Archive for the 'slow-cooker' Category

3-Bean Slow Cooker Chili

I really don’t understand the obsession with slow cookers. Yeah, I use mine all the time to cook dried beans, but most main dish recipes either have way too much meat and processed food or just seem like they’d be really unappealing.

Chili is basically my one exception, though. The other day I wanted to see if I could make chili starting with dried beans, and I’m delighted to report that it worked beautifully! I was thrilled.

Ellie was thrilled, too.

Basically, I made a fairly standard chili recipe, but added a few extra cups of water. I started it on high for 2 hours, then turned it to low for 5. Because of the toxins in kidney beans, they need to boil for awhile, so cooking on low the full time is not a great idea, unless you’ve boiled the beans for awhile first.

Now that it’s officially Fall, get out your slow cooker, ditch the canned beans, and make a big pot of chili!


1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chopped chipotle chile en adobo
2/3 cup beer (I used amber ale)
15 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup dried kidney beans
1/2 cup dried pinto beans
1 cup dried black beans
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 1/2 cups water
shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onions, for garnish

Saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add the chili powder, cumin, and chipotles, and mix well.

Transfer to a slow cooker, add all remaining ingredients, and stir well.

Cook on high for 2 hours, then turn to low and cook for an additional 5 hours. Taste and add salt or other seasonings if needed.

Serve with shredded cheese and green onions.

Guinness Beef (or Tempeh) Stew

Two years ago we spent the two weeks before Christmas in Ireland, and pretty much everyone we met there thought we were absolutely nuts for leaving beautiful California and going to Ireland for such a cold, rainy time of the year. But lucky for us, the weather was perfect, the Guinness was plentiful, and we ate ridiculous quantities of hearty meat-and-potatoes Irish fare. One of the best things we brought home from the trip was a cookbook by Darina Allen, who is, as far as I can tell, the queen of Irish Cooking.

For Christmas Eve dinner this year, I wanted to incorporate as much Guinness as possible into the meal, and also to use up that giant bag of potatoes I seem to be writing about in every other blog post. So I turned to Darina for boxty pancake and Guinness beef stew recipes, (substituting tempeh for the beef in my portion because I no longer eat meat). It was a great dinner, but really made me wish there was a pub down the street where we could go to catch a traditional music session. Maybe next year…

Note: I made this recipe in two slow cookers. I made about 2/3 of the recipe with 1.4 pounds of beef in a large slow cooker, and 1/3 of the recipe with 4 ounces of tempeh in a small slow cooker. This was more than enough to feed myself and three meat-eaters.

Also: Christmas may be over, but if you’re still feeling that giving spirit and you’ve had a food blog for at least a year, Kristen over at <a href=";Dine and Dish is still looking for mentors for Adopt-a-Blogger. Read all about it and sign up HERE

(adapted from Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen)

2 pounds lean stewing beef (or two 8-ounce packages of tempeh)
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
2 large onions, chopped
3 tbsp canned tomato puree, mixed with 4 tbsp water
10 fluid ounces Guinness stout (look for the bottle with the yellow label, NOT the cans or bottles of Guinness draught)
5 large carrots, cut into chunks
a few tsp fresh chopped parsley

Cut the meat or tempeh into bite sized cubes. Toss the beef with the flour and a few pinches of salt and pepper (omit this step if using tempeh).
Heat the oil in a dutch oven or wide, heavy skillet. Brown the meat on all sides (or briefly saute the tempeh cubes).
Add the onions and tomato puree-water mixture (and salt and pepper, if using tempeh), cover, and cook for about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a slow cooker.
Pour about half the Guinness into the dutch oven or skillet and bring to a boil while stirring.
Pour that and the remaining Guinness into the slow cooker and add the carrots.
Cook on low for about 6 hours.
Taste and adjust the seasonings, then sprinkle with a little fresh parsley to serve.

Chickpea, Celery and Mushroom Soup

Although I tend to think New Years Resolutions are a little ridiculous, I pretty much always end up making a few. I’ve had a couple resolutions that I make every year, which I guess defeats the purpose, but that’s life. I’m currently working on one that I’ve made every year since about 2002: cooking more recipes from my cookbook collection (which leads me to this blog post).

I got The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert (who knows Mediterranean food better than just about anyone) as a gift a few years ago but have only made one or two recipes out of it. I love the premise of the book: slow cooking, long marinating, and lengthy braising to maximize the flavors of the ingredients. The recipes don’t have too many steps, but they all take several hours from start to finish (although most of those hours don’t require you to be in the kitchen).

This recipe requires a little advanced planning, because you have to soak the chickpeas and mushrooms overnight, then let them cook for about 6 hours in the slow cooker. That’s followed up by about 30 minutes of cooking on the stove top (when the celery is added) The result is a boldy-flavored bowl of delectably creamy chickpeas in an earthy mushroom broth with the subtle backdrop and crunch of celery. The melting manchego on top rounds out the umami flavor perfectly.

The recipe calls for just half an ounce of dried porcini mushrooms, but I found a 0.88-ounce package of various dried mushrooms at Trader Joes and used that. I was definitely happy to have the extra mushrooms in the soup, so if you have more than half an ounce, don’t be shy about using it!

This makes great leftovers, and to make it a little heartier, you can ladle it over some cooked rice.

adapted from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert)

2 cups dried chickpeas
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch sugar
.5-.9 ounces assorted dried mushrooms (porcini, chantrelle, oyster, etc)
3 bay leaves
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a few ounces of manchego cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler into curls

The day before you plan to make the soup:
Put the chickpeas, baking soda, and a pinch of salt into a medium bowl and cover with at least two inches of cold water. Soak for about twelve hours.

Put the mushrooms and sugar in a small bowl and pour 1 cup of hot water over them. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least twelve hours.

The next morning:
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Put them in a slow cooker with the onion, bay leaves, 2 tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Cover with fresh cold water by about an inch. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

About 30 minutes before you plan to eat the soup:
Drain the mushrooms (reserve the liquid) and chop them well.
Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, then add the celery and cook for another two minutes.
Add the mushrooms, their soaking liquid, and the chickpeas and their cooking liquid to the soup pot. Taste and adjust the seasonings (I had to add a few generous pinches of salt), then simmer for about 20 minutes.

To serve:
Ladle soup into bowls and top with a few curls of manchego.


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