Tuesday, January 1, 2013

And All Goes Well


Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse.  Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.  

A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.  
Some men become what they were born for. 

Sometimes our best efforts do not go 
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow 
that seemed hard frozen:  may it happen for you.

--Sheenagh Pugh

Happy New Year, Friends!  Such lovely sentiment in that poem.  I kept waiting for the BUT... but it never came.  Yay!  Such an apt message on the first day of the new year.  I tend to be a believer, anyway, that things tend to work out, but this poem is a good reminder, even for me.  

The fall came and went, the holidays blew by, and I am feeling just right on this January day, full of hope, full of inspiration.  The last few days have been welcome quiet for me and I have enjoyed them.  I made a whole bunch of new year's resolutions, too. One is to write more here, which ties in with another one--to make one new recipe a week, and then share it with you, along with a review of it, both by me and the children.  Doesn't that sound fun?  

Wasting no time, because that's the kind of gal I am on New Year's Day, I made the first new recipe tonight:  Black and White Chicken Chili from Cook's Country Best Lost Recipes. I love soups and want to try making lots of new ones.  I almost made chicken noodle instead, but then I remembered that I'm being more adventurous (another resolution!) and trying new recipes this year.  I am glad I did, too.  This is one tasty soup/chili/whatever.  Here is a picture of the finished product (this is not one of those blogs that shows photographs of every step; I think you can imagine what a pile of chopped onions looks like):
I topped it with cilantro and avocado, and although you can't see them, there are some tortilla chips in the bottom, for fun.  Here is the recipe, with my notes:

Black and White Chicken Chili
serves 4-6 

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 TBS olive oil
1 onion, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
4 (or more) cups chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 (8 oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained
garnish with cilantro, tortilla chips, avocado and sour cream, if you like!

Here's how the cookbook says to make it:
1.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 TBS of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high until just smoking. Cook the chicken until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Transfer chicken to a plate.
2.  Heath the remaining 1 TBS oil in the pot over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, cumin, oregano, and 1/2 tsp pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, scraping up any brown bits.  
3.  Return the chicken, along with any accumulated juices, to the pot.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the thickest part of the breasts registers 160-165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10-15 minutes.  
4.  Transfer chicken to plate.  When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces and return it to the chili; add the beans, corn, and chiles.  Return to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.  
5.  Off the heat, stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.  

Here's how I made it--serves more like 8-10 (I also threw in 3 chopped carrots and a can of pinto beans, plus another 4 cups of broth and a little more chicken).

1. Put the chicken on a foil-lined rimmed cookie sheet an drizzle with olive oil. Season with garlic & parsley seasoning, salt and a little pepper.  Bake at 375 for about 22 minutes--depending on how thick the chicken is.  Then cool and shred.
2.  While the chicken is baking, heat a couple glugs of olive oil over medium heat, in a Dutch oven.  Throw in the carrots and the onion and saute for about 10 minutes, until they begin to soften up.  
3. Now add the garlic, cumin, oregano, and a little more pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
4.  Add the broth (8 cups), beans(smash a few with your spoon to release starch and help thicken the soup), corn and chiles and bring up to a simmer, cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Throw in the shredded chicken during the last 5 minutes or so of cooking and voila!  
5.  Ladle into bowls and top with avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips, and or whatever appeals.  

The kids weren't here tonight, but we're having it for dinner tomorrow,  so I will update this after getting their feedback. I thought it was delish!
UPDATE:  Caroline said, "I love it!" and ate 2 bowls.
Jack said "YUM!" and ate 3 bowls!  
This recipe is a KEEPER!  

Happy New Year!

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