Firstly, I would like to say that crock pot meals are one of the most wonderful conventions of cold weather. Something hearty and warm that has slowly cooked during the day and is waiting for you when you come home is just simply wonderful.
After last week, both Theresa and myself have been fairly wary of out of the ordinary meals (i.e. something we really have not tried before). So crock pot chili was an excellent safety of sorts for this Monday’s dinner. We still wanted to make it something special, and by that, we used the Heirloom Mandan Bride Dent Corn and Ara Cara Beans that we picked up from the Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain CSA last Saturday. The colors and textures were gorgeous. I also used some green tomatoes, and some roasted tomatillos (frozen and ‘put away’ during the summer) to add a little more textural and flavorful delight. The resulting chili was very tasty.
Bean and Corn Chili Recipe for Crock Pot Cooking: (serves 4)
- 1 cup dried beans (Ara Kara)
- 1 cup dried corn (Mandan Bride)
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 3 green tomatoes, chopped
- 1 1/2 cup of roasted tomatillos (these were oven roasted on low for a really long time, until they became a delicious roasted goo, then we froze them in bags)
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp creole blackened seasoning
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp salt (used Main Sea Salt’s Hickory Smoked Salt for a good smokey flavor)
- Enough water to cover the mixture (~ 3 cups)
- Presoak the beans and corn overnight in water.
- Rinse the next day.
- Assemble all of the ingredients in the crock pot.
- Turn the crock pot on high for half the day, or low for the whole day, or overnight.
- Adjust salt to taste and serve.
Chili is good on its own, but in my opinion, chili is best with many accompaniments. An obvious choice was some chopped lettuce and shredded cheese….. but the other condiments needed further thought. I relied upon a trusty cumin-yogurt sauce recipe that we use for fish tacos (yogurt, a little may0, some cumin and salt- lemon or lime if you have it) and added some chopped scallion for a bit of pep.
Being the crazy produce monger that I am…. I felt like this meal needed more produce. We have a lot of produce, and our fridge is pretty full. In my mind, it is our duty to put that produce to glorious use. Maybe in a manic-vegetable-obsessive way. I was even thinking of making a squash side, but luckily, I think my better judgement kept me in check.
I then realized that we still have a lot of radishy stuff: a few daikon radishes, some hakurei turnips, a few japanese radishes. Why not add radishes? They are usually accomaniments to fish tacos and other trendy mexican dishes. Yet, adding radishes directly or in large quantity seemed like a bad idea. Last week, when I made a stir fry made of mostly radishes, Theresa refused to talk to me for the rest of the evening. I don’t think she likes radishes as much as I do :-). So, I decided to make some quick pickled radishes to add to the chili at our own volition. Quickly scouring the internet I found an easy quick pickle radish recipe and set to pickle a mixture of radishes.
Here is my adaptation from that recipe: Quick Pickled Radishes:
- 1 medium daikon radish, thinly sliced
- 1 large hakurei turnip, thinly sliced
- 1 large japanese or regular radish, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/8 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 a bay leaf
- 3 tbsp hot water
- Add hot water to salt and honey, dissolve.
- Add the vinegar, wine, seeds and spices at the bottom of a class jar.
- Slowly add the mixed radish slices so that they are submerged in the pickling juice. Press down with some implement to keep them pressed down and submerged.
- Put in the fridge for at least 6 hours to pickle.
- Enjoy as a lovely garnish on anything (in my mind).
By the way, the radishes taste really good, but the brine-radish mixture is a little smelly.
In the end we had a lovely assemblage of ingredients that all melded together quite well. I was quite happy with this tasty yet really easy meal, and Theresa also really liked it too. Even the radishes. 🙂
For dessert we ate up the last of some Maple’s Gelato, giving us something creamy and super easy to finish off the meal. This was nice as we got to dedicate our efforts to planning our locavore feast that will be our Thanksgiving. We almost have the full menu decided. We will probably be going to Sherman’s Market sometime soon to see about local cranberries. On similar food fronts, we are picking up our Stillman’s Turkey today- very exciting, and I am going to the last Copley’s farmers market to lament it being the last and to probably buy too much food to fill our already filled fridge.