Black Bean and Corn Chili

I didn't have the chance to see whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this year or not, but based off the recent warm weather I was positive winter was over. I should have known that having our temperatures reach almost 60°F was too good to be true. Only a few days later Mother Nature decided to drop a few extra inches of snow on us, just to keep us on our toes. 

Since I'm one of those people who likes to see things on the sunny side, I prefer to think she did it so we had a few more weeks to gorge ourselves on comfort food. I've spent most of the winter chowing down on never ending pots of soup, with a few batches of black bean and corn chili chili thrown in for good measure. While I'm looking forward to having fresh vegetables again, I will certainly use any excuse possible to make another batch of something warm and comforting.

Chili is one of those meals I rely on when I know I'll be rushing around all day long because it's an easy meal to toss in the crock-pot before I leave in the morning. Added bonus: It freezes well so I always keep some on hand for those nights I don't feel like cooking. I may write about food for a living, but even I have nights when I'd rather spend the night on the couch with a good book, a warm blanket, and a meal I didn't have to stand in the kitchen cooking.

If that sounds like you, then make up a batch ASAP, but don't forget to pair it with some delicious Buttermilk Corn Bread. You really can't have chili without it, can you?

Black Bean and Corn Chili | Not Starving Yet

Black Bean and Corn Chili


makes 6 - 8 servings

 

Ingredients

 


1lb ground beef
½ yellow onion, diced
2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
3 (15oz) cans black beans
1 (14.5oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chilis
1 (12oz) package frozen black bean and corn blend (see notes)
1 Tablespoon chili powder

Directions

 

  • In a skillet, over medium-high heat, add ground beef and yellow onion. Cook until the meat is browned and the onions are slightly translucent. Turn the heat off and drain the excess grease from the pan. Season beef with taco seasoning, then transfer to a crock-pot.
  • Add black beans, diced tomatoes with green chilis, frozen black bean and corn blend, and chili powder. Stir well to combine, then cook for 6 - 8 hours on low heat.

Notes


The frozen black bean and corn blend that I use for this recipe goes by many names. The brand I buy calls it Santa Fe Blend, although I've seen it called Baja Blend as well. What you're looking for, regardless of the name, is a bag of frozen corn, black beans, onions, red and green peppers, with no additional seasonings added.

If you have leftovers you can let  the chili cool completely, portion it out into small microwave safe containers, then freeze it for up to 4 months. I like to keep a few servings on hand for nights I don't feel like cooking, but still want a home cooked meal.

 

Dixon Deer Stew from The Walking Dead - The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide by Lauren Wilson

Dear Hunters,

Today I have something special for you, straight out of Lauren Wilson's new book: The Walking Dead - the Official Cookbook and Survival Guide. The deer you bagged may not be eight foot tall or weigh 12,000lbs, but you'll still need a good recipe to warm you up after a day in the woods, even if it wasn't thirty below. Dixon's Deer Stew may as well have strutted right out of your dreams, it's everything you didn't know you were waiting for.

If hunting isn't your thing, don't pass this recipe by, you can still try this stew out with one quick and easy subsititution. This is what I'll be doing since someone in my family had the audacity to get married on opening day of deer season this year. (Seriously, who plans a wedding for opening day of deer season? This is the second time someone in this branch of the family has done that. I'm starting to think we need to stage an intervention.) The wedding may have saved me from sitting in the woods all day with nothing but a bottle of dandelion wine to keep me warm, but it also means that deer meat is in short supply around here unless I hit up my baby brother. If you're in the same boat, no worries, you can easily substitute beef stew meat. Added bonus: You'll have a very delicious stew without having to freeze your buns off sitting in the woods waiting for Da Turdy Point Buck so you can cook yourself a meal.

If you didn't get any of the references I've made in today's post it's quite possible you weren't alive in 1992, so go watch the video I've linked to above and see what you missed out on by not being around in the early 90s . It's 5 minutes of your life you'll never get back, but how can you say no to a deer huntin rappin tale? 

I knew you couldn't, just like I know you can't resist trying this stew.

  Recipe excerpted from The Walking Dead - The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide, © 2017 by Lauren Wilson. Photography   © 2017 by Yunhee Kim. Reproduced by permission of Insight Editions. All rights reserved. DISCLOSURE: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher, as always all opinions are my own.

