This is quite simply, the best traditional chili that I have ever had. My Mom has made it for as long as I can remember from a recipe she got many years ago at one of Vermont’s finest sources of specialty smoked and cured meats, Harrington’s of Vermont. This chili has just the right amount of spice to it, enough so that you feel the heat on your tonge, but not so much that your mouth burns, and it has an excellent bean to meat ratio.
Last November, when we were living in Boston, we had a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving with a group of friends. I think that there ended up being twelve of us squeezed into the kitchen of our apartment. Once we sat down, no one could get up. Despite the fact that quarters were close, everyone had a great time and a great meal.
My dear friend Tallo (who writes her own food blog, La Cucina Francesca) contributed this amazing squash soup to our meal, which I was instantly in love with. It continues to be a favorite of mine. As a child, I would never eat the squash served at my Grandmother’s Thanksgiving holiday table because I hated the stringy texture of the mashed squash that she always served. This pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving made me realize that though my Grandmother would be appalled to hear me say it, what you decide to serve at your holiday table does not always have to follow family tradition, especially if only half the people at your holiday table will eat the dish in question.