Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve Dinner Ideas

If you're like me, expecting Thanksgiving Day guests to arrive on Wednesday, you are not only planning the food for that day but for the night before.

Since I need to do a lot of prep work tomorrow, today I am going to make a huge pot of chili that I will serve Wednesday evening to all the out of town guests. That way I just have to heat it up, add some tamales and a salad, and serve! Hopefully there will be enough left-overs for anyone wanting lunch the next day since we are having dinner in the late afternoon. Plus Portia will bring some chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies for dessert.

I don't really have a written recipe for my chili--good native of San Antonio that I am--but here is an attempt to document it:

3 lbs chili ground beef
2 lbs stewing beef, cut in bite size chunks
2 large onions, chopped
head of garlic, minced
2 cans tomato paste
1 can stewed tomatoes or diced tomatoes with jalapenos
6 to 8 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons cumin
salt to taste
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons harina or flour
2 cans pinto beans

Saute the chopped onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil until soft and transluscent. Add the meat in batches and brown. Return all browned meat to the pot and add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the salt, chili powder, cumin and cocoa powder and combine well. Cover with water and simmer until the meat is tender.

Once the meat is tender, add the canned beans with their juices. Simmer another 10 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary. Combine the harina or flour with equal amount of water and stir into chili to thicken. Cook until thick. Serve!

Note: this is not very hot chili, so offer sliced jalapenos or hot pepper sauce for those who like it very spicy. The cocoa is a traditional Mexican ingredient.

What do you do for dinner on Thanksgiving Eve? Go out? Have a favorite pre-Turkey Day recipe you would like to share? Let the cooking begin!


ceemac said...

Beans??? I thought putting beans in chili was a capital crime in Texas.

St. Inuksuk said...

Thanksgiving Eve is usually bring in, pizza, or a frozen casserole bake, since I am busy making stuffing, pumpkin mousse dessert, and cheeseball all for the next day.
i start Tues, evening making stock and rice for the stuffing.
Usually it's just the 2 of us, plus hounds for dinner - quiet and simple before the craziness begins!!
enjoy a blessed and graced Thanksgiving. Save a tidbit for Beatrice and Olivia!

Elaine said...

I'm curious about this, "add tamales" part.

Norman, OKlahoma

Quotidian Grace said...


Even in Texas this is a debate! I like a small bit of pintos in the chili because it adds a certain depth of flavor. Note two cans of beans to several pounds of meat!


"Add tamales", means the tamales are a side dish. Some like to top the tamales with chili. I like them on the side!

ceemac said...


As a resident of Texas for 15+ years I had been led to believe that any debate about beans in chili had long been settled. Perhaps by a decree from the "Chili Vatican" in Terlingua: "A bowl of red shall never be defiled by beans."

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

sounds delish! i usually eat little, prepping for worship...

and i must say a hearty THANK YOU for recommending Mark Schweitzer's liturgical mysteries... they are hilarious! I'm giving the entire set to my mother for Christmas!

artbymj said...

Thanks for sharing your recipe. I'm definitely going to give it a try.

Rev Kim said...

Thanks for the recipe! Nothing like chili simmering in the cast iron dutch oven on a cold winter day, so we'll definitely try it!

This is our fourth Thanksgiving together and we haven't established a pre-Thanksgiving Day tradition yet. Tomorrow night Dave will be leading a community Thanksgiving service. I will likely skip the service (gasp!), because though we aren't hosting Thanksgiving Dinner, I'm cooking dressing, two other side dishes, and a pumpkin pie topped with pecan streusel, for eleven. I'll be prepping in spirit with you!