Be well. Practice big medicine.

Newman | The Positive Paramedic Project #5 Break bread [or make chili] with your medics

A nugget of EMS organizational wisdom every day. #5 Break bread [or make chili] with your medics

If The EMS House had a soul, it was in the kitchen and the sprawling training/class room on the same floor. Many a difficult conversation started and ended at one of the tables – the challenging subject matter made easier to tackle because there was well-made comfort food heaped on our collection of borrowed and second-hand dishes.

One of the best tools I used to ascertain the pulse of my team turned out to be a big pot of Captain Freedom’s Veggie Chili. The process was almost as important as the eating – with medics pitching-in to prepare the ingredients and contributing their own sides to the meal. And if we were interrupted by a call being dispatcher, we’d always return to the kitchen to reheat and debrief.

There’s power in the kitchen. Use it wisely.

All right, for anyone who wants to make Freedom Chili here’s the recipe. Note, quantities are entirely dependent on how much chili you need however this recipe will produce enough for about 10 medic-sized servings.

The whole cook-out process should be about 2 hours from start of veggie chopping to first ladle poured into bowl… You need a good soundtrack for this recipe.. Stevie Ray or George Thorogood – I don’t wanna hear anything about people listening to the Scissor Sisters while making this chili..

First get yourself a really serious deep chili pot with a lid that really fits the top. Then heat some olive oil in the pot until it’s just shy of smokin [which would be bad].

Add some sliced garlic [I like mega garlic but how many cloves is up to you] and saute for a few minutes.

Then add two onions, thin sliced, and saute until soft.

Add one green pepper, one red pepper and a pack of shrooms, sliced, and cook in the onions and garlic mix until they begin to soften… add jalapeno pepper sliced [careful with the seeds – and remember this is up to you lest it get too hot]..

Add two cans of red beans [drained and rinsed]… Add one can of black beans [drained and rinsed]…

Add one can of tomato sauce until consistency is still chunky but beginning to lean toward smooth… Add one bottle favorite brand of BBQ sauce… I prefer to use something with a hickory smoke flavour.

Keep stirring throughout…

Pour in a bottle of pale beer – I find that India Pale Ale works just fine. Pour it in and stir… okay, now you need to melt in a few squares of unsweetened chocolate. No, I’m not making this up.

Last major addition, a package of Yves Veggie Ground Round [which you should pre-saute with a bit of thyme in a frypan]. You can find info on Yves products here

Stir it all together, close the lid and keep an eye on it over medium heat for about an hour.

In the meantime you can prepare a ‘relish’ which you can serve on top of the chili in your dinner guests’ bowls. I like to use chopped red onion, fresh avocado, and a bit of lime juice. Mellows the heat of the chili..

And if you’re ever in Montreal let me know and we’ll head over to The EMS House and get a couple of pots of Freedom Chili going in the kitchen.


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