A Catholic perspective on the world and all the good things therein, especially books and food. Literature cum chocolate is the order of the day at The Crockery.

Location: A Collegetown, Undisclosed Location, United States

No longer a graduate student, Teresa is now a professional know-it-all.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Blackeyed Chicken: More Experiments in Chili

Perhaps some of you are wondering: where has Teresa been this summer? The answer is that I've been travelling to visit relatives, go to retreats, etc. In a couple of weeks I'll be travelling to my first conference of the year. What larks! Guess I'll have to write that conference paper, eh? All of this travelling isn't bad (though it has made us sick a couple of times), but it has kept me from blogging much.

Now I'm back, with another "what's in the pot today?" post. What that means is that I'm going to tell you about the recipe before it's even done cooking; before, in fact, I know whether it's any good. A bold move? A stupid move? Perhaps, perhaps. The reason I do this is that I have more time for things like blogging in the mornings or around lunchtime. In the afternoons, I have to do "real work." In the evenings, by which time I will have actually sampled today's recipe, I am often either doing more work (as befits a night owl) or spending time with my husband (as befits a married woman). Since the mornings are my official goof-off time, that's what you'all get.

So, all that aside, what's in the pot today? Answer: My very first pot of white chili! This is indeed an historic day. I have made basic red chili -complete with tomatos and lots of chili powder- in the past, but I've never tried white chili. Here's how it all went down:

I've been longing to try white chili for some time. . . ever since the fatal day when I noticed the recipe on the back of a can of Great Northern Beans. Those beans have been sitting in our pantry for weeks, months even. We don't really use them for anything. We tried using them as a substitute for white kidney beans in our beloved kielbasa and beans dish, but it didn't work. They just don't have the right texture or taste. But they'd be perfect for white chili. . . or so I hope. Today's experiment will either fulfill all my hopes, or crush them, like so many invading ants in the catfood.

With white chili on my mind during my last grocery story run, I bought the second, and perhaps most vital bean: blackeyed peas. Now, people don't often put these in chili, but I think they should. Black eyed peas, with their contrasting markings, look good in chili, and they taste good, too. Or so I think. They make a good color contrast in "red" chilis or black bean chilis, but they also look good paired with plain white beans, such as Great Northern Beans or White Kidney beans. With black-eyed peas in hand, my plan was ready: we already had all of the other ingredients necessary. Here's the line-up:

Ingredient Line-up
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed
1 can of Great Northern Beans (or substitute white kidney beans)
1 can of unseasoned black-eyed peas (Remember, they're good luck, in some American subcultures. Or is that only on New Years' Eve?)
1 can of chicken broth
1 (4 oz.) can of diced green chilis
1 can of corn (optional; may also use 1 cup frozen corn)
1 small zucchini, diced (optional: I am probably not going to add this today, since I don't keep zucchini on hand, but I wanted you to consider all the vegetable possibilities)
about 1/2 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
salt to taste

Your Secret Instructions
1. Spray the liner of your medium-sized slow cooker with Pam or other cooking spray. Please, you'll be glad if you do!

2. Chop the chicken breast into roughly bite-sized pieces. Panfry in a tablespoon of olive oil until white on all sides. You may fry some of the onion with the chicken at this point.

3. Drain and rinse both cans of beans. Add to cooker.

4. Add all ingredients EXCEPT corn, zucchini and salt. Mix together as desired.

5. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. (Since the beans are canned, they do not need to be cooked longer than the other ingredients, nor do they need to be prepped by cooking on high.)

6. When there is still one hour to go (in other words, after about 5 hours), add the salt and optional corn and/or zucchini.

Will it be good? Only time will tell. In the meantime, credit goes to Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufman for their white chili recipe. Although I had already determined which main ingredients I was going to use before consulting the Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook, I turned to this slow cooker Bible to find out what spices go in white chili. Without Julie and Beth's help, I might still have known not to use much chili powder, but I'd never have known to put in that much oregano. Julie and Beth, I salute you! (Even though I rarely follow your recipes to the letter.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it will taste better next time you make it if you leave out the zucchini and use spinach instead.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Teresa H.T. said...

Spinach in chili? You jest!

11:50 PM  

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