Recipe excerpted from The Walking Dead - The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide, © 2017 by Lauren Wilson. Photography © 2017 by Yunhee Kim. Reproduced by permission of Insight Editions. All rights reserved. DISCLOSURE: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher, as always all opinions are my own.

We all know that Daryl Dixon is a natural tracker and hunter. He’d also be the first to tell you that a deer is far more than just tenderloin and chops. To make the most of the whole animal, you are going to have to use up those tougher cuts from the shoulder and rear. These cuts are perfect for stewing because of all the connective tissue that breaks down over long cooking and causes the meat to become fork-tender.

If you can’t get your hands on venison, you can substitute stewing beef—at least until you get your hunting skills up to snuff (see “Hunting Basics” on page 24) or make it to your local butcher. This recipe features simple vegetables the group could have grown in their prison garden: onions, carrots, potatoes, and peas. In nonapocalyptic settings, feel free to add more “exotic” ingredients like button mushrooms or parsnips.

Dixon's Deer Stew
 

YIELDS: 4 SERVINGS

 

PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 2 HOURS

Ingredients
 


3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
3 pounds venison stew meat (from the front shoulder or rear end: chuck roast, top round, bottom round), cubed
Salt and pepper
2 sweet onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1¼ cups red wine for deglazing, or water
4½ cups beef broth, divided
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf, if available
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
2 large potatoes, diced
½ cup barley
½ cup peas, garden fresh or frozen
 

Directions
 

 

  • Preheat a large heavy pot (like a Dutch oven, if available) with 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.

  • Pat the meat dry and season generously with salt and pepper, to taste.

  • Cover the bottom of the pot with a single layer of meat—do not overcrowd it or it will not sear properly. Leave the meat undisturbed for 3 to 5 minutes, until it has nicely browned.

  • Repeat for all sides, remove from the pot, and set aside.

  • Repeat the process for the remaining meat, adding another tablespoon of oil if needed. You will see a brown mess at the bottom of the pan—this is a good sign. If it begins to burn, turn down the heat.

  • Turn the heat down to medium. Add another tablespoon of oil, if needed, along with the onions, and stir until softened, about 5 minutes.

  • Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.

  • Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

  • Add the tomato paste and stir constantly for another minute.

  • Turn the heat to high and add the red wine, working up all the browned bits at the bottom of the pot with your spoon.

  • Return the meat to the pot, and cover with 4 cups of broth. Add the thyme and bay leaf.

  • Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

  • Stir in the carrots and potatoes. Simmer covered for another 30 minutes.

  • Add the barley to the pot, along with ½ cup of broth. Simmer covered for another 30 minutes.

  • Check the doneness of both the meat and the barley. The stew is done when everything is tender. Stir in the peas, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.

  • Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
     

Disclosure

 


This book was sent to me for review by Insight Editions as always, all opinions are my own.

Recipe excerpted from The Walking Dead - The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide, © 2017 by Lauren Wilson. Photography © 2017 by Yunhee Kim. Reproduced by permission of Insight Editions. All rights reserved. 

Chestnut Stuffing

I'm pretty sure numerous wars have been fought at the dinner table over which type of stuffing (or dressing) reins supreme and with so many varieties to choose from, it really isn't any surprise that my family frequently finds itself debating their various merits. Personally, I've always been a fan of my grandmother's mushy breadcrumb dressing, but mine never tastes quite as good as hers, so I decided it was time to start the painful process of coming up with my own recipe. I've spent years cycling through various styles—sausage stuffing, cornbread dressing, variations on bread stuffing—I've tried them all (well, except oyster stuffing since it would cause me to stop breathing forever... stupid shellfish allergy.) It took me roughly 6 years of rejecting recipes before I finally discovered chestnut dressing and I haven't tried another recipe since.

What I love is that this recipe has a fairly simple ingredient list made up of things I typically keep in the pantry, plus it's flexible and can be dressed up to suite a variety of tastes. I've added additional things like fennel, pancetta, or fresh herbs—just to change things up a bit, but it's perfectly tasty just as it's written. It's been served alongside deep-fried turkey, honey-roasted ham, and most recently whole roast duck. It's always the first thing to disappear from the table, so if you want to have leftovers you'll need to make a double batch.

