Tag Archives: chicken

White Bean Chicken Chili—Slow Cooker

I’m reluctant to call this dish chili, even though I know lots of people do just because it’s a combination of beans and meat. I think it’s a stretch, though, and like so many other dishes, I wish some inventive person had come up with another name. Still, I can see how chili is a good shorthand for it.

I think most recipes use boneless, skinless chicken, but I felt using bone-in chicken would add to the flavor during the long simmer in the slow cooker and also keep the meat from being drained of all its juices, as can happen in slow cooking. I opted for a whole split chicken breast, but I could see using a whole cut-up chicken. Yes, it means you have to add the step of pulling off the meat at the end, but that’s not a big deal.

What’s left then are the other flavors that make the dish a chili and not just a white bean stew or soup. In my chili, the main flavoring is from reconstituted dried ancho peppers—that’s what makes chili red (not tomatoes, please) and gives it its spice. If you’re keeping track of what peppers are called in their fresh and dried versions, you know that anchos start out as poblanos, and I have a ton of those in the garden that we’re hoping will turn red. But I have already roasted, peeled, and seeded a few trays of the green variety for the freezer, so I pulled a few out and chopped them up for this milder chili. I also have some jalapeños in the freezer, but I’d prefer to use those in a salsa or something with tomatoes. I think the poblanos will go well with the other traditional flavors of cumin, oregano, onion, and garlic (I used one of my frozen garlic cubes). I threw in a bay leaf, too, just because I can’t bring myself to cook chicken without one. Here it is ready for the long cook:

I would eat it as it turned out, but I didn’t want my husband to think it was soup—the horror!—so I thickened it with a flour and butter beurre manié. He couldn’t guess the ingredients in the chili—or even that there was such a thing as white chili—but he liked it a lot. I think it’s the poblanos that really made it so tasty.

chili

White Bean Chicken Chili—Slow Cooker

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
  • 1 lb dried great northern beans, soaked overnight, then drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • about 1 tablespoon mashed, roasted garlic or equivalent
  • 2-3 poblano peppers, fresh or roasted, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt*
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • about 2 lbs chicken, bone-in or boneless ( I would leave boneless pieces whole and cut up at end), browned if with skin
Preparation
  1. Place all ingredients in slow cooker, adding chicken pieces last. Make sure to brown the pieces if they still have the skin on for a richer final flavor.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Remove meat from bones, if necessary, and stir back into the beans.
  4. You can mash some of the beans to thicken the chili or stir in a beurre manié of flour and butter during the last hour of cooking. I always thicken my red chili with a mixture of masa flour and water, and I suppose you could do that here, as well.

*Chicken stock is usually salted, so take that into consideration when salting.

 

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

Yes, I’m calling it soup and my husband will just have to deal with it. I’ll make him some garlic bread to dredge in it.

I’m starting with packaged chicken stock, but cooking the chicken in that stock for a double punch of chicken flavor, and I’m not removing the skin from the chicken, because —chicken fat! You can’t overestimate the importance of chicken fat in your soup for flavor. Then, I’m using a combination of brown basmati and wild rices, cooked in the stock, so they soak up all that flavor and do some thickening.

I used 3 chicken thighs, bone-in skin-on, and 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. While it was a lot of meat, it was just fine for the 2+ quarts of soup.

Creamy Chicken Rice Soup

  • Servings: makes 2 quarts
  • Difficulty: easy
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Stock and chicken:

3 large chicken thighs, with skin and bones, browned in 1 tablespoon bacon fat

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 large carrot, cut in large chunks

1 large yellow onion, with skin, cut in half

top of large celery bunch, about three inches, including leaves

2 quarts chicken stock, packaged or homemade

1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

  1. Brown chicken thighs in 1 tablespoon bacon fat in large stock pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken breasts and continue to simmer the thighs in the stock, covered, for another 30 minutes.
  4. Remove thighs. Strain stock and return to pot.
  5. Pull the chicken into rough shreds or cut uniformly while the rice cooks.

Rice:

1 cup brown basmati rice

1/4 cup wild rice

tender heart of celery bunch (about 1 1/2 cups), including leaves, thinly sliced

3-4 carrots, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

about 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

  1. Bring strained stock to boil and stir in rices and vegetables.
  2. Reduce to simmer, cooking. covered, for about 45 minutes or until done.

