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By Popular Demand

My Famous (at least in the Bronx) Chili Con Carne

--and now the Cornbread to go with it!

It was a dietary staple on Ely Avenue on the mid 1980's

And a few friends from the old block (4200's) have asked.

Here it is:

Everyone has a pet chili recipe and some argue that adding meat is a cardinal sin. Others insist that meat is okay but that red kidney beans are the mark of the Pan Blanco (White bread to you, cracker...) Well, I like the meat and I also like to be creative with the beans. So if you are a bachelor looking for a good one pot meal that lasts a few days or a Mom looking for something to fill a bunch of kids, this recipe may be just what you're craving.

This is a simple one pot meal. I have tailored it over the years to include as many 'off-the-shelf" items as possible to cut down on prep time. Believe me, I did not substitute a canned preparation for a hand-crafted delight either by indiscriminant cut and paste or without great consideration. So if you see a jar of salsa going in, realize much thought and anguish went into that decision -- as well as taste testing. This recipe has been honed over twenty five years.


The ingredients:

2 pounds of good chopped beef (Don't go lower than 80% lean.)

2 one pound thirteen once cans of Goya Black Beans (or Frijoles Negros depending on which side of the can is facing you.) I like the Goya brand's good consistent quality.

2 large cans of Tomatoes (Avoid seasoned ones, I like the whole tomatoes, you can use crushed.)

2 Large Yellow Onions (Mince these fine. I use two, but you can never have too much onion for me. You may adjust to taste.)

1 Large Jar of Taco Bell Medium Salsa (See, I knew you'd be cringing here, but work with me. I use the medium because some people find the hot just too much -- plus we're adding more spice in a moment. I like Taco Bell, but have used everything else to greater or lesser success. Once again, it's a matter of personal preference.) And that's like a pound jar, not the super-slop family sized jug.

I Tablespoon of Minced Garlic (I keep a large jar of store-bought prepared minced garlic in my fridge. The stuff is just so handy.)

Chili Powder

Pepper (black, crushed)

Some Olive Oil (extra virgin is all I stock)

Substitutions -- I like dark red kidney beans and I like pinto beans. I often drop one can of black beans and put a small can of kids and a small can of pintos in. This adds color and flavor.

Here we go:

Find the biggest pot you own. Put a splash of olive oil in the bottom, just enough to make the bottom wet all the way around. (That's why I didn't have a quantity listed in the ingredients.) You've got those onions minced up already, right? Okay. Put your chopped beef in the pot and mash it up fine as it cooks on the stove. You want the pieces of meat to be very tiny because it's there for flavor and to thicken up the chili, not as dumplings. Some people like to drain the meat, I don't. When the meat is about half way done -- some will be browned, some may well still be pinkish -- throw in the onion. You want the onion to be fairly uncooked at this stage, not sautéed by any stretch. The onion will soften and almost disappear as chili cooks. Add the garlic with the onions.




Okay, the onions and meat are ready. Open up your cans of tomatoes and toss them in the pot. (yeah, yeah, not the cans, just the contents.) Dump in the jar of salsa. (Once again, remove it from the jar!) Keep this all on a medium to low heat for about an hour. You'll want to break up the whole tomatoes if this is what you've used. I like to keep big chunks, but that's just me. After the hour is up, add chili powder to taste. You want the flavor and some color. There is no right or wrong amount unless you don't use any or throw in three pounds. Try a bit on a spoon as you add it and stir it in. Add a bit, stir, taste, add, stir, taste. If you go over the top a bit, don't worry. We haven't added the beans yet and we'll be repeating this process again later.





Now you have meat, onions tomatoes and wet stuff in the pot and cooking merrily on a medium heat. (Cooking time lets the ingredients blend their flavors. The stuff tastes better after longer cooking, so start this recipe at about one o'clock on a cold rainy afternoon, put on some good tunes, crack a bottle of wine and enjoy the day. Leftovers are absolutely amazing the next day.)







You want to add the beans about twenty minutes to a half hour before serving. They'll fall apart if cooked too long. Right after you add the beans, take a taste. Has the chili lost its taste? Add, stir, taste again with the chili powder and some black pepper. Let this continue to cook for about twenty more minutes. (Photo shows light and dark kids and black beans.)



And what goes great with this chili? Corn bread of course. I make a Yankee corn bread (brown sugar added) that is a total mind-bender with this chili. (I'll be adding this recipe soon, so check back. 8/9/05)

Time - 1 Hour Yankee Cornbread

This makes One Decent Loaf (double quantities to feed a hungry horde.)

