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March 30, 2005

White Bean Chili

(chili doesn’t get better’n this!)

Ingredients for Soup:

3 lb. chicken
1 lemon
2 c. hot water, salt & pepper
2 qts. Water
1 lb. bag Great Northern beans
2 T oil
1 large onion, diced
1 Tbsp. diced garlic
½ Tbsp. powdered cumin
½ Tbsp. dried leaf Oregano
1 Tbsp. white Worcestershire sauce
1 16 oz. bottle green salsa*
7-10 drops red Tabasco sauce
3 Tbsp. quick grits & 1 c. water
2 c. chicken broth
1 ½ Tbsp. rice vinegar

Red sauce accompaniment:

2 ½ lbs. fresh, ripe tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
3-4 drops red Tabasco sauce
10-15 drops green Tabasco sauce
Salt & Pepper

Bake the chicken early. Place in appropriate baking dish and squeeze ½ lemon over it. Put the lemon shell in the cavity. Put giblets (except liver) into the baking dish with the chicken and surround it with 2 cups of hot water. Roast at 350 degrees for 1 ½ to 2 hours, till done. Remove and cool. Reserve cooking water. Discard the giblets.

Wash and pick over the beans. Put in 4-5 qt. pot and bring to boil in 2 qts. salted water. Cook till just done (about 1 ½ hours), then drain and reserve beans in the cooking pot. Discard the bean water.

While cooking the beans,

  • In a large frying pan sweat onions in 2 T oil till soft. Do not brown! Add garlic & spices (except Tabasco) and turn up heat for 2 min. Then add green salsa and heat thru. Set aside and add the Tabasco.
  • Bring 1 c. water to boil and add grits. Cook for 5 min and set aside. Don’t drain.
  • Remove chicken meat and discard skin and bones. Chop meat coarsely
  • Prepare red sauce by peeling and seeding tomatoes. Chop them coarsely. Add chopped onions and cilantro, Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. (Dried cilantro WILL NOT do!)

Finish by adding the chicken broth and chicken cooking liquid (defatted if desired) to the beans. Begin to warm, stirring occasionally. Add grits, chicken meat and salsa, the juice of the remaining ½ lemon, salt & pepper to taste. Bring to slow boil and heat thru completely. If a little thick, add a little more water or chicken broth. When hot, serve with red sauce topping.

* Valley of Mexico fire roasted green salsa is sold in most stores and comes both hot and mild. If you can’t find green salsa, use 1 lb can of tomatillas, or 20 fresh ones (paper skins removed) chopped and sautéed quickly to soften. Recently I have seen bottled tomatillas at Publix

Posted by respeto at 3:38 PM

Crawfish Etouffe

Crawfish Etoufee
(This is one of my very favorite dishes!)

1 strip bacon, chopped small
1 c. sweet butter (1/2 c. works)
½ c. finely chopped celery
1 c. finely chopped white onion
1 c. finely chopped shallot(whites of green onion work, but . . . )
1 t. crushed, minced garlic
2 T. flour
1 large bay leaf
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (save liquid)
2 c. fish stock (incl. tomato liquid)
2 t. salt (omit if using commercial base *)
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
dash of cayenne (optional) ***
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 pkg. frozen crawfish tails**

In a large skillet or wok, sauté the bacon bits till near done (not brown & crispy,) then melt butter and sauté celery, shallots and onions till soft. Add garlic and cook another minute. Then add the flour, and stirring constantly, cook until brown, but not burned (a flat whisk works best.)

Add the bay leaf and the drained tomatoes and brown the tomatoes (about 20 min.) Then add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes. (Restaurant bases work well. In this case I use shrimp base. Of course, fish bullion cubes are available in most grocery stores. In any case, use the reserved tomato liquid as part of the stock.)
Add the salt (if using-and you won’t with restaurant bases), pepper, cayenne, Worcestershire and crawfish tails and cook slowly for another 15-20 minutes. (Finished, this should be a little “loose”, or soupy, so add water if necessary when done.)

Remove the bay leaf and serve with rice. (I like to use white Basmati, and I serve the dish in a rimmed soup plate with a mound of rice in the middle—use a timbale, a cup or a ramekin to mold—and the “saucy” crawfish ladled around it, cleaning the edge with a paper towel to wipe away the inevitable drip.) Serves 2-3, maybe four if light eaters or a several course meal.
I usually serve this with a larger salad and bread.

* If you have not discovered Minor’s restaurant bases you should. They are available on line from I use them all of the time. There is a huge variety, and they embellish cooking immensely. Further, in many situations they really save time. For instance, a Sauce Espangole takes 2 days on the back of the stove to prepare. Theirs takes 2 minutes.)

** There are many places on line from which you can purchase frozen, prepared crawfish tails in 1 lb. packages. WalMart superstores usually have 12 oz. packages in the frozen fish section. I have also found them recently in Publix. Unless you are a real glutton for punishment you WILL NOT want to start with crawfish in the shell!

*** If you like it more spicy, try spiced, diced tomatoes which come with green chilis, mild, medium and hot, and also with jalapeños. I don’t like this dish too spicy since it tends to overpower the rich subtly of the dish.

This recipe works well with shrimp, but “shrimp ain’t crawfish!!.” If using shrimp, use them raw and add them in the last 5-7 minutes, since they get “woody” when overcooked

Posted by respeto at 3:13 PM