Finishing soup:

pulled chicken (about 4 cups)

2 cups heavy cream

Optional: about 1 cup frozen corn

salt & pepper to taste

  1. Add chicken to simmering stock; return to simmer.
  2. Add cream, salt & pepper to taste, and corn, if using. Return to simmer, cooking until heated through, especially if you added frozen corn.
  3. If you prefer a thicker gravy, here are some tips from The Kitchn on ways to thicken soup: http://www.thekitchn.com/soups-on-7-ways-to-make-any-so-106057

 

Apricot Walnut Stuffed Chicken Roll

I just had to know if that other method of de-boning a chicken/turkey, the one where you start at the breasts and work around to the back, was any better than the one where you start at the backbone, and I’m glad I tried it before Thanksgiving, because I now know not to use it on the turkey. I’ll stick with the traditional method of starting at the backbone. See videos of the two methods here: Turkey Planning or Am I Crazy? I didn’t have any trouble taking the carcass out and keeping the skin intact, but I ended up creating two holes trying to get the wing bones out. I had a terrible time getting the leg bones out, as well, something that wasn’t hard in the other method. In addition, I don’t like how this method leaves the breast meat on the outside edges instead of mostly in the center. Yes, you can move the tenders to the center and butterfly the breasts to fill in empty spaces, but I found it easier in the other method.

Anyway, I decided to make this roll different from last week’s with a fruit and nut stuffing. I happened to have dried unsweetened apricots and walnuts on hand, so that seemed like a good way to vary the stuffing. I had already picked up a loaf of Pain de Campagne for the bread crumbs, and I always have celery and onion on hand. The stock from the carcass and other bones was simmering on the stove, so it was easy to put together while the de-boned chicken rested in the fridge.

This time, I set up a large cutting board in a sheet pan lined with paper towels to keep the work mess contained. As you can see, it all worked out, and the good news is that once stuffed and rolled up, it still makes a company-worthy main dish.

Apricot Walnut Stuffing

  • Servings: makes 3-4 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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I made this stuffing with fresh bread, because I like a soft crumb, but you can toast the crumbs in the oven to dry out and brown first, or you can use croutons.

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

1 large onion, diced

1 cup chopped celery, preferably from the innermost stalks with leaves

1 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage

about 5 cups bread crumbs, pulsed in the food processor until roughly chopped

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

salt & pepper to taste

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet. Stir in onion and celery, cooking until translucent.
  2. Stir in apricots, walnuts, and herbs to combine.
  3. Stir in bread crumbs or pour butter mixture over crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  4. Slowly add chicken stock to moisten stuffing mixture so that the crumbs are still distinct. You might not need all the stock, depending on the texture of your bread. Very fresh bread that has not been allowed to become stale will need a lot less stock. Also keep in mind that the apricots, even though dried, will release some moisture into the finished stuffing.
  5. Stuff your bird or pork chops or whatever meat you’re having, or place in buttered dish and bake at about 375° for 25 minutes or until browned.

I must say that I am the worst at slicing these rolls and have tried all kinds of knives. It doesn’t really matter, but it does annoy me. The larger turkey will have to cook longer, so maybe it will hold together better.

Cooking in Someone Else’s Kitchen

I’m off for a few days to visit my granddaughter and will be cooking in that familiar yet strange kitchen that is not my own, so I’m taking a few things to make it more mine and will just adapt to the rest.

I made some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, adapted from the Quaker©Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies” that everyone knows from their oatmeal boxes (I used an old-fashioned oat, not the quick oats). I just traded the cinnamon and raisins for some chocolate chips, mostly to keep me from eating them. Using a 2 teaspoon scoop, I got about six dozen cookies, so I could leave three dozen for my husband. Those are about half gone already!

I’m going to make some white bean chicken stew while there using two rotisserie chickens. I’m going to pick those up now and pull off the meat to store in the freezer so when I leave in the morning, they will stay cold in a cooler during the 8-hour drive. The great northern beans I’ll cook there, and take some pre-packaged chicken stock and baby spinach and carrots. I better take some garlic, just in case.

I don’t know what else I might make, but I’ll get some good cheeses—Parmesan and Gruyere and Fontina and cheddar. Might as well do a macaroni and cheese, but we’ll see.

It’s always nice to make a kitchen gift for your hostess, so I whipped up an apron this weekend. Since the hostess is just shy of three years old, it’s in an appropriately tiny size.

yellow_apron