Wet Stuff:

2 T Melted Butter
2 Large Eggs

1 Cup Milk (use the good stuff -- save the 2% for someone who asks for a glass of water.)





Dry Stuff:

1/2 Cup Cornmeal

1/2 Cup Grits
1 Cup Flour, General Purpose
1 T Sugar

2 T Brown Sugar
1 T Baking Powder
1/2 t Salt

This is Yankee Style Cornbread -- it has sugar in it, where Southern Style does not.

I add Grits to my recipe as I like the texture of the final product. If you don't have grits in the house, just use a full cup of cornmeal. I prefer yellow, but white works well also.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Sift.

Cream the butter and the eggs, then add the dry. When all are combined, mix until relatively smooth. You don't want lumps of white flour or dry patches, but you'll never get the cornmeal and grits to feel 'smooth' either.

Pre-heat oven to 365, it should take a half hour, give or take, to bake the loaf . You want a golden color, but this is no indicator of whether the innards are good to go. I have discovered that the old spaghetti prod trick is not reliable with a batter this heavy, so I use a wooden chopstick. If it comes out dry, you're ready to eat. Well, the bread is!

This stuff is great plain or buttered and is a remarkable companion to my chili recipe.

How about a great beverage to wash this all down?



Do you own an electric drip coffee pot? Bet you never thought to use it to make iced tea.


Put four tea bags in the place you'd normally put a filter and your coffee grounds.  No need to use a filter. 

Run a pot of water through the machine just like you're making coffee.  I set the brew selector to strong.

Pour the brew from the carafe into a large pitcher.  Add between one half to one cup of sugar to the tea.  (I use 3/4 cup, my wife goes heavier.) This is crucial.  The heat melts the sugar so you don't have sweet sludge in the bottom of your glass.

Add another carafe of cold water. 

Refrigerate and serve.



Give these a try. They've always been a crowd pleaser at my house.


Hasta la vista!


The Classic Guitar Method: Now in one volume, much of what the novice classical guitarist will need to know to lead him or her to the recital stage. From proper instrument care and maintenance to the necessary technical skills, musical mind-set, and the standard repertoire—all exposed and explored with enough detail and insight that the student will wish to keep this book handy years to come as a ready reference source.


With the aid of a good teacher, the student will rapidly progress through The Classic Guitar Method attaining technical proficiency and musical eloquence.

This method stems from the need to incorporate a number of schools into a single cohesive curriculum. Years of honing a logical approach to the guitar and the creation of music culminate in this volume. As a self-proclaimed Disciple of Valdés-Blain , much of that famed teacher's focus can be found in Mr. Pellegrin's method.

ISBN: 978-1-4116-9442-2

Published by PAB Entertainment Group, P.O. Box 2369 Scotia, New York 12302

Please go to to order.

  LOW END  By Harry George Pellegrin.  The first in the Gary Morrissey series of mysteries.  Dealing with modern subject matter in the classic style of the 1940's Mystery Noire masters--think Raymond Chandler in New York in the 1980's...  LOW END is the story of a drug addict who is murdered after he believes he has found evidence of a major government conspiracy.  Is it only drug-induced paranoia?  Might be, except his paranoia could be considered justified: he was murdered, after all.  Friend Gary Morrissey takes it upon himself to find out just what happened and lands himself in the crosshairs.
See more info...
Classic Guitar Method  Composed, written, transcribed, edited and arranged by Harry G. Pellegrin: Now in one volume, much of what the novice classical guitarist will need to know to lead him or her to the recital stage. From proper instrument care and maintenance to the necessary technical skills, musical mind-set, and the standard repertoire—all exposed and explored with enough detail and insight that the student will wish to keep this book handy years to come as a ready reference source.
See more info...
DEEP END: The Wreck of the Eddie Fitz  By Harry George Pellegrin. A mystery novel. Involving a semi-professional musician and a Kreyol death cult, DEEP END takes the reader from the bottom of Long Island Sound to the steamy streets and Blues clubs of New Orleans. Alternative spirituality does battle with the common working man.  Published by PAB Entertainment Group in association with
See more info...





What's New? The Two New Albums!





Hey, the new albums are out! That's right, finally a follow-up to the reissue of my old album from the late 1980's and its sequel as well.

Reflecting Pools is a departure for me as it is totally keyboard. Well, the guitar did show up on one track... Reflecting Pools is an ethereal journey into the realm of relaxation. In That Zone is a more classically structured exploration of mood and personality.

Available through

...And containing nine tracks that are relaxing, inspirational -- sounds like a snooze. Not really, this is great stuff to listen to on a rainy afternoon, while with your significant other (nudge, nudge, know what I mean?) Please visit the Reflecting Pools page on this site or


LOW END What's new with the book that came out over a year ago? After being on back-order at for what seemed like a century, it is my understanding that copies are once again shipping. Barnes and Noble's website stocks new coipies of LOW END in an on again/off again mode.

DEEP END, the exciting sequel, is being shopped by my literary agent even as we speak.

