Tag Archives: ground cumin

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

My favorite way to use the slow cooker is on the high setting, where I can count on meats not being dried out and flavorless. That’s what I find happens when you cook meat for 8-10 hours while you are at work. Soups and dried bean recipes do well for the long cooking, but even then any added meats are usually overcooked, unless you have a large piece like a pork shoulder. So, I’ve found a number of recipes that cook up in 3-5 hours, like my Butter Chicken/Pheasant recipe, that takes care of the delicate little pheasant breasts. Of course, I’m retired, so I can make use of the shorter cooking times any day of the week.

This slow cooker pulled chicken is a variation of the slow cooker pulled pork recipe originally from Chowhound. Here are the few changes I’ve made to accommodate chicken:

  1. I cut back the cinnamon in the rub to 1/2 teaspoon
  2. I rubbed the chicken pieces with the rub and let them marinate in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for about 4 hours
  3. I only used one onion and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, because I only used 5 boneless chicken thighs

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Rub:
    • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Preparation

  1. Place the chicken and rub in a large plastic bag, seal, and turn to coat all pieces well. Refrigerate for about 4 hours or even overnight.
  2. In the crock of a slow cooker, place the onions, garlic, and chicken broth. Place the chicken pieces on top and close the lid.
  3. Cook on high for about 4 hours. Pull the chicken apart in the crock and mix well with the onions and broth.
  4. Pile meat on buns and serve your favorite way, which for us is with a creamy slaw.

Pork Tenderloin: Two Spanish Dishes

I had one of those packages of two pork tenderloins, about 3 pounds, and I didn’t feel like just using one and freezing the other, because I’m all about the cook once, eat twice way of cooking when I can, so I can do other things, like finish the pirate costume for my granddaughter that you can read about on my sewing blog. I almost didn’t get to the second meal on this trip, though, as the first dinner was so good, my husband went back for more. But it’ll work out because the second dinner is one where a smaller amount of meat can be stretched.

The first meal was Spanish-Style Pork Kabobs from the Weber Grilling site, without the onion and peppers, and substitutes of rice vinegar for sherry vinegar and ground chipotle for cayenne. I think I cut my chunks a little larger than the original, but the important thing was the marinade, which set up the meat for the second meal of Spanish Rice. Sometimes it’s hard to find marinades or sauces for grilling that aren’t sweet, but this one scores on that point. In addition, it has that splash of vinegar that brightens up a spicy dish.

You can follow the link above for the specifics, but it’s really just 3 steps: marinate, skewer, and grill. Here are the ingredients for the marinade, with my substitutions:

  • ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced or grated
  • ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper

The second meal is a Spanish Rice made with tomatoes from our garden, roasted poblano peppers from our friend Greg, and the remaining grilled pork, shredded. Spanish rice is one of those dishes that is often simply an accompaniment to a meal, but it becomes a main dish with the addition of meat. Technically a Mexican recipe, not a version of the Spanish Paella, I’m going to slip in a pinch of saffron for a nod to that famous Spanish dish. The marinade used for the pork kabobs has the flavors I’m looking for, but there won’t be enough on the cooked meat to flavor the rice, so I’ll be adding a little more of some of the original marinade ingredients.

Spanish Rice with Pork Tenderloin

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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The time depends on the kind of rice you use and how quickly it cooks.

12 oz cooked pork tenderloin, shredded (about 1-2 cups)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup long grain rice (mine was Jasmine), rinsed

about 8 small-medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and pulsed in a food processor

1 tablespoon garlic, minced or grated

3 roasted poblano peppers, peeled and seeded

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 pinch saffron threads

1 teaspoon salt

chicken stock to make about 2 1/2 cups of liquid with the tomatoes

  1. Rinse and drain the rice and set aside to dry a bit.
  2. Heat olive oil in large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent, then add rice and continue sauteing and stirring until the rice is well coated with oil and crackling in the pan.
  3. Add tomatoes, mashing them in the pan as they heat. Cook the tomatoes until all the water evaporates or is absorbed by the rice. This gives the rice a head start in cooking.
  4. Stir in the garlic, peppers, and spices.
  5. Stir in the shredded pork.
  6. Add enough chicken stock to make about 2 1/2 cups total liquid. In the end, I used about 1 1/2 cups chicken stock before the rice was done.
  7. Cover and simmer until the rice is done, which could be anywhere from 15 to 45 more minutes, depending on your rice. I have had rice that will not cooperate, so I’m not going to be too prescriptive about the time here. I don’t know how or why it works, but if you have exhausted the cooking time and your rice is not tender, turn off the heat and let it steam, covered, for 15 minutes and it will usually be done.

