“ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN” by Robert Fulghum is a total crock of (beans). That or I’m statistical outlier. To the point, apparently I hadn’t learned to count in kindergarten. Further, I remain inexplicably unable to sequence simple integers. Learn much in kindergarten not I did. The fact is, I remember only three things from that school year.
1) Much to the chagrin and consternation of my teacher, I was a terribly messy eater. (Thank goodness I found my salvation in chili, right?)
3) I did not know my right from left. Only one thing stood between me and constant chiral embarrassment- the same (precious) girl stood next to me each day and directed me as to which shoe to place on each foot. (I don’t know where life has taken you Samantha, but I hope good fortune has smiled upon you. Goodness knows you’ve earned it, after succoring me for an entire year.)
4) When children are put on the spot, they tend to say the first thing that comes to mind, without respect for decorum or regard for context. This is how it went down- The teacher was pressing one of my cohorts (Jason) for the solution to an arithmetic problem. It was clear to everyone in the room (even us 6-year olds) that the squirming, fidgeting, youngster had no clue as to the answer. Seconds passed like an eternity as the silence became deafening. Finally, in his panic, Jason blurted out, “My brother saw Joshua’s butt in the bathroom.” While this disclosure would have made perfect fodder for a delicious round of playground scuttlebutt, the non sequitur pronouncement during math class was clearly out of line. At least Mrs. McK thought so, as judged by her newly crimson hue.
Anyway, I’ve grown up little since then and tonight was going to be the big roll-out of chorizo and egg chili. With guests in house, I thought that I’d try something with more panache. Chicken and asparagus bring a classy touch to the chili bowl.
– 3 dried California chiles
– 2 T olive oil
– 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast – cubed
– 12 oz asparagus chopped into 1 inch lengths
– 3 cloves garlic, smashed
– 1 C vegetable juice
– 2 C diced, canned tomatoes
– 1 T chili powder
– 1 t coriander
– 1 t rosemary
– 2 T brown sugar
1) Seed and stem dried chiles and place them in a bowl of hot water for 30 minutes.
2) Drain chiles and place in a blender along with the vegetable juice.
3) Blend until smooth.
4) Fry chicken breast in oil until brown on the outside, but not entirely cooked through- about 5 minutes.
5) Add asparagus and garlic, fry another 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and asparagus is bright green.
6) To the pot containing chicken, garlic, and asparagus, add remaining ingredients- included the blended chiles.
7) Simmer 30 minutes
8) Serve with Basmati rice.
The red color of this dish was worth the price of admission. The blended California chiles were a handsome complement to the asparagus and chicken. The Involuntary Taste Panel and guest gave the taste very high marks. I too found it pleasing, but it could have benefitted from 2 t of Sriracha or 1 t of red pepper flakes. The addition would have brought further panache, no butts about it.