January 28, 2016
Aunt Suzy says . . .
We love making this recipe for White Chili, something I learned when I moved to Minnesota 20+ years ago. It’s in both of our regular rotations in the fall/winter season. So it caught my attention when my friend Ruth brought a different version of “white” chili to a gathering recently. I thought it was delicious so asked her to share the recipe. This variation on white chili is from the Neelys, a couple I enjoy seeing on their Food Network show. They are a lot of fun to watch cook as they share recipes for good home cooking. “White” is stretching it a little with this recipe which uses ground red chili, but it is a close relative of our original and I think it’s delicious. We served it with Harvey Cornbread and a “winter ale”. What did you and your family think, Margaux?
Margaux says . . .
I think this is my new favorite chili recipe! I love how easy it was to make, because I used canned beans and a rotisserie chicken, which made it a snap. It was also very easy to adapt for my vegetarian: I made it with vegetable broth, and then took out a couple of servings for my veggie son, and then added the chicken for the rest of us. One thing I did differently than the recipe was mashing 1/4 cup of the beans before adding them to the chili as a thickener…I found it to be a little soupy for my family. We like our chili thick. We also like to load our chili up, too, so I served it with sour cream, shredded Monterey jack, chopped avocado, and crushed tortilla chips. It was a hit!
Chicken and White Bean Chili
1 3/4 cups dried white beans OR 2 small (14.5 ounce) cans -navy, great northern or cannelini (AS used dried navy beans, M used canned cannelini)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced
2 medium poblano peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2-1 chipole chili in adobo sauce, rinsed and chopped
4-6 cups chicken broth (mock chicken broth, Better than Bouillon no chicken broth or vegetable broth for vegetarian)
juice of 2 limes
2-3 cups cooked chicken, cubed, omit for vegetarian
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Sliced avocado, optional
Sour cream, optional
Crushed corn chips, optional
Directions – preparation
If using dried beans, brine/soak the beans: Dissolve 2 tablespoons salt in 3 quarts of cold water. Add the beans and soak overnight. Alternatively, you can bring the beans, salt and water to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Less time for smaller beans, more for larger. In either case, drain the beans and rinse well. Set aside.
If using canned beans: Drain and rinse the beans. Set aside.
Blend the spices: Put the cumin, coriander and ground chili in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Set aside.
Prepare the chicken: If using rotisserie chicken, take the meat off the bone and remove the skin. Or bake 1 or more chicken breasts (skin-on/bone-in) at 375 for 40 minutes. Let cool, then take meat off the bone and remove the skin. In either case, shred or cut into cubes for desired amount. AS used the meat from one (largish) chicken breast which equaled 2 cups. M used meat from one small rotisserie chicken which also equaled 2 cups.
Directions – making the soup
Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat and add the oil. When shimmering, add the onions and peppers and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two and then add the spice blend plus the chipotle pepper. Stir for a minute or so to toast the spices. Stir in the broth and the beans. Stir to blend, bring to a boil then turn down the heat to simmer. If using dried beans, simmer for 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the bean until cooked firm, but not mushy. Start checking at 20 minutes and then check every 10 minutes thereafter. (The navy beans were cooked in 30 minutes.) If using canned beans, simmer 20-30 minutes. In either case, you can mash or blend part of the beans to create a thicker chili, per Margaux’s message above.
Taste the soup. Add salt and black pepper to taste and adjust the spices if necessary. Stir in the lime juice and chicken and bring back to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.
Directions – serving the soup
Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Pass the cilantro and lime wedges, along with the sour cream, crushed corn chips and/or avocado slices if using.
