Warmest January Ever!
This has got to be the warmest January I have ever experienced in Boston. Granted, this is only my fifth winter in the city, so my sample size is somewhat limited. But really - it was almost 70 degrees today. In Boston! In January! In protest, I decided to make cold-weather-appropriate soup. Actually, it was mainly because I was home studying all day and felt like using my slow cooker, but I can think of it as a weather protest if I want, ok?
So you know how you're in line at the supermarket and they have those little mini-magazines with recipes and stuff in them on the shelf above the check-out conveyor belt? I actually bought one while I was at home for break. It's all slow cooker recipes, which is why I bought it. The soup I made tonight is the first recipe I've tried, and it's not bad for coming from one of those crappy little grocery store cookbooks. It's a Chipotle Chicken Stew and, yes, it probably would have tasted even better if we'd been having real January weather today.
The most important ingredient in this stew – and indeed, the stew's namesake – is the chipotle pepper. Chipotles are smoked jalapeno peppers that date back to Mexican civilization before the time of the Aztecs. Nowadays, a full fifth of the Mexican jalapeno crop is dried and smoked to turn into chipotles. The natural heat of the jalapenos is preserved in the process, so the chipotles end up at between a 5,000 to 10,000 on the Scoville scale used to measure hot peppers (this is usually considered a "medium" heat level). Chipotles are often used to add a smoky, hot flavor to Mexican and Southwestern dishes.
You can buy ground dried chipotles, whole chipotles, or, most commonly, chipotles canned in adobo. Adobo sauce is made of spices, vinegar, tomato sauce, and sometimes other chilies. I've never made anything with adobo sauce, but I hear it's great on its own. That could be something new and fun to try in the future!
This is my entry for this week's edition of Weekend Herb Blogging, in which food bloggers write about their favorite herbs, plants, vegetables, and flowers. This week, WHB is hosted by the event's creator herself, the famous Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen.
Chipotle Chicken Stew
- 1 pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 2 cups chicken broth
Combine all ingredients, along with a generous squeeze of lemon if desired, in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high about 4 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving.
Remember, if you want to make this on the stove top, cook the chicken first, and add more liquid because it will boil off during cooking. It should probably cook for about 30 to 45 minutes.
*note: apologies for the formatting errors in this post. Stupid blogspot doesn't want to let me publish all my text in the same font. Boo!