I did not pursue renewal of my teaching contract with the community college, though there has always been a strong, yet unspoken bond, between the students and me. Mostly, teaching has been a great pleasure- intellectually rewarding as well as emotionally satisfying. There was only one semester which proved to be truly atrocious. Just as our studies were getting started in earnest, one of my students, a very talented and amiable young man, died in a motorcycle accident. This tragedy was quickly followed by the disappearance of another brilliant student who had recently lost his home. A few weeks later, a very thoughtful and popular student and father of two, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. During certain weeks, sticking strictly to the lesson plan was the only thing that kept us sane. At other times, wild deviations from curriculum were absolutely necessary for our survival as a cohesive classroom unit. Without a doubt, that proved to be the worst semester of my life. Fortunately, it was the lone exception and we usually are able to joyfully amble through our studies without the undue taxing of our intellects and over-burdening of our hearts. Surely, my students and I get along quite well and I haven’t had to request any restraining orders. At least, not yet.
As a bonus, no teaching gig leaves with more time to dabble in chili. Today’s offering has vegetables, chicken and rice. You’ll need not be a rocket scientist to prepare this healthy stew, but after eating a bowl or two, you’ll feel pretty intelligent.
2 T sesame oil
1 C diced onion
2/3 C diced celery
1 C diced carrots
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
1 ½ C fresh tomato, diced
3 T chili powder
1 t garlic salt
1 t crushed red pepper
3 ½ C water
1 T chicken bullion
1 C parboiled rice
- Sauté the vegetables and chicken in vegetable oil until the chicken is browned on the outside.
- Add remaining ingredients to the pot and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Serve with crusty bread.
A note to college students- This chili is the smart choice, at least when compared to Ramen noodles. We’re talking at least an order of magnitude smarter. Vibrant vegetables and succulent chicken interwoven with spicy rice- what’s not to feel good about? I would rate this chili’s spiciness as “moderate” and as such, keeping some sour cream as a side is always a good idea. As the Involuntary Taste Panel generally favors this type of dish they really went for the Scholarly Chicken and Rice Chili. By the numbers, there were more bowls of chili doled out than panel members. I’m not a math instructor, but I’d consider this a favorable equation.