A Chilly Day for Comforting Chili on the Kirk Ranch




This past Monday morning was a rude awakening, not just to freezing rain early in the morning that turned to sticky snow but plummeting temperatures.

I had just spent a week at a writer’s retreat in Florida and thankfully, got home late Sunday night before the snow rolled in. The next morning it was “back to reality” for me, (but truthfully I didn’t mind, I was glad to be home) as I helped the Hubs with livestock chores. Since there is plenty of grass yet to graze in this particular pasture, he decided we would feed our cows some hay but only about half of what we normally feed to eliminate any wasted hay. The picture above of me  getting the gate AND snow falling while my husband loaded a bale seemed like an appropriate “back to reality” picture.

I had invested in a pair of super warm Carhartt Arctic Extreme biberalls last year so I was ready for the cold, but anytime we’re doing chores out in bitter cold temperatures, I think about making comfort foods that will warm us up. Chili is always a good idea and is an ideal comfort food on a cold day. Wednesday morning our thermometer read -24 degrees! (Notice the lower number says 54 degrees–that was our inside temperature when I woke up because the pilot light went out sometime during the night. Yikes!)



When I got in the house after we got feed chores done Monday morning I made chili and a pan of cornbread. Here are my recipes.


Kirk Ranch Chili–with some MEAT to it!

  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. hamburger browned and drained
  • 4 tenderized round steak, cubed and flash-cooked (what I mean by this is steak cubes cooked in a cast iron skillet on high in a Tbs of melted butter. Heat the butter until it turns brown–it will smoke up your house though–throw the meat in the pan and cook 30 seconds, then turn them over so they’re still pink inside. They’ll finish cooking while simmering in the crockpot or Dutch oven)
  • Mix the two meats together and set aside
  • In the same large skillet the round steak was cooked in (I prefer cast iron skillet), add the following and simmer 5-10 minutes on medium-low to medium heat:
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz. V-8 juice (or tomato juice)
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 2 diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (if available)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 green pepper and 1/2 onion chopped (I had to use  some that I had dehydrated  which also works)
  • 2 t. Senor Gordon’s Chili Seasoning (its not available everywhere, so your favorite chili seasoning will do) I also add a tablespoon to my meat mixture
  • 1 t. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 t. basil
  • 1/2 – 1 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 chocolate bar or small handful milk chocolate chips (to cut the acidity of the tomatoes)
  • Simmer all then add to meat mixture and put all in a crockpot on low 4 hours or in Dutch oven on 250 degrees
  • Beans of your choice OPTIONAL I don’t like beans so I omit and let my family add a scoop from a can if they want them.


Honey Cornbread

  • 1 stick butter or margarine softened
  • 1/3 – 1/2 c. honey depending on how sweet you like your cornbread
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 2/3 c. milk
  • 2 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. cornmeal
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

Cream butter and honey. Combine milk and eggs. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with egg mixture. Pour into greased 9x13x2″ pan. Bake 400 degrees for 22-27 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 12-15 servings.

Wherever you’re at, STAY WARM!

One response to “A Chilly Day for Comforting Chili on the Kirk Ranch”

  1. Adrian Fogelin Avatar

    Amy, we miss you here in Florida where we are barely flirting with our first freeze. I can’t even imagine -24, although your photo above sends a shiver. I remember you in shorts running beside the road in St. George as I drove over to the retreat house. I wish I could send you a little of our Sunny Florida winter.

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