I’ve been under the weather this week. Needless to say I haven’t had my usual gusto for cooking, baking, etc. Luckily, I made an outstanding chili over the weekend. I also had the forethought to freeze half of it for one of those nights that I simply couldn’t muster the energy to make dinner.
This chili always receives nods of approval. Friends have commented favorably on the fall apart chunks of pork shoulder, the smoky flavor coaxed from a small smoked ham hock and some just like that it’s not your everyday bowl of chili.
This chili really holds its own. If you’re dairy-free, you won’t miss the cheese or sour cream. I highly recommend the green onion, cilantro and avocado topping for a bit of flare. You’d be surprised how the avocado lends its subtle flavor and creaminess to this dish.
PS – Did I mention already you can pretty much dump this in your slow cooker and have a hardy dinner in 5 hours?
PSS – I know the ingredient list looks long. If it’s any comfort, you probably already have half the ingredients (read: seasonings) in your pantry.
3 pound bone-in or boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 white onions, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces gluten free beer (such as Red Bridge)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
6 tomatillos, quartered
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans (I omitted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 smoked ham hock
pinch of sugar
Brown the pork shoulder pieces in 2 tablespoons of oil over medium to medium high heat, 5-10 minutes. The goal is to sear the meat and attain a nice brown color on the edges. You’re not trying to cook the meat through. Place in slow cooker.
Using the same pan you browned your meat in, saute the onion, bell pepper and garlic until slightly colored and softened. Add to slow cooker.
Pour beer into pan while still hot and scrape to release brown bits. Pour into slow cooker.
Add remaining ingredients from tomato paste through pinch of sugar. Gently stir to incorporate. Turn slow cooker to high and cook for 5 1/2 hours.
When done cooking taste and adjust seasoning. Remove and discard bay leaves and ham hock. Serve with toppings or freeze for later use.
* And/or the other usual suspects: cheese and sour cream
This clever little Italian dish couldn’t be easier to make or more down to earth: mix a few vegetables together, toss in some homemade croutons and drizzle with vinaigrette. Dinner is served. The homemade croutons take this from a wimpy side dish to a lovely, light meal. And who wouldn’t be impressed if you told them you were serving panzanella. It is all in the name!
GREEN BEAN PANZANELLA
About this recipe. I’ve made this 4 or 5 times in the last month and this version is my personal favorite. The possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to try a true fall version with butternut squash, brussel spouts, etc.
4-5 slices of gluten free sandwhich bread (or whole grain wheat bread if you’re not GF)
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 yellow bell peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces (see this post for how to)
1 lb. green beans or approximately 3 cups/handfuls, ends trimmed and chopped into bite size pieces
1 small shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
3-4 leaves of fresh basil, thinly sliced
1/3 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Place halved tomatoes on a lightly oiled baking sheet and roast 45 mins. until slightly shriveled and browned in places.
While tomatoes roast prepare the croutons. Cut the slices of bread into 1″ cubes. Heat 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil over medium low heat, add bread cubes and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, tossing frequently until browned, adding more olive oil or salt if necessary. Set aside to cool.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Add green beans and cook 1-2 minutes until bright green, but still crisp. Drain and run beans under water to cool.
Whisk together the vinaigrette.
Remove tomatoes from oven. Roast bell peppers at this point if you haven’t already.
Mix the roasted tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and sliced shallot together with the croutons, toss with vinaigrette, garnish with basil and serve immediately. Alternatively, the mixed veggies can be stored in the refrigerator up to 1 day and then tossed with the vinaigrette and croutons upon serving.
There is really no good excuse for not making brownies from scratch. I know box mixes sound convenient, but really, you still have to add eggs, oil, and mix it all up. I’m willing to wager that this recipe comes together just as quickly and the texture/flavor combo is dead nuts. DEAD NUTS!! I’m afraid my pics aren’t doing them justice. Notice the thin flaky crust on top, the dense fudgy center and the quintessential cracks in the photo below. These are the real deal.
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
The trick is to not overcook the batter. Also, I like to freeze the finished product about 20 minutes before cutting into squares. That way you don’t get the gooey buildup on your knife. Enjoy.
3 T. sorghum flour *
3 T. brown rice flour, plus more for dusting
1 T. potato starch
1 T. tapioca starch
1/4 t. xanthan gum
generous pinch of salt (less than 1/4 t.)
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips or a 3 oz bar, chopped
6 T. ghee, Spectrum organic shortening, or butter (I used half ghee, half coconut oil)**
1/2 C. plus 2 T. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 375. Oil an 8×8 dish or pan or cake pan. Dust with rice flour, tap out excess, set aside.
Whisk together flours, xanthan gum and salt. Set aside.
Melt chocolate and 6 T. of ghee/coconut oil/butter in a heat proof bowl (I prefer glass), set over a small pot of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove melted mixture from heat to cool slightly.
Mix brown sugar and eggs with an electric mixer on high for 2-3 minutes. Turn to low and slowly add the melted chocolate until incorporated. Add the vanilla. Add flour mix and continue to beat until just combined.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake 20-30 minutes until top has cracked and the center is just set. Mine took about 23 minutes. Cool and freeze 20 minutes to cut into squares.
* Replace the gluten-free flours with an equal amount (1/2 C.) of all-purpose flour if you’re not gluten-free, omit the xanthan gum.
** I use Spectrum unrefined coconut oil. It smells slightly of coconut, as it should. I’m wary of the “refined” coconut oils.