The Guitar Sessions: Weekly tech tips and exercises to help the guitarist improve. This feature has really taken off. Each week a new page is posted with either an exercises to get the left and right hands moving more efficiently and effectively or an interesting piece from the standard repertoire , demonstrating a necessary technical ability. Judging by the hits these pages receive, you guitar players love this feature!

The page is updated every Thursday. Visit the 2004 Archive as well!




My Mission, My Policy

In my opinion, the murder mystery genre reached its zenith in the 1930's and 1940's. The novels penned in those decades were taut, no nonsense stories of people in life and death crises, people who did not flinch when confronted with overwhelming odds or overwhelming emotion. Some of these tales could be hard-edged and hard-boiled, but the heroes invariably had a soft side as well.

I believe that over the years, in an attempt to mimic real life, the writers of murder mysteries--and most other literature, for that matter--have lowered the standards of excellence set by such authors as the gritty Raymond Chandler and the sophisticated Dorothy Sayers. Many authors misinterpret smut for romance and brutality for strength.

My novels aspire to the standards set by the 1940's mystery writers. My tales are as real and grimy as the mean streets that spawned them. Even so, and though they deal with modern issues, you will not find gratuitous sex in my characters' relationships. Sex may be alluded to, but it is never allowed out from behind closed doors. You will find that my books are entertaining to a broad audience--I have had positive comments from teens to grandmothers. One reader was surprised when I told him that there were no obscenities in the book he'd just finished. He hadn't missed them! A good story doesn't need such unnecessary 'embellishment.'

I have conducted book signings at churches, country clubs, libraries and even a street corner (don't ask!) and I've never been called to task for, or ashamed of, my work. Pick up a copy of my latest novel and see if it isn't a good read!

Harry Pellegrin


As a native New Yorker and an American, I am still angered by the cowardly attacks of 9/11. Unless we restore New York City's skyline to its condition prior to September 11th, 2001, the miserable scum who attacked us will have won! Visit and rebuild America!



About My Site:

This site is a way for me to commemorate and celebrate a life and lifestyle that is now extinct. Why extinct? Is it that Thomas Wolfe " You-can't-go-home-again " thing? Is it because life is so much different now that what we experienced in the Bronx in the 60's and 70's is no longer relevant? Yes. No. Yes and no? Definitely maybe ! Why do I always start these little essays with questions?

At first, the main thrust of this site was to promote my book. It is a worthy goal; the book tells a good tale and everyone who has read it finds it entertaining and thought-provoking. With that sole goal, I went live with this site back in August of 2003. What happened next is what makes this site truly valuable.

There are people I grew up with, attended school and with whom I played in bands -- neighbors, friends, good family -- who I hadn't seen since I moved from the Bronx in 1986. Divorce had forced me into exile, time and distance conspired to seemingly turn this into a life sentence. Thank the muses for the internet! This site wasn't live for more than two months before I was reunited with Paul Silvestro , a childhood friend whom I hadn't seen in seventeen years. His brother Larry , the guy who had turned me on to playing guitar and taught me the things about music that matter the most, now with him I had no contact since 1983. Twenty years! Too long. I felt as if a part of my soul had been restored -- a part that had been missing for ages and had long ago been written off. But more was to come.

Anthony Pernice, Art Clement , Mike Moretti -- all reunited to me.

The 1960's weren't good to a number of us -- many of us had our personal demons to exorcise, be it substance abuse or the insidious hedonism of the times. but through it all, we were instilled with a vibe, cast in an artistic mold--call it what you will--but unless these same environmental stimuli are exactly reproduced, there will never be another crop of people quite the same.

This page delves into what we experienced and how we incorporated these experiences into art, music, literature and life . I've paid tribute to my neighborhood, the Wakefield section of the Bronx. The Discords -- Larry Silvestro and Artie Clemente's first band in the early mid-sixties-- they're here with their matching outfits, Fender, Hagstrom and Gretsch guitars plus those impeccably precise five part harmonies.

Of course, there is an homage to Leo Fender and his magnificent designs, the Telecaster © and the Stratocaster ©. I officially declare C.L. Fender an honorary Bronxite. These instruments have literally changed my life and the way we all hear music. Check out this page on my site.

Rory Gallagher, whom I saw play in 1973 and who has influenced me ever since--he has a page here as well. He has gone on now, but the impact he made is still rippling outwards, changing how we interpret the blues.

Untermyer Park in Yonkers and Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx are included on this site. We were kids interested in a good ghost story and both these places were terrific for providing a few innocent and fun goosebumps. Of course this was during the same period of time that Son of Sam was using Untermyer and Pine Street in Yonkers for his own uses... And we didn't know!!!

...and of course, my book!

Please enjoy this site. Nose around. Anyone can find something here to read and get a chuckle.





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