Spicy Braised Beef Tacos with Cilantro Pesto

I had in mind some fabulous beef tacos I had a few years ago in a restaurant called Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar, near Cleveland, Ohio. A faculty member treated me for having helped her with some technology for her courses. It was more than a fair trade. I have no idea how the soft taco filling was actually made, but the memory was at least an inspiration for me.

I chose to braise the beef chuck roast on the stove, because I didn’t want to turn on the oven. I have my eye on a cast iron dutch oven for making such things on the grill, but while it’s still on my wish list, the stovetop will do. It’s a toss up as to whether the beef or the pesto was the hit of meal, or maybe it was the combination. Either way, I think these tacos are going on the menu of favorites.

Spicy Braised Beef Tacos with Cilantro Pesto

  • Servings: about 8 soft tacos
  • Difficulty: time-consuming
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Spicy Braised Beef

3 lb chuck roast

olive oil for browning

13 oz crushed tomatoes

up to 1/2 cup water or beef broth, as needed

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (canned chipotle in adobo sauce would be good, too)

1/2 teaspoon salt for cooking sauce

salt & pepper for seasoning beef

  1. Heat a dutch oven over medium-high to high heat. Add 2-3 tablespoon olive oil, then brown the seasoned chuck roast on both sides.
  2. Add the garlic and spices to the pan next to the roast and stir for a few seconds, but watch that none of them burn.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes and as much water as you think you need to keep the sauce moist for about 3 hours of simmering. I suppose it depends on the quality of your crushed tomatoes. Some crushed tomatoes seem very watery or saucy, and some are very thick and full of tomato chunks. I needed about 1/2 cup of beef broth.
  4. Bring the sauce to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer for about 3 hours, until the meat pulls apart easily.
  5. Remove the meat to a platter or board, and pull apart. Strain out the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and add to the pulled beef.

Cilantro Pesto

2 bunches cilantro tops, cleaned and dried

1/2 cup parsley (I used my frozen, chopped parsley)

1 red onion, roasted on the grill

3 jalapeño peppers, roasted on the grill, peeled, and seeded

1 bulb roasted garlic

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup Cotija or Parmesan cheese, grated

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

*Keep in mind that roasting garlic, onion, and jalapeño produces a milder taste than the fresh versions, which may be too strong for some tastes. If you aren’t going to roast them, you might adjust the amounts to your taste.

  1. I put everything but the oil into a food processor and processed until it was all finely blended.
  2. While the processor is running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube until the pesto is blended.
  3. Store in the refrigerator to serve with all kinds of meats, especially in tacos.
Putting the tacos together:

Soft taco shells

Shredded cabbage—red looks nice

Spicy braised beef

Cilantro pesto

Crumbled queso fresco

Build the tacos in the order above. That was easy.

Venison Skewers

This is where venison comes from
This is where venison comes from

That was the last package of venison cubes from my fall muzzleloader deer. All the ground meat is gone, too. There is one package of backstrap left and maybe I will save it for the grill if this winter will ever end. Thank you little deer for feeding us this winter.

These skewers would be good for an appetizer or as the main meat dish. Serving size depends on the purpose as well as the size of each skewer. I think I put about 6-8 small cubes on each skewer. I don’t know if you can tell from the photos, but we cut our cubes on the small side, around an inch. I cooked them in the oven, but they would be great on the grill.

Venison Skewers

  • Servings: 1-3 skewers per person, depending on size and purpose
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°

Line a baking pan with non-stick foil.

1-1.5 lbs cubed venison

wooden skewers

dry rub

Prepare dry rub marinade. Combine the following:

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. In mixing bowl, coat venison cubes with dry rub and set aside while soaking the skewers.
  2. Soak wooden skewers in water for thirty minutes while venison is marinating in dry rub.
  3. Skewer the venison according to your desired portion size and place on baking sheet.
  4. My small cubes were done in about 10 minutes. Larger cubes will obviously take longer, but you need to gauge your desired doneness, as well. Venison is very lean and you don’t want it to dry out. If you are using beef cubes from a cut like chuck, you can cook them longer without that fear. I might add oil to the dry rub if cooking on a grill or at least oil the grill grate.