Slow-Cooker Chicken Mole

I’m such an idiot. I’m having to throw away the 2.5 chicken breasts in this photo because I forgot to put the plate in the fridge after it cooled last night. Good bye lunch that I was looking forward to all morning.

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This was the best dish I’ve made in the slow cooker yet. It only took 2.5 hours on high and was oh so satisfying. I’ll be making it again very soon.

Slow-cooker mole chicken, courtesy of Martha Stewart

  • 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 12)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed
  • 1 large chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Season chicken thighs with salt and place in a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker. In a blender, puree tomatoes, onion, ancho and chipotle chiles, almonds, raisins, chocolate, garlic, oil, cumin, and cinnamon until smooth. Add tomato mixture to slow cooker, cover, and cook on high until chicken is tender, 4 hours (or 8 hours on low). Enjoy!

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Beans and soup

This time last week I was walking around the Presidio in San Francisco with a sunburned nose. This morning I walked to ballet class wearing three layers, a raincoat, gloves, and a wool hat. I’ve been mourning the loss of spring break and warm weather by hoarding my cabinet full of heirloom beans and researching soup recipes to make in the slow cooker. The apartment is freezing but at least it smells good!

I found The Gourmet Slow Cooker, Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World at the library next door and chose to make the Tuscan White Bean Soup using stock I made this week from a roasted chicken dinner. It was hearty, delicious, and even healthy. The recipe makes enough for 4-6 servings so I’ll be adding this to the freezer for late nights at school.

Ingredients:

2 cups dried white beans

6-8 cups water (I used homemade chicken stock)

1 carrot, peeled and firmly chopped

1 yellow onion, finely choped

1 celery stock, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 sprig thyme (I used dried)

1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes

Salt

4-6 TB olive oil, for garnish

Freshly grated Parm, for garnish

I soaked 2 cups of Rancho Gordo cannellini beans overnight, drained them this morning, and added them to the slow cooker. Cover with fresh water or broth and add the carrot, onion, garlic, thyme, celery, and tomatoes and stir well. You can also add a ham bone or parmesan rind to add more flavor. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours until the carrot and beans are very tender. Stir in salt to taste and remove the thyme. Garnish each serving with 1TB olive oil and a sprinkle of cheese. Yum!

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Pulled Pork with the Slow Cooker

Last night I tried my luck at making pulled pork in the slow cooker. While I was excited about the recipe, I’d never made anything like it before and wasn’t even sure what proper BBQ was supposed to taste like. I’ve always wanted to take a road trip through the south to sample all sorts of Southern delicacies like BBQ, grits, fried green tomatoes, seafood creole, and an authentic bananas foster. Someday…

One ingredient on the list perplexed me. Have you ever heard of liquid smoke? Yeah, me neither. Lucky for me, it wasn’t all that difficult to find. However, it was recently listed “potentially toxic” by the European Food Safety Authority (the EU version of the FDA and probably a lot more trustworthy as they aren’t married to industry like the FDA). So maybe this dish isn’t meant to be made on a regular basis. Fair enough.

Onto the good part… Our apartment smelled as though there was a mesquite BBQ blazing in the living room all afternoon. This is reason enough to make it again. The pork was very tender and pulled apart with minimal effort. We layered the meat on one half of a toasted wheat hamburger bun and added some of the juice and BBQ sauce to the top. In this way, we were able to eat two open-face pulled pork sandwiches. Divine! And now we have enough pulled pork to make sandwiches for days. Enjoy! (the original recipe can be found on the link at the beginning of the blog.)

Makes 12 to 14 servings

  • One 5- to 6-pound boneless Boston butt pork roast or same weight of boneless country-style pork ribs
  • 1/4 cup Cheater Basic Dry Rub (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup bottled smoke
  • Barbecue sauce of your choice

1. Cut the pork butt into medium (2- to 3-inch) chunks (the ribs don’t need to be cut up).

2. Put the pieces in a large slow cooker (at least 5 quarts). Sprinkle the meat with the rub, turning the pieces to coat evenly. Add the bottled smoke.

3. Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or on low for 10 to 12 hours, until the meat is pull-apart tender and reaches an internal temperature of 190 F.

4. Using tongs and a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a rimmed platter or baking sheet. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Pull the meat into strands. It should shred very easily. Serve the barbecue piled on buns with your favorite barbecue sauce.

5. To serve the barbecue later, cover and refrigerate the meat when it has cooled. Pour the meat juice into a separate container and refrigerate. Before reheating the juice, skim and discard the congealed fat layer on the top.

6. To reheat the barbecue, place it in a saucepan moistened with some of the reserved juice. Gently heat the meat on medium-low, stirring occasionally. Or, place it in a covered casserole with some of the reserved juice and heat in a 350 F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

7. While the meat warms, combine the barbecue sauce and some of the additional reserved meat juice in a saucepan. Heat through and serve with the barbecue.

For the rub:

Makes about 2/3 cup

  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard

1. Combine all the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to blend.

Corned Beef Goodness

Today I experienced the magic that is my slow-cooker. I put 4 lbs of corned beef in the slow-cooker along with some onions, spices, beer, and brown sugar and had a feast of a dinner with the boys when they returned from Mt. Baker tonight. I found the recipe in Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever that I borrowed from the library. I don’t actually remember ever having eaten corned beef but my grandmother tells me she made it often for my grandfather. She was surprised that I wasn’t making it with cabbage. When I came home from school this afternoon, I immediately thought of my Grammy’s house in that the smell brought me back to when I was a little girl staying over on weekends. While the taste wasn’t familiar, I definitely recall the smell. I served it over polenta triangles with steamed broccoli and a red lettuce salad from our CSA box. Yum!

Ingredients:

– 2 12 oz cans Guinness or other stout or dark ale

– 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

– 2 tsp mustard seeds

– 6 whole black peppercorns

– 1 bay leaf

– 2 allspice berries

– 3 large sweet onions sliced into ½ inch thick half rounds

One 3.5 – 4 lb corned beef, rinsed

Stir all ingredients together in a 5-7 quart slow-cooker. Add onions and top with the corned beef. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours (I did 9 and it was fine) until meat is fork tender. Remove the meat from the cooker, cover with foil, and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, peppercorns, and allspice berries from the cooking liquid. Thinly slice the brisket across the grain to serve.