Beef · CrockPot · Recipes

Spring Fling: Short Rib Chili

Spring is here, spring is here! Well… sort of. In between glorious bits of sunshine, it’s still a little chilly which makes chili the perfect choice for dinner!

We picked up some beautiful boneless short ribs the other day, but I’m mixing it 50/50 with beef stew meat for a slightly more budget-friendly meal. This spicy hearty chili is a great option for weekend camping trips too (we usually make chili ahead of time and then reheat it in cast iron). And let me just say, these pictures may not be great, but the chili was amazing (seal of approval from The Boyfriend too).

For this recipe, you will need:
crockpot/slow cooker
non-stick pan
blender

Ingredients: 
~ 1.25 lb boneless beef short ribs
1 lb beef stew meat
2 cans (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (16oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (7oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1.5 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove elephant garlic (or 3-5 cloves garlic)
3 dried chili peppers
2 tsp extra dark cocoa powder
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp avocado oil (olive or coconut is fine)

Seasoning: 
4 tsp ancho chili powder
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt / to taste

Add one can of diced tomatoes and liquid to the crockpot. With the other can of diced tomatoes, drain the liquid first (do not rinse) and add to the pot. Drain and rinse beans until water runs clear, add beans to the crockpot. Remove stems and seeds from dried chili peppers and combine in blender cup with one full can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Blend pepper mixture for about one minute or until it resembles a uniform paste and add to the crockpot. Add 2 tsp extra dark cocoa powder, 2 tsp salt, and 2 tsp ancho chili powder to the crockpot mix.

Using a sharp knife, finely chop elephant garlic clove (also called elephant toes) or 3-5 cloves normal-sized garlic. Set aside in a bowl with the chopped onion. Add 2 tsp each of oregano, cumin, and ancho chili powder to the onions and garlic.

One clove of elephant garlic vs a whole head of "regular" garlic
One clove of elephant garlic vs. a whole head of “regular” garlic

Pre-heat oil in a non-stick pan on high-heat. While the pan is heating up, dice the ribs and stew meat into ~1/2 cubes – they do not at all have to be uniform in shape, just similar in size. You want the pieces to be small enough that they are “bite size” but big enough that they can still be shredded later on. Add meat to the pan, in batches if necessary, and cook for 3-5 minutes on one side only to sear the meat and lock in some flavor. Add all of the meat to the crockpot.

In the same pan, add the onion-garlic-spice mixture and cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and the onions have softened slightly. Add this to the crockpot.

Add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, stir to mix everything together, and set crockpot on low for 7-9 hours. If you don’t want to wait that long, try cooking on high for 3-5 hours checking periodically to make sure it doesn’t burn. If you find that the chili has let off a lot of liquid, you can crack the lid a little bit to let some of the liquid evaporate. I personally prefer a thicker chili (as opposed to more liquid) so we usually crack the lid for half the cooking time.

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Serve immediately – as is, with chopped raw onion on top, with guacamole, or with grilled veggies.

Store in the fridge up to three days.

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Date Night · Poultry · Recipes

“Quiet Game” Hen

*Moving to Oregon: 16 days*

What started out as a half-assed attempt to make Maggie Beer’s Chicken Parcels (The Boyfriend and I are working through a MasterChef Australia addiction) turned into this much simpler (and faster) recipe, with a lot less sugar. Thankfully, still came out delicious. Cornish Game Hens are an excellent quick fix for dinner, but don’t expect any leftovers – these tiny birds are personal-size.

I called this recipe the “Quiet Game” hen because when I put these babies down on the table… The Boyfriend and I didn’t say a word until all that was left was a pile of bones. Deeelicious (and perfect for “grown-ups only” date night). If you don’t have a roasting rack, I would really recommend getting one – just using a pan will lead to burnt or soggy skin on the bottom of the bird, and we want an even golden-brown all around. I should also point out the importance of a meat thermometer, they are really cheap and will take all the guesswork out of the delicious meal you just prepared.

