It's mid-May and peas are sprouting. The first harvest of lettuce and arugula are already used up. Mache and claytonia have gone into our salads since March. The second planting of greens is up and the new batch is being thinned for baby mesclun salads. Spinach, swiss chard, and red mustard have gotten big enough to start using them. Chives, perennial onions, and ramps have been in use for some time now.
And, we still have things left from last year. Green beans, collards, beet greens and cabbage are still in the freezer. Four dried Habanero peppers are all thats left of a long string of them over the kitchen window. There are a couple of jars of plum chutney and homemade ketchup left.
And so I decided to make chili.
Feel free to substitute as indicated in parentheses. Instead of green beans and collards, other veggies may be used. Add kidney beans or serve on pasta if desired. Serve with a big salad of fresh greens.
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped perennial onion (or one large onion)
1 tbsp beef tallow
4 ramps, chopped (or four cloves of garlic)
1 Habanero pepper * diced (or Jalapeno, which is not as hot)
12 oz micro brewed dark beer
1 cup green beans, frozen or fresh
1 cup collard greens, frozen or fresh
1 6 oz can tomato paste
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
In a cast iron skillet, heat the tallow on medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft, another 5 minutes. Add the ramps or garlic and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the beer and bring to a boil. Add the green beans and greens. Bring back to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium low. Add the tomato paste, Habanero, salt & pepper. Lower heat to just high enough to keep the chili simmering. Cook for an hour or so. To serve, ladle into shallow bowls and top with grated sharp cheddar cheese. G.H.
* The heat of the pepper is in the ribs and seeds. Habeneros are among the hottest of peppers. You may want to use only half the ribs and seeds if you don’t want it "muy caliente" (very hot).