Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kitchen: The Sustenance

To make sure none of us starved to death while beating the kitchen into submission, I made Black Bean Soup (before the stove was removed) and BBQ Apricot Chicken in the slow cooker on Saturday.

Dramatically lit ingredients
Black Bean Soup

- Originally based on the Black Bean Soup recipe from The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook.  Best cookbook ever, everyone should have it.  It has never led me astray.

Bowl One:
1-2 onions, chopped fine
6 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1-2 habaneros, no seeds or veins, chopped fine[*]
The original recipe calls for 1 jalapeno, which is also super yummy.  Despite the peppers, this is not a particularly spicy soup.

Bowl Two:
Spices!  I pretty much change this everytime.
2 tsp Cumin
a few hearty shakes of coriander
a few hearty shakes of powdered red pepper
The original recipe called for 2 tsp of chili powder, which I promptly ran out of and keep forgetting to buy more of.

Dumping the last bits in.
Bowl Three:
3 cans black beans (rinsed) (I keep meaning to use dry bean and soak, etc, but I totally messed up the last batch)
1 can garbanzo beans (rinsed)
4 c. broth (one of those aseptic boxes is perfect).  Veggie if you want to keep it vegan/parve or chicken.
1.5 c hot water (Since I haven't managed to soak beans, I hear reserving the soak liquid adds lots of flavor and will be trying it)
1/2 tsp salt
The original recipe just called for black beans, but I like the garbanzo.

Standing by:
1 can of corn, drained

Seriously, note the gloves.  
You will be so much happier.
Bust out your stock/soup pot!  Throw some olive oil and heat it up, medium heat.  I end up using around a TBSP of oil, or more, but I so don't measure.  Once it's popping, dump in bowl one (onion, garlic, pepper) and cook until soft (5ish mins).  Dump in bowl two (spices) and stir.  Cook for another min.  Dump in bowl three, broth, hot water and salt.  Simmer for 20 mins or so.  It really doesn't hurt it if it goes on longer.

Now, I use an immersion blender (the stick thingys you just plop into the soup), but you could also just blend and return to the pot.  Or skip this step entirely, although I really like the texture and thickness it gives.  I blend it pretty completely, cause I don't like bits of onion, although I love the taste.
What you will be left with.

Dump in corn, let warm up for 5 mins.

Serve with a little cheese, or sour cream.  Some tortilla strips would be yummy.  mmmmm.

Reheats wonderfully in the crockpot the next day.

[*] Have you ever worked with hot peppers?  I cut them last of everything and then: Gloves.  There is nothing sadder than rubbing pepper juice on your nose.  Wash your board and knife right away, then peel off the gloves and trash.

Apricot BBQ Chicken
Originally based on a wings recipe from Crockpot 365. But I didn't want wings. And I changed the ratio completely.  Pretty much just based on the name.

2 packages of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (from CostCo, so about 10 thighs total).  Partially thawed, but would have been fine frozen.
1 jar of apricot jam (I think it was 19oz.)
Random BBQ sauce from my fridge (1 jars worth).
Dash of hot sauce (tabasco type thing)

Dump chicken in bottom of slow cooker.  Grab spatula and empty jam into pot.  Use jar as measure for bbq sauce[*].  Splash in hot sauce.  Stir.  Cook on low for 8 hours or until chicken is done.

Now, I think there is something wrong with my crockpot because on low it was boiling, and I thought I'd ruined it.  But it actually just caramelized on the chicken and was really good.  I do think it needed a little salt and probably a more hot sauce or something to cut the sweetness a little more.  Probably some chili powder or cumin to add a little more depth.

[*]  Since I live in NC now, I should be specific: NOT A VINEGAR BASED BBQ SAUCE.  Although that would probably totally work.


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