Monday, June 20, 2011

In Progress: Navy Bean and Chicken Chili

I'm way behind on posts, so this one isn't going to be very chatty. We had to adopt this recipe for dried beans. It came out a tad soupy, but very delicious, especially since we amped up the amount of jarred jalapenos and the garlic. In future iterations - and there will be future iterations, since this is flavorful and filling -  we'll start decreasing the liquid a cup at a time and fiddle a bit with the cooking/what to add when times (beans were perfect but chicken got a tad stringy) and see where the sweet spot is. Below, our riff on the Slow Cooker Revolution original.

  • 4 c chicken stock
  • 2 c beef stock
  • 1 15-o. can hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 4 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 t ground cumin
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1 lb. dried navy beans
  • 3 lbs. chicken thighs, skin removed if you want
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 T minced, pickled jarred jalapeno chiles, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro, minced
  • 2 avocados, pitted and cut into 1 in. pieces

In a blender, puree the hominy and 2 cups of stock till smooth, about 1 min. Pour into slow cooker.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, garlic, fresh jalapenos, cumin and coriander. Cook till the vegetables are softened and somewhat browned, 8-12 min. Stir in 1 cup stock, scraping any browned bits. Pour mixture into slow cooker.

Add beans to slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to slow cooker. Cover and cook till beans are tender, about 5 hours on high.

Remove chicken from slow cooker. Let cool a bit, then shred into bite-size pieces. Discard the bones and return the meat to the slow cooker.

Stir in pickled jalapenos, then let sit till heated through, about 5 min. Stir in cilantro, season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve, garnishing with avocado bits.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Black Bean and Pork Chili

We've been pretty good about making a mess of beans or other stew in the slow cooker every weekend (myself, less so about posting them). This past Sunday, we un-vegetarianned a Slow Cooker Revolution black bean chili recipe, adding in a hefty four-pound (five with the bone in) hunk of pork shoulder and skipping the mushrooms (only because there was no more room for them). We also lessened the hot chili powder and de-seeded the jalapenos, since my tummy's still a bit roiled. Despite the gentling, the Cook's Illustrated folks delivered yet again - it's a rich, flavorful stew, though there's perhaps a tad too much liquid. Our version below.

Future tweaks: less pork, add mushrooms and perhaps other vegetables, perhaps lessen the cooking liquid.
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 4 t mustard seeds
  • 1 T cumin powder
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 2 c water
  • 1 lb. black beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 4 lb. pork butt roast, cut into 1-1/2 to 2 in. pieces
  • 1 T canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 T minced fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, add onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, garlic, chili powder, mustard seeds, cumin and oregano. Cook till vegetables are soft and slightly browned, 8-10 min. Stir in a cup of the broth. Scrape up any brown bits, then transfer to slow cooker.

Put water, broth, beans, mushrooms, meat, chipotles and bay leaves in slow cooker. Cover and cook till beans are tender and meat is fall-apart soft, 5-7 hours on high or 9-11 on low (took us 5 hours on high).

Stir in cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

In Progress: Souse Soup

After discovering what a rich broth pig's ears make (a byproduct of this recipe), I wanted to try to make a soup. I started with this recipe, increased the amount of liquid (enough to cover the meat), seeded and removed the ribs from the Scotch bonnet and added whatever spare vegetables I had lying around. Though I had my reservations about midway through the process, it turned out quite good - the broth was rich, and the Scotch bonnet imparted flavor and a gentle, lingering heat. The real surprise was the meat I scraped off the tail bones: succulent, tender and tasty. Will definitely be making this one again.

For future iterations: While the broth is rich and turned pretty flavorful in the end, I'd like to bring some more depth to it - whether by sauteeing the aromatics first, or adding more/different seasoning. I'd also like to add more vegetables to it, besides wilting a handful or two of baby spinach as I reheat bowls of the soup.
  • 3 lbs. pig's ears and tails, ears cut into smaller pieces (this iteration used 1 lb. ears, 2 lb. tails)
  • 1 pork shoulder bone (byproduct of the bone-in butt we got for the black beans and pork)
  • 8 c water, enough to cover
  • 1/4 c cider vinegar
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and ribs removed
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 heaping T)
  • 1 onion, minced (about 1 heaping c)
  • 2/3 c celery, diced (about 4 small stalks)
  • 2/3 c carrot, diced (about 4 small ones)
  • 2/3 c green pepper, diced (1 large)
  • 10 oz. mushrooms
  • 2 T Goya adobo seasoning
  • 1/4 c lime juice (about 2 fat limes)
Put the meat, water, vinegar, hot pepper, garlic and onions in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, till meat is soft and gelatinous, about 2-3 hours.

Chop vegetables and add them to the pot. Cook till they're tender, about 15-25 minutes.

Add adobo seasoning. Stir and wait about five minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in lime juice, and serve over white rice.