Chili for a Wintry night...

When our sons were in grade school years ago, my husband and I would pick them up from school on wintry Friday afternoons and head for Stevens Pass Ski Resort. After a snack in the car on the drive up to the Pass, they would jump into a ski lesson at 5 o'clock or join their friends out on the slopes.

Those were the days before we carried cell phones, so we gave the boys small walkie talkie devices and tuned into the same channel...7, 7. We could then communicate with them periodically, letting them know what runs we were taking, when we were heading into the lodge to eat,  or getting ready to head to the car to go home. A number of our friends also skied or boarded Friday nights and soon almost everyone we knew from Lake Stevens would tune into channel 7,7 on their walkie talkies too! What a fun way to find out who was at the Pass that night and meet up with them either at the base of a run or later at the fun!

The menu at the lodge was pretty limited in those days. You could wait for grilled burger or hot sandwich and fries, or get in line for a bowl of soup or pasta. My favorite was the chili. When you were cold and a little exhausted, nothing tasted better to me than a hot bowl of chili with some cheese melting on top. Over the years I tried various chili recipes until a friend of mine, Sue, shared this one with me. With only slight modifications, this chili recipe caused me to stop looking for other chili recipes. I've made it and served it many times and everyone loves it!

A chef friend posted a photo on Facebook of her table using skis as the centerpiece (Kary of Flour Pot Kitchen...her classes are the best!) and I was inspired to do a similar tablescape! Since skiing and chili go together in my mind, that's what I decided to serve, along with small individual cornbread loaves. 

Here are a couple more photos of the table...

And the best part....the Chili!

Chili for a Wintry Night


1 to 2 T. oil

½ cup onion, finely chopped

2 lb. hamburger

2 cloves garlic, pressed

½ cup red wine

½ bottle of beer

1 lg can kidney beans

1 lg can tomato sauce (29 oz)

1 pkg. chili seasoning mix

1 T. cumin

1 T. chili powder

1 bay leaf

½ tsp basil

1 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

Sauté onion in oil. Add hamburger and garlic, cook well. Add all other ingredients and simmer for one hour. Garnish with shredded cheese and dab of sour cream. Enjoy!

As the days of winter stay crisp and cold, whip up a pot of this chili...and let me know what you think. My sons are grown up now and the younger one likes to fly high coming down the slopes! 

Photo credit to Kurt Haunreiter

Photo credit to Kurt Haunreiter

photo credit to Kurt Haunreiter

photo credit to Kurt Haunreiter

Photo credit to Kurt Haunreiter

Photo credit to Kurt Haunreiter

I have to admit I miss those old days of family ski trips on Friday nights...many happy memories!  I hope you are staying warm and cozy where ever you are this January weekend. Warmly, Gracia