Chestnut Stuffing | Not Starving Yet

 

Chestnut Stuffing
 

makes 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients

1lb loaf stale sourdough bread, torn into chunks
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 - 3 stalks celery, diced  
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 stick salted butter
1/2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
13 ounce package peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large skillet add onion, celery, shallots, and butter. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, or until the celery is tender. Add poultry seasoning, bread, and chicken stock, then mix until all of the liquid is incorporated. Add additional stock as necessary if you still have dry bread or want your stuffing to be more moist.
  • Chop or crumble the chestnuts, add salt and pepper to taste, then mix everything together.  Transfer the finished stuffing to a baking dish. Bake uncovered for 20 - 30 minutes or until the stuffing is slightly brown on top.

Notes

You'll want to lay your bread out several days before making this recipe so it will have time to dry out. I put mine on a cookie sheet, then let it sit in the oven for at least two days. If I need to use the oven I toss it on the counter while I'm cooking and put it back in the oven once it has cooled off. If you decide to make stuffing at the last minute you can always bake your bread for 20 - 30 minutes, then let it cool off before you tear it into chunks.

The amount of chicken stock you'll need can vary, so make sure to have extra on hand. If your stuffing comes out of the oven a little dry you can always add a little bit of extra stock to moisten it up a bit. Just remember not to add cool or room temperature liquid to a hot ceramic or glass baking dish as it can cause thermal shock. This will break your dish and render your stuffing inedible (because no one wants to accidentally munch on glass shards.)

Chestnuts can be hard to come by, if you can't find them at your local supermarket talk to someone in customer service and most times they'll be happy to order them for you. Otherwise, check out your local asian market, many of them carry chestnuts year around.

New England Clam Chowder

As soon as the last bit of snow melts I go through a bit of a Spring cleaning craze. I tear the house apart, organizing as I go, and put away our winter clothing in anticipation of warmer weather. The only problem is that every year, like clockwork, we have a late cold snap that makes me regret pulling out my tank tops and shorts. I thought I was in the clear this year, our weather has been unusually warm, but just before I left on my trip to Oklahoma things took a turn for the worst. The temperature dipped down in to the low 40s at night and I found myself regretting the fact that all my sweaters had been neatly boxed up and put away.

You would think that by now I would have learned, but no, I'm a bit stubborn in my hopes for warmer weather. It's one of the many things I've missed since moving up North.  So instead of burying myself under a mountain of blankets to keep warm I snuck into the kitchen and made a huge batch of chowder. I figured that it would warm me from the inside while insuring I didn't have to worry about cooking for a few days. I spent the rest of the week running around doing laundry like a mad woman and packing up the entire house to take with me on my two week trip to visit my family. My plan was a success and even better, by the time I returned home the weather had warmed up enough that I could get an early start on my summer tan.

While it's getting a little warm for chowder in many parts of the world, there really is never a wrong time to make chowder. My advice for those of you who facing an early summer, crank your air down low and enjoy some anyway. One bite and I promise you'll thank me, at least up until the point you get your electric bill.

New England Clam Chowder | Not Starving Yet

Ingredients


1 - 2 pieces applewood-smoked bacon, crumbled
3 - 4 red potatoes, diced
1 leek, diced
1 shallot, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon salted butter
1 Tablespoon bacon grease
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half & half or heavy cream
2 cans clams + juice, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
additional salt and black pepper, to taste
 

Directions

 

  • In a large pot cook bacon until crispy, set aside to cool. Add leek, shallot, garlic, and butter to the bacon grease left in the pot. Cook vegetables over low heat, stirring occasionally, for approximately 10 minutes or until the leek has softened. Do not allow the shallots to brown.
  • In a separate pot add potatoes and cover with cold water. Cook over high heat for approximately 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Once cooked transfer the potatoes to a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Allow cooled potatoes to drain and set aside for later.
  • Add flour to the cooked vegetables and stir until everything is well coated. If there is still bacon grease left in the pot add additional flour as needed until it has been soaked up by the flour.
  • Add half & half or heavy cream, clams and juice, then bring the contents of the pot to a simmer. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 10 minutes or until the soup has thickened. Turn off the heat, add the cooked potatoes, additional salt and pepper, to taste, then allow then soup to rest for an hour before rewarming and serving.
  • Optional: top with crumbled bacon and oyster crackers before serving.
     

Notes

 


Make sure you don't skip the resting period for this soup, it allows the potatoes time to soak up the flavor from the clams. For best results you can make this soup a day ahead of time, then rewarm it before serving.