Friday, January 6, 2012

Crock Pot Recipe Day 6

Today I actually made 2 new recipes.  Only 1 was in the crock pot.  But, they both turned out really good!

The first recipe I made wasWhite Chicken Chili (pictured above)
From 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics
Page 160
Works best in a large (minimum 5 qt) slow cooker
1 TBSP olive oil I didn't use this
2 onions, finely chopped I used 1/2 of 1 white onion
4 cloves garlic, minced I did use 4, but 2 were super tiny.  I was worried there would be a heavy garlic taste, but I couldn't taste it at all.
1 TBSP cumin seeds, toasted and ground I just used ground cumin because I figured it was tons easier and faster!
2 tsp dried oregano leaves, crumbled I just used dried oregano that was already crushed
1 cinnamon stick piece (2 inches) So, 1 bottle of cinnamon sticks costs $5.36 at WalMart.  I was worried that there would be a really strong cinnamon flavor, but it was actually quite subtle.
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns I just used black pepper
2 cups chicken stock
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, quartered (about 12 thighs) I used boneless, skinless chicken breast.  I had 3 small and 1 large chicken breast.  I read ahead in the directions thinking at some point I'd have to take the chicken out and cut it up.  It never says to do that.  My chicken was partially frozen still when I put it in the crock pot, otherwise I would have probably cut it into pieces beforehand.  I'd suggest cutting the fat off and into pieces before it goes in the crock pot if you can.
2 cups cooked dried or canned white kidney beans, drained and rinsed I used canned white kidney beans.  They were a little tricky to find because they weren't right next to the red kidney beans.  They were actually by the great white northern beans (they're white too).  1 15 oz can is about 1 1/4 cups.  I ended up using 2 15 oz cans so it was probably closer to 2 1/2 cups than 2.
2 tsp dried ancho or New Mexico chile powder, dissolved in 1 TBSP freshly squeezed lime juice So I couldn't find either of these ingredients.  I ended up using regular chile powder, which does not dissolve.  1 small lime was a little more than 1 TBSP so I just used the juice from 1 whole lime.
2 green bell peppers, finely chopped I used about 1/2 of one
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped I left this out because my kids don't like spicy
1 can (4 1/2 oz) diced mild green chiles, drained
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Finely chopped cilantro
Lime wedges (optional)

1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds.  Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic, toasted cumin, oregano, cinnamon stick and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  I put the garlic in right away with the onions.  I think that's why I couldn't taste the garlic  I pulled the pan off the heat to add all the spices because I didn't want the onions to burn.  After I had added all the spices, it wasn't very easy to stir because it kinda all just stuck to the onions and turned into a glob.  So, I just added the chicken stock rather than cook for 1 min. 
2. Transfer to slow cooker stonewar.  Add chicken and beans and stir well.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork.  I put the chicken stock mix in and then the beans.  I ended up laying the chicken on top.  My crock pot is a super crock pot because I had it on low and it only took about 2 1/2 hours before I was able to cut up my cooked chicken.  The chicken stayed really moist and tender.  I think it might be because it was still slightly frozen when I put it in the crock pot so it added a little more juice to the mixture.  You can't tell from the picture, but there isn't a ton of juice to this chile.  I ended up taking out the cinnamon stick when I cut up the chicken.  I think it would have been fine to leave it in, but I didn't want to forget about it and have it end up in one of the kids' bowls.
3. Stir in chili powder solution.  Add bell peppers, jalapeno pepper and green chiles and stir well.  Cover and cook on high for 20 - 30 minutes, until peppers are tender.  Add cheese and cook, stirring, until melted, about 1 minute.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro.  Pass lime wedges at the table, if using.  I didn't mix the cheese in and melt it in the crock pot because Sam doesn't like cheese.  So, we cheesed our own.  I also didn't put the cilantro on as a garnish.

The juice does look a bit funky and it smells rather "interesting" when you transfer it to the crock pot.  I was worried the kids would be like "EWWW" because it looked funny.  I think part of it was that I used regular chile powder.  Even with leaving out the jalapeno and only using about 1/2 of 1 green pepper, it seemed like there were a ton of peppers in here.  If you aren't a big pepper fan, I'd suggest just using the diced green chiles.  Nash ate the chicken and really liked it.  I was worried it would be quite spicey, but it really wasn't.  He wasn't a big fan of the kidney beans though.  Samantha didn't like it at all, even the chicken.  Travis and I thought it turned out good though.  Caleb still hasn't even tried his.

Make ahead:
THis dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked.  Complete step 1.  Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.  When you're ready to cook, continue with the recipe.  I think you could also cut up your chicken ahead of time.

To go with the chili, I made Simply Corn Muffins
From The Cornbread Gospels
Page 119

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP baking powder
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar, preferably unrefined I used 1/4 because I was worried that it would be too sweet if I used more.  Nope, 1/3 would have been just fine.
1/3 cup melted butter or mild vegetable oil I used butter

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with oil or line with muffin papers.  I ended up getting 19 muffins out of this recipe.
2. Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl, stirring well.  Set aside.
3. Whisk together the buttermilk and baking soda in a medium bowl until the baking soda is dissolved.  Whisk in the eggs, sugar, and melted butter or oil.  The batter was quite "poofy".  I think it was from the baking soda.  It reminded me of when I've made the Jiffy boxed cornbread muffins and I let the batter sit for awhile and it has risen.
4. Stir the combined wet ingredients into the dry until the mixture is just barely combined.  Spoon into prepared muffin tin.
5. Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes.  Serve warm.  Mine only took 12 minutes.

My kids love cornbread and this was no exception.  I didn't have regular honey and none of them wanted the creamed honey so they were a little bland with just butter on them.  But, they were still really good.

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