Mrs. Chili365 cordoned off the center of the kitchen. The lines of demarcation were drawn, not with blood, but with the understanding that spillage of blood or bile or synovial fluid was a very real possibility. The children were given knives. Each varied in sharpness and ability to cut. Among them, the knives, too, were different.
It was pumpkin carving time and, as I had drawn the short straw, I was assigned to stand guard at Checkpoint Charlie while the Good Missus napped. Blades sang along with the eerie sounds of Halloween music as pumpkin innards splattered our linoleum. Under my watch, the children neither touched one another nor spoke among themselves. They had been geographically dispersed with safety as a primary consideration. This form of austere “comradery” was understood to be necessary, as each wanted to reach Halloween with the same number of fingers and toes as had been endowed them at birth. In short, we were not in great need of any more ‘incidents’. Amid the unspeaking, sweaty, slicing chaos, I startlingly substituted hominy for red beans in order to force a chili spin on a down-home Cajun recipe. I hope the gods of voodoo are amused (or busy making jack-o-lanterns).
2/3 C chopped yellow onion
1 C chopped green pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and diced
1 (14 0z) Turkey kielbasa, chopped
2 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t coriander
1 t paprika
2/3 C basmati rice
1 1/3 C water
½ C spicy pickled carrots
1 ½ C hominy
- Fry onion, green pepper, jalapeno, kielbasa and seasonings for about 8 minutes or until the onions become soft.
- Add dry rice and fry for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add water and cook until the rice has soaked up the water and become supple (uh, I said supple huh huh).
- Add spicy carrots and hominy and cook 5 minutes longer.
2 hours removed from the outset of the pumpkin slaughter and Pre remains in the kitchen, seated cross-legged, as before. He repeatedly draws the knife and thrusts it into his pumpkin. The rhythm is primal and I have grown so accustomed to it that it is almost joyous. He hasn’t stopped to try the chili. This is a source of sorrow.
We have tweaked my red beans and rice recipe a sassy little bit. I like the hominy and spicy carrots, as they give an avant-garde vibe to this Southern standard. The heat level in the recipe is high enough notice but it most certainly ranks as “PG”. I’d like to see it hit “PG-13” but aside from its lack of substantial heat, this was the very solid offering. Rich, satisfying comfort food that is easy to make always fares well at our house. Mrs. Chili365 and Chili Jr. gave the Sassy Sausage and Rice Chili an “excellent”. The Pirate has remained silent. Pre persists in his task, much like the workings of a clock. What possibly could be left of that pumpkin?