It’s hard to beat a cool summer evening at the farm with a fire in the stone pit – and a big pot of garden chili cooking over the open flames.

Ever since building the fire pit last year - we have wanted to make soup over an open fire
Ever since building the fire pit last year – we have wanted to make soup over an open fire

Ever since building the stone fire pit last year (See: The Stone Fire Pit Project), we have dreamed of making soup over an open fire – and last night the dream finally came true!

With a visit this weekend from Mary’s brother Rob from Minnesota, and 5 of the 6 people in our immediate family having birthdays between August 6th and September 6th, we decided to celebrate with a family dinner night at the farm – complete with farm fresh chili made straight from the garden

It all started early yesterday morning with a trip to the garden to pick a huge assortment of fresh tomatoes and peppers to serve as the base of the chili. Next came the building of a fire in the pit – and within an hour – we had the kettle filled with all of the ingredients and set up over the flames.

Kettle Chili
The soup goes on the fire! We kept the lid on for the first hour or so to get the temperature up

The large kettle was a gift handed down by Mary’s parents from their camping days – and our biggest concern was to make sure we had something strong enough to hold the weight of the pot and the soup over the fire. For that task we used reclaimed bricks to build a sturdy stack of posts on each side of the fire, and then placed a couple of 3/4″ thick, 3′ long pieces of rebar across the top of the bricks to hold the pot. It actually worked like a charm – keeping the pot held perfectly over the flames all day long.

And then the waiting game was on. Within an hour, the chili began to slowly simmer – and as the hours rolled by, it slowly cooked down to perfection over the open flames.  The taste was simply out of this world!

Home grown green peppers - a perfect addition to the chili!
Home grown green peppers – a perfect addition to the chili!

The real key of course, more than any one single ingredient, – was simply time.  Those long hours over the fire allowed all of those home-grown garden fresh ingredients to meld together and cook down into an amazingly flavorful chili – and judging by the number of second, third, and fourth trips back to the kettle with empty bowls – it was a success!

It was a great night, with great food and family – and one we hope to repeat many times in the future.

The Garden Ingredients:

Amish Paste Tomatoes, Brandywine Tomatoes, Orange Valencia Tomatoes, Purple Cherokee Peppers, Yellow Taxi Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Roasted Sweet Red Peppers, Italian Roaster Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Cherry Bomb Peppers, Fresh Roasted Sweet Corn, Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Sweet Onions, Green Onions, Garlic, Home Made Chili Powder from our dried peppers

Happy Gardening and Eating! – Jim and Mary

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