Ingredients: 
2 Cornish Game Hens
6 oz baby bella mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove elephant garlic (or 3 cloves garlic), finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) grass-fed butter
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
Non-stick cooking spray

Seasoning:
3 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stem
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1 tsp Cocky Cajun Seasoning

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Pre-heat oven to 375*F (first make sure the oven is empty, this is how The Boyfriend melted my egg man). Line the roasting pan with foil, spray rack with non-stick spray.

Thoroughly wash mushrooms under cold water, pat dry and finely chop. In a non-stick pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, mushrooms, and thyme leaves to the pan. Sautee on medium heat until onions and mushrooms begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the turmeric to the pan and mix well. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup water with 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon) and use this mixture to deglaze the pan. Continue simmering the mixture until the liquid reduces by half, approximately 7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. This will be the stuffing for your hens.

Carefully rinse hens under cool water, removing giblet bag, and making sure not to splash onto your counter – if you do, remember to wipe with Clorox or other germ-killing wipe/spray when cleaning up. Pat hens dry and set on cutting board. Remove any large pieces of fat, there are usually some on either side of the tail, but they peel off pretty easily and don’t require much knife work.

Room temperature butter is great, but if it’s right out of the fridge, heat in a microwave-safe bowl for about 10 seconds or until soft, but not liquid. Add salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning to the butter and mix well. Cover each bird with a coat of the butter mixture – inside, outside, under the skin, get it everywhere. Combine any remaining butter with the stuffing mixture and loosely stuff the cavity of each hen, I used about 4 tablespoons each. Any of the mixture that was left over, I spread on top of the bird, it came out really nice and crispy and kept the meat extra moist.

Carefully place the hens on the greased roasting rack so that the stuffing does not fall out and roast in the oven for approximately one hour or until internal temperature reaches 165*F.

Serve immediately with side of choice. Utensils optional. Enjoy!

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Beef · CrockPot · Lamb · Recipes

Lamburger Chipotle Chili

So many peppers!
So many peppers!

*Moving to Oregon: 17 days*

It is absolutely freezing today, so it’s safe to assume that I’m craving chili. Since we’re in the throes of vide le congélateur (empty the freezer), I decided to whip up something new instead of grocery shopping for North Philly Chili that I made a few weeks ago. While this recipe has a few more “specialty” ingredients, this batch is a bit thicker and richer, just what I wanted today! I really do love my crock pot.

Don’t tell The Boyfriend, but I actually used a pre-mixed pouch of herbs and seasoning today. With all-natural Lysander’s Original Chili Seasoning and Rick Bayless’ Chipotle Garlic Skillet Sauce, this chili packs a ton of flavor and a nice little kick of lingering heat. I purchased both products at local stores like Di Bruno’s and even found the skillet sauce at Wal-Mart, but you can find them online too.

Ingredients: 
1 lb ground lamb
2 lbs 80/20 ground beef
7 oz tomato paste
1 packet Chipotle Garlic Skillet Sauce
1 15-oz can black beans
4 hot peppers (I used 2 Serrano, 1 jalapeño, and 1 cayenne)
1.5 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 large clove elephant garlic (or 3-4 cloves regular garlic), finely chopped
2 tbsp grass-fed unsalted butter e.g. Kerrygold (olive oil is okay too)

Seasoning:
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp Lysander’s Original Chili Seasoning
1 tbsp Cocky Cajun Seasoning
1 tsp Chipotle Powder

In a large stock pot, melt the butter on medium-high heat and add all three pounds ground meat. Stir occasionally until most of the meat is cooked through and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, chipotle garlic sauce, and 2 tsp salt to the pot and stir well. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 more minutes. Dump all contents of the pot into your slow cooker.

Finely chop the garlic and onion, half and thinly slice the peppers, and add to the crock pot. Using a colander, rinse beans under cold water until water runs clear. Drain beans and add to crock pot. Add Lysander’s chili seasoning, Cajun seasoning, and chipotle powder to the slow cooker and stir well.

Set crock pot on low setting and cook for at least 2 hours (up to 4), stirring occasionally. Serve with guacamole, chopped raw onions, or other topping of choice. Enjoy!

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