December 20, 2015
It’s winter! Time for soups and stews. This one from our local newspaper caught my eye because Beth Dooley, creator the this recipe, is one of our local food/cooking gems here in the Twin Cities. Also, this looked so different from the soups I’ve been making with a mirepoix base. While some ingredients are familiar – squash, beans, tomatoes and kale – others sounded exotic in a soup – za’atar, orange zest and juice. Randy and I both loved this – we could hardly stop eating it! The recipe says it serves 4-6, but honestly after one meal we only had a tiny portion left for my lunch the next day. I will probably double the ingredients next time I make it. I was excited that I met Beth yesterday at one of our local indoor winter farmers markets and was able to tell her how much we liked this soup.
Here’s Beth’s note from the article in the Strib: “Note: Think of this recipe as a series of suggestions; you can add other vegetables you have on hand, substitute chickpeas for white beans, try winter squash in lieu of pumpkin. Toss in leftover turkey or chicken and call it stew. The za’atar blend of spices can be found in the spice aisle of many grocery stores, culinary shops and food co-ops. From Beth Dooley.” Check out Beth’s website for more about her and see all the great cookbooks she’s authored. A new book, a memoir, has just come out!
And here’s my note: I’ve been obsessed with using dried beans in soups these days following the Cook’s Illustrated brining method, so I’ve made some adaptations to Beth’s original which uses canned. If you want to take the quick and easy route, you can do so with Beth’s approach in her recipe. I won’t judge 🙂 (This makes me laugh because when making this soup, I texted my blog partner “I’m kicking myself for using dried beans instead of canned!”) Actually, this was pretty quick and easy using the dried beans, it just took the extra step to brine/soak them.
Serves 4 to 6.
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2-4 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
1 to 2 tablespoons za’atar (see Beth’s note)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Generous pinch red pepper flakes
4 cups chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
1 cup brined dried cannelinni or red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices (1 1/2 cups)
3 cups roasted kabocha or butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup chopped parsley
grated orange zest from 1 medium orange (or to taste)
juice from half the medium orange (or to taste)
2 cups thinly sliced kale
Brine the beans: Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts of cold water. Add the beans and soak overnight or up to 24 hours. Alternatively, you can bring the beans, salt and water to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit for 1 hour. In either case, drain the beans and rinse well.
Prepare the squash: Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. I used Kabocha squash of the orange variety, but green Kabocha, butternut or pumpkin would be excellent in this recipe. Whichever you use, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Slice into 1-inch slices. Line a baking sheet with foil and then put a skim of vegetable oil on the foil. Place the squash slices on the foil and turn to coat both sides with the oil. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees, turn the squash over using tongs and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Let cool. Remove the skin with a knife and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside. (This step can be done up to 2 days ahead of making the soup.)
Make the soup: In a deep stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil and sauté the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute till fragrant. Add the Za’atar, red pepper, salt and black pepper. Stir for a minute or two till fragrant.
Add the stock and the dried beans. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to low and simmer, covered, until the beans are done. This can vary depending on type and freshness of the beans you use from 30-60 minutes. I checked after 30 minutes and the cranberry beans I used were cooked through.
Stir in the squash and the tomatoes with their juices and continue simmering for about 10 minutes to blend the flavors.
Stir in the orange zest and juice, and parsley and continue simmering another 5 minutes until the flavors meld. Adjust the seasonings and add the kale before serving hot.
February 1, 2013
Aunt Suzy says . . .
We are having a real Minnesota winter this year! A recent Sunday plunged to minus 14 degrees F, necessitating a hearty and warming stew. I spied this recipe on The Bitten Word blog, saw that it was their take on a Cook’s Illustrated recipe and was sold! It’s one of those recipes from Cook’s where they have experimented with many different methods to come up with the perfect approach. For this one, the recommendation was to brine the beans overnight and to cook slowly in the oven to achieve a creamy stew in which the beans remain mostly whole. We love Cook’s scientific approach to things here at S&SK and so jumped on this recipe. It turned out as promised! Margaux and I both cooked this, as well as my brother John, so we have lots of experience and opinions to share on this stew. We may have diverged a little on ingredients or methods, but one thing we all three have in common is that we thought this was delicious!
Margaux says . . .
