Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Chili Night

After a break in the action, I was back in the kitchen again yesterday. Our new tv arrived yesterday and some friends came over to help Bo unbox and lift it. We invited them to stay for dinner (in my book, any excuse to have company!) I felt like making soup and since this is BIRTHDAY WEEK for Bo, he got to decide what he wanted.

He settled on a Chicken White Bean Chili. There is always a difference in opinions/cultures in our house when chili is made: I feel cornbread is called for, he thinks it should be eaten with rice. The plan was to have both, but at the last minute he decided he could do without rice this one time.

The chili was a hit for most. I was only slightly enamored with it, but then again I'm not a huge fan of chicken chili. I followed the recipe exactly except for using fresh serranos in place of the canned chilies. My changes will be in ().

Next comes the cornbread. Not difficult, right? I have made cornbread hundreds of times... when I went to the storage fridge to get my cornmeal, I discovered it was a coarse grind. Since that is what I had, I figured I would try it. I made a cornbread from the book Cornbread Gospels which has received rave reviews on the CLBB. What it looked/tasted like was something eggy with some cornmeal added. I wanted to try again, so I tried to grind the cornmeal in the blender and use a different recipe (just in case). This time I tried one from Cooking Light. Same outcome. Cornbread #2 also in the trash. At this point I am becoming frustrated - I DIDNT want rice with my cornbread! :) I opened a book I have called Breads of the Southwest. I found a recipe for Blue Corn Bread and since I knew I had a fine grind blue cornmeal, I decided this must be the one "meant to be". Luckily this one turned out right (since I was now out of eggs). It browned nicely and had the right texture. My only change was to sub yogurt for the sour cream.

Ive had cornbread with more depth of flavor before, but with a touch of honey added to the slice, it was a good side for the chili.

My last recipe of the day was pulled from Culinary in the Desert, which was adapted from Cooking Light. I am a huge fan of broccoli slaw and am always looking for a new one to try and this one did not disappoint! I figured we were having "fall foods" so I would round out the menu with this fall inspired dish.

Broccoli slaw is tossed with dried cranberries then dressed with a vinegar based sauce. After sitting for a few hours, I decided to drain some of the liquid off and add a touch of mayonnaise - not enough to taste, just to help bind. Just prior to eating, sliced tart apples and toasted pecans were added. This got 5 thumbs up and will be made again!

With this being BIRTHDAY WEEK, dinners at home aren't as prevalent, and with today being the BIG DAY, we will be having dinner out tonight. The party with friends will be Saturday complete with yummy Indian food and a cake. In the meantime:


White Bean and Chicken Chili (Adapted from All of You)

2 (15 oz.) cans white beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 whole bone-in chicken breasts (3 lb.)
Salt and pepper
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (4 oz.) cans roasted green chilies, drained (I used 2 fresh chopped serranos)
1 tablespoon ground cumin

Place beans and broth in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until beans are tender, 2 hours.

Warm oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken skin side down in skillet; cook until brown, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate; remove and discard skin. Drain all but 2 Tbsp. fat from skillet. Add onions and garlic; cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add onion mixture, chilies, 1 cup water and cumin to slow cooker. Stir; add chicken.

Cook on low for 6 hours, stirring twice. Remove 1 cup beans plus 1/2 cup liquid from slow cooker. Puree in a blender; return to slow cooker. Remove chicken, shred it and return to slow cooker. Spoon into individual bowls and serve

Yield: 6 Servings

Blue Corn Bread (Adapted from Breads of the Southwest)

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup fine grind blue cornmeal
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/4 cups sour cream (I used yogurt)
1/4 c corn oil (I used canola)
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9-in springform pan or pie plate.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and soda and salt. In another bowl whisk together the sour cream, oil and eggs. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just blended. The batter will be very thick. Take care not to overmix. Spoon the batter into the pan.

Bake 25-35 minutes or until golden around the edges and the top is dry and springy to the touch. a cake tester will come out clean. Let stand in the pan 15 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.

Broccoli, Cranberry, and Apple Slaw (Adapted from CL)

5 cups broccoli slaw
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse cracked black pepper
2 1/4 cups thinly sliced tart apples
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1. In a large bowl, toss together broccoli slaw and cranberries.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, sugar, white wine vinegar,
olive oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over broccoli mixture and toss gently to
coat. Cover and chill 2 hours. Mix in apple slices. Scatter the top with the
toasted pecans.

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