slow cooker chicken chilli (500x328)

Slow Cooker Chicken Chilli

There’s something about a chilli recipe that makes you know you’re going to love it before you’ve even tried it.   Meat, vegetables, spices – what could be more comforting on a cold winter’s evening after a long tiring day? And if you can just throw everything in the slowcooker in the morning so you feel you don’t even need to cook in the evening when you get home, that just makes it so much better.

When I was assigned my Secret Recipe Club assignment this month I was feeling that I hadn’t been using my slow cooker enough and that was one of the reasons I chose to make the slow cooker chicken chilli.   I loved the simplicity of it as well as the warming flavours. I was assigned to Maria from Staying Close to Home.   Maria has been blogging for a long time and in addition to lots of recipes, also blogs about craft ideas.  I didn’t have a go at any of the crafts but I did also have a go at her buttermilk cake with blueberries, which was lovely for an afternoon snack for a few days until it was soon all gone.

I had to make a few changes to the chilli as tinned tomatoes with lime are not available here, or at least I have never seen them.    I also had to miss out the sweetcorn or my husband would have refused to eat it. To serve alongside I baked some Tortillas drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with hot and spicy seasoning.   They were delicious with the chilli, along with some sour cream and grated cheese, but of course, you could just eat the chilli by itself.

As well as the SRC I am linking this to Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Challenge.  The theme this month is any slow cooker recipe.   As it is packed full of vegetables I am also linking it to Extra Veg, hosted this month by Michelle at Utterly Scrummy Food for Families and on alternate months by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours.

slow cooker chicken chilli (500x328)

Ingredients – Serves 2-3

2 chicken breasts – cubed

400g tin of kidney beans

400g jar of chopped tomatoes

2 chillies, sliced

Zest of 1 lime

2 sticks of celery, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Chilli

1. Put the chicken in the slow cooker with the spices and tinned tomatoes.   Stir.   Add the rest of the vegetables.

2. I cooked it for 6 hours but it may depend on your slow cooker and how long you normally cook chicken dishes for.

3. Serve with sour cream, grated cheese, extra lime wedges or other choice of toppings.

Baked tortillas (500x303)

To see what other Secret Recipe Club participants have made, click on the link below:

slow cooker challenge


Chicken in Red Wine Vinegar Sauce

I’m always looking out for new chicken dishes to make and the easier the better.   This recipe is based on one for Spicy Chicken Thighs, which I bookmarked a long time ago at Thyme for Cooking.   I changed the name as I felt the overwhelming taste was of fruity vinegar rather than spice.  If you’re not a vinegar fan then that might not sound appealing but red wine vinegar is not as strong as some other vinegars and doesn’t give an overly sharp taste.  I would describe the sauce as sweet and fruity tasting.  It is, however, not a mild tasting sauce, so if you think the amount of vinegar might be too much for you, you can always reduce it a little.  I used breasts rather than thighs as that is what I usually cook with, but I also feel this sauce would go well with pork or turkey.  So it could be a way of using up leftover turkey from Christmas dinner.

Chicken in Red wine vinegar sauce (500x408)

Ingredients – Serves 2

2 chicken breasts

1 tbsp plain flour

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp tomato puree

60ml chicken stock

30ml red wine vinegar

1 tsp cornflour

How to Make Chicken in Red Wine Vinegar Sauce

1. Combine the flour, paprika and cumin.  Press the chicken down onto the flour so it has a coating of flour all over.

2. Heat a little oil in a saucepan.   Cook the chicken briefly on all sides to seal the juices in.  Then, remove it from the pan.

3. Add the onions to the pan.  Cook until softened then add the garlic, tomato puree and the remainder of the flour that was used to coat the chicken.  Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, then stir in the stock and vinegar.

4. Return the chicken to the pan.  Bring the sauce up to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes

5. If you feel the sauce is too runny, remove the chicken, mix the cornflour with a little water and stir it in to thicken.   Serve with rice or potatoes and vegetables.


Chicken and Bacon Chilli

There are some ingredient combinations which are always going to be good together.   One of these is chicken and bacon.  Add some tomato and some cheese and it is hard to beat for autumn comfort food.  This month I was paired with Jean at The Tasty Cheapskate for the Secret Recipe Club and I decided I wanted to make something tasty, warming and of course easy, not taking too much time to prepare.  I had so many recipes to choose from but I soon chose this chilli.  Not only did it contain ingredients I love, I already had everything I needed in the flat.   No shopping required.   Even better.

Jean actually created this dish to use up some leftovers and liked it so much she began making it regularly.   I can see why as it turned out just as nicely as I’d expected.   I used a bit more chicken than in the original recipe and more greens, but it was very similar.   One of the good things about this dish is that there are so many variations that could be made to it, just depending on what you have left in the fridge.

