics and dirtbags who are the stars in my Texas sky.
I am not there, and I can't be there, but Donald Trump was there, and I am so, so angry about it.
I am hungry for Texas. And so I make chili. I wish I could do what I would do if I were home. Text message: "Made a load of chili. Y'all come over whenever. We have beer. I'm out back with the dog."
I'd put the lid on the pot and the bowls by the stove. I'd grab a cold Lone Star and head for the yard. Turn the radio on, loud. Leave the front door unlocked. Wait for the stars to come out.
2 lbs cubed beef
3 yellow onions, diced
3 poblano peppers, diced
3 jalapeno peppers, diced and seeded to your heat preference
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 cups beef broth
1 bottle Shiner Bock
shot of whiskey
seasoned salt, salt, pepper
28-ounce can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, with juices
5 vine-ripe tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup tortilla chips, crumbled
Chili spice blend: grind together three big dried ancho chiles, a teaspoon of cumin seeds and a handful of small dried chile peppers
Garnish: Sour cream, cheddar cheese, saltine crackers or more tortilla chips
In a big-ass pot, brown the beef in oil over medium/medium high heat and season heavily with black pepper and some salt. Maybe do it in batches so you can get a good crust going. After a few minutes, add the onions. When the onions are going translucent, throw in your poblanos and jalapenos. Dash with seasoned salt. Stir frequently over medium until the peppers are good and soft, maybe 10 minutes. Throw in your garlic and let it get soft and fragrant for a couple of minutes.
Open the beer. Take a good, long swig. Pour the rest of the bottle in the pan to deglaze. Briefly boil off the beer and add all your tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir. Add the mustard and oregano. Stir. Add the beef broth. Stir. Add the shot of whiskey. Stir.
Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Now add your chili spice blend. Don't fake the chili spice blend. Don't make it the night before. Grind it right then and there. Stir. Reduce to a simmer for the next two hours, stirring occasionally.
Open another beer. Sit on your porch. Think of Texas. Listen to an old George Strait song. Repeat until the two hours have passed.
Stir the crumbled tortilla chips into the chili. Simmer for another half-hour. You can probably get through another beer while you're waiting.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a grate or five of cheddar cheese, and crackers or chips. Don't entertain any questions about beans.
Resistance Kitchen is a blog about food, rage and politics at resistancekitchen.tumblr.com. Andrea Grimes is a journalist for hire, Bloody Mary expert and Texpat living in the Bay Area.