The whole family loved this stew…even my 4-year-old, who has recently decided he is a picky eater. But picky in a way most kids are not…he’ll refuse to eat his mac & cheese, and instead gobble down a salad. And lately, anything I make that has everything “mixed together,” ie., stews, soups, casseroles, etc…basically everything I make in the winter…is deemed inedible. Or as he says, “gross.” But I thought I might have a “win” on my hands here, with beans, sausage and carrots included in the ingredients (some things on the “ok” list), and I was right.
Something I will say about this stew, is that if you have a big client meeting the next morning, or are going on a date the next night, I would definitely cut back on the garlic. We love garlic in our house, but even for us, 8 cloves was a lot. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious! And I’ll make it the same way again next time. But just a warning…your date may wonder if you’re trying to fend off vampires if you eat this the night before. 🙂
Brining the Beans
2 cups dried cannellini beans, picked over and rinsed
3 tablespoons salt (sea salt or table salt, not kosher)
4 quarts cold water
Dissolve the salt in the water in a large bowl or pot. Add the beans and soak overnight or up to 24 hours. Drain the beans and rinse thoroughly. Set aside for use in the stew.
Making the Stew
3/4-1 pound of sweet Italian sausage (casings removed or bulk if available)
2 tablespoons EV olive oil
1 large onion, medium dice (1 1/2-2 cups)
2 celery ribs, medium dice (about 3/4 cup)
2 carrots, peeled and diced medium (about 1 cup)
8 medium garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press or crushed with a knife blade
4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
3-4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 small can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium head of Savoy cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
One sprig of fresh oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste (taste before adding salt)
Pre-heat the oven to 250°F. In a large Dutch oven, preferably cast iron, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage, breaking up into small pieces with a spatula or wooden spoon. When browned, remove from the pot and place on paper towel. Set aside.
Add the remaining olive oil to the pot and turn heat down to medium. Add the onions, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally until softened and lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook till fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the stock, water, bay leaves and soaked beans. Increase heat to high and bring to a bubble. Cover the pot and place on a rack in the lower middle of the pre-heated oven. Cook for about 45 minutes or so, until beans are just softened but slightly firm in the center. Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the reserved sausage, cabbage and tomatoes. Place back in the oven and cook for another 30-45 minutes or so, until the cabbage is tender.
Remove pot from the oven and submerge the oregano sprig in the stew. Cover and let stand 20-30 minutes. Remove the oregano and bay leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a little drizzle of olive oil if desired and a nice crusty bread.
COOK’S NOTES – Aunt Suzy:Ingredients The original recipe called for 1 1/2 pounds of sausage. I used 1 pound (of turkey sausage) and thought it was still too much, although I prefer meat in recipes like this for flavoring vs. a main ingredient. I used 3 cups of water, but my stew came out very thick so I think I’ll try 4 cups next time I make it. Adjust meat amount and liquid to your preferences. I used a garlic press for my garlic, which I think resulted in a less garlicky result than Margaux described; she crushed the garlic with a knife blade (although I love garlic, so I might try that one day!). Regular green cabbage can be substituted if you can’t find Savoy. The original CI recipe called for pancetta and kale – I think we need to try that one also! Methods I learned 3 things from this recipe: 1) The brining made for ultra-creamy beans as promised, 2) Cooking in the oven at a low temp made for beans that did not break apart, and 3) Adding tomatoes later in the cooking process insured that the skins of the beans were not tough.
COOK’S NOTES – Margaux: I made this on a weeknight, but I prepped everything ahead of time on Sunday, so it made it very quick and easy. Otherwise, this is one that I would probably make on a weekend, because it does take awhile, and you have to remember to do the beans the night before, etc. So I soaked the beans, chopped the cabbage, carrots, onion and celery, and had them all stored in the fridge and ready for Tuesday night. Also, I only used 3 cups of water instead of 4, as we like our stews less brothy around here.