One afternoon while I was looking through some old books I had stored in the basement, I came across a real gem from my distant past. It was a book called Alice’s Restaurant Cookbook and contained a collection of recipes that Alice May Brock used in her Brooklyn New York establishment made famous by Arlo Guthrie in a song and then later in a movie of the same name directed by Arthur Penn.
The book and the recipes therein were written in the footloose and fancy free spirit that so characterized the times. It was published in 1969 by Random House and was an instant success for a whole generation of hippies and flower children like myself. One recipe that caught my interest was Alice’s Famous Chili which I have produced exactly from the book.
“In half an inch of oil or bacon fat, sauté until soft: 3 chopped onions, 3 chopped green peppers, and 3 large cloves of finely chopped garlic. In another pan brown 1 or 2 pounds of chopped beef. Drain the fat from the beef and add the beef to the onions and peppers ( or add the onions and peppers to the beef). Now add 1 or 2 cans of tomatoes, 1 can of tomato paste, and 2 to 8 tablespoons of chili powder. (You can always add more chili powder later, so start off easy). Add 1 tablespoon of sugar, a sprinkling of salt, pepper and paprika, 2 bay leaves, a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of basil and a pinch of cayenne or some hot chili sauce. Simmer all this for at least half an hour until it is good and thick. Then add 1 or 2 cans of kidney beans. Serve this on rice and top it with some chopped raw onions. (Makes 6 to 8 servings.)”
While I’m a little leery of using a half an inch of any oil in a recipe, I do want to give this recipe a fair shake. To that end I’ve decided to do a You Tube movie some time soon which will appear on the Danomanno Channel. Update: This effort should appear sometime in the fall of 2012.