It’s a thrill to be asked for a recipe for The Great American Writers’ Cookbook. I’m honored to be among such giants as Mr. Cheever and Miss Welty. I hope this’ll do:
Flannery O’Connor Chili
1 whole boneless peacock (3 lbs), or 3 lbs boneless, skinned peacock breasts, cubed
2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup chili powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
5 tablespoons ground cumin
1/4 cup flour
3 large tomatoes
2 cups water
2 12 oz bottles of Dixie (or Jax, or Greisedeck) beer
1 teaspoon cilantro
juice of 1 lime
Go out in the yard at dark and listen in the trees. Catch one napping and bring it in. Knock it on the doorframe first, otherwise you’re in for a time. Save the better feathers, you might use them later.
Cook the onions and garlic in the oil in a large pot, not long, just to get some flavor out of them. Don’t brown ’em! Toss in the cubes of meat and cook till they’re white all around. Throw in your chili powder and cayenne and cumin and roll the meat around in it. Throw in your flour and roll it around again.
Puree the tomatoes and slop them in with one of the beers and then the water. Mix it up, turn the stove down, cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and the lime juice. Take the lid off and simmer it another half hour.
Drink the other Dixie/Jax/Greisedeck and taste the spoon so it burns your tongue good. Salt to taste, or more cayenne. Chili should be thick when it’s ready.
Wear the feathers while you’re eating. When you’re done, go out in the yard with the pot and bang on it with a spoon. Holler “You’re next, you lazy ingrates” so the neighbors can hear.
Yankees can substitiute chicken. Real Yankees like Mr. John Cheever can substitute leftover Thanksgiving dinner.
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