Ingredients – serves 2

1-2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips

3 rashers bacon

300g tin cannelini beans

400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 onion, chopped

1 chilli pepper, finely sliced

Handful of chopped spring greens (or other green vegetable)

Handful coriander leaf (cilantro)

Grated cheese (optional)

Sour cream (optional)

How to Make Chicken and Bacon Chilli

1. Chop the bacon and fry in the bottom of a saucepan in a little oil.  When it is cooked, remove from the pan.

2. Add the onion and chilli pepper to the pan and cook until it is soft.   Add the chicken and cook, stirring occassionally, for a few minutes until it is white on the outside.

3. Add the beans, greens and chopped tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the coriander, season with salt and pepper.  Optionally serve with grated cheese and sour cream.

To see what other Secret Recipe Club participants have made, click on the link below.

Beery Barley Beef

Once again it’s been a few months since I took part in Random Recipes, organised by Dom at Belleau Kitchen, so this month I decided I would make a start early.  Usually the rules involve picking a recipe from a book at random.  This month the rules were slightly different   We had to pick an item at random from the place at the back of the store cupboard where half-used long-forgotten items end up.  I delved in and the first item I came up with was an opened pack of cashew nuts, expiry date October 2010.  I threw them away, but it left me with a dilemma, should I pick again, or should I use the more recently opened, within date cashew nuts at the front of the cupboard?  I decided to pick again. This time, I came out with a small pack of dried figs with just 2 left in that seemed to have seen much better days.   They also had to be thrown away.  Third time lucky, I picked a bag of pearl barley.  However, I don’t have many cookbooks with recipes in for pearl barley.  After a few unlucky attempts I found 200 Slow Cooker Recipes with a recipe for beery pearl barley, perfect for slightly chilly autumn weather.  I was delighted that it allowed me to prepare the whole recipe in advance and as it was a one pot meal I didn’t even need to prepare any side dishes in the evening.  It’s a bit ugly to look at but it tasted delicious, although my husband has asked me not to add the pearl barley next time!

Ingredients – Serves 3

400g braising steak, cubed

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, diced

1 potato, diced

1 tbsp plain flour

55g pearl barley

1 tsp dried mixed herbs

300ml light beer

300ml beef stock
How to make Beery Barley Beef

  1. Put a little oil in a saucepan.  Seal the beef and then tip into the slow cooker.

  2. Add a little more oil if necessary.   Cook the onion until soft.   Add the flour and stir.   Add the potatoes, carrots, herbs and beer.  Bring to the boil, stirring, then pour into the slow cooker. Add the pearl barley.

  3. Put the beef stock into the pan.   Bring to the boil and then pour into the slow cooker.

  4. Cook on a low heat for 9 hours.


Finnish Salmon Soup

I have never been to Finland and don’t know much about Finnish food, except that it is probably quite similar to other Scandinavian food, which I also know very little about.    Actually, when I think about it, the first thing that springs to mind is Jacques Chirac’s 2005 comment about British food, “After Finland, it is the country with the worst food.”  Understandably, this comment did not go down well in the UK, but at least we are aware of the stereotype of plain British food, whereas it was probably more of a shock to the Finns.   So, I set about researching Finnish food, and came across some wonderful ideas for cooking with reindeer and elk – but possibly not so easy to get hold of here.  Luckily, salmon is very popular in Finland and I soon decided to make a salmon soup which I found on Scandi Foodie.

I changed the recipe only slightly.   I couldn’t find any celeriac so had to miss it out.    I had ground all spice berries, not whole berries.   I used vegetable stock instead of water.   I could possibly have used fish stock but I didn’t want it to be too fishy, I just wanted to add a little extra flavour.  I also used milk instead of cream as I was making this for lunch and tend to avoid cream except for desserts or sauces that really need it.   I am ashamed to admit that I did worry slightly that it might be a little plain, with just the all spice berries really for flavouring.    In fact, the potato, parsnip and salmon soaked up the flavour of the all spice and were delicious.   I don’t often use all spice but it was a flavour I could happily enjoy without needing other herbs or spices.   So, it was definitely a success, and a recipe I wouldn’t hesitate to make again.   Unlike some soups which are not filling enough for a whole meal, it makes a great one-pot meal, not needing any bread to go with it, although of course you could have some if you wanted.

I am linking this to My Kitchen My World.   The March destination is of course Finland.   I am also sending it to Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sundays.

Ingredients – serves 2

About 5 new potatoes, diced

1/2 tsp ground all spice berries

1/2 onion, finely diced

1/2 a parsnip, diced

300g piece of salmon

Vegetable stock or water

200ml Milk (or a little cream and a bit more stock)

How to Make Finnish Salmon Soup

1. Add the potatoes, parsnip, onion and all spice to enough hot stock to just cover the vegetables.   Simmer for about 10 minutes.

2. Add the milk or cream along with the salmon.    Simmer for another 5 minutes.   Taste and add salt and black pepper to taste.