Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 13

Do you hate beans but like chili? Do you like beans but also like chili that’s a little different? Do you like chili? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions then this chili is for you. It’s beanless and beefy and incredibly satisfying, which is good because though it may be spring SOMEWHERE, in Ottawa we’ve had some major flooding and on Monday it stopped raining enough to SNOW. ALL. DAY. So we kind of need something cockle-warming. This chili is adapted from one my parents found on the internet and printed out and that I stole off their fridge in Florida and smuggled across the border.

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 1

Start with 2lbs cubed beef chuck or stewing beef, and huck that in a non-stick skillet on high to sear all the sides. Chuck the browned beef into a large slow-cooker pot.

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 4

Next, add in 2 tablespoons Worcestershire (“wooster”) sauce, 1 cup beef broth, a 28oz can of diced tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Now, the recipe did not say to drain the tomatoes so I didn’t and I found my chili ended up a bit on the watery side (I also added twice as many tomatoes as the recipe asked for). I thickened the sauce with some cornstarch later on and it turned out super awesome, but I’ll leave it to your discretion to either drain the tomatoes or use a smaller can.

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 7

Dice up the following: 1 white onion, 2 red bell peppers, 2 large carrots, 2 celery stalks, and a couple large green chilis. I used Anaheim chilis because they are huge and not too hot and I wanted to be able to feed this to LongJohn. Gather as well 1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika (ours is smoked), 1 teaspoon onion powder, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Chuck all that in the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 5

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 8

Don’t forget to give it a bit of a stir.

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 9

Cook that sucker on low for 8-12 hours, or on high for about 6.

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 11

Before serving, juice 1 lime and add the juice to the mix.

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 16

Serve garnished with either grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, or chopped cilantro (or all of the above, who are we kidding?).

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 15

Mmmore Meatloaf!

Happy Birthday to Papa John!

More Meatloaf 6

One of the weirder, yet endearing things about my husband is the fact that if he goes to a fancy restaurant and they have meatloaf on the menu, he will order it. Every. Single. Time. Like a total weirdo. I’m carving my way through a juicy perfectly cooked steak. And he’s eating meatloaf. So we make quite a bit of meatloaf at home, too. Here’s another version of my classic: feel free to double it as I did and freeze one (or both) for later!

First ye grab yer meat. A lot of it. Enough for two loaves. I prefer the lean stuff – the extra lean is wayyyy more expensive and is harder to stick together.

More Meatloaf 5

Then ye take yer onions.

More Meatloaf 1

And yer mushrooms.

More Meatloaf 2

And ye put them in a bowl.

More Meatloaf 3

With a lot of other stuff: panko bread crumbs, Newfoundland savoury, oregano, salt, pepper. The works, really.

More Meatloaf 4

Then you chuck the meat in a bowl and add some eggs. Like, four or five.

More Meatloaf 7

Dump in the rest of the stuff too and give it a good stirring. Feel free to use your hands. Tip in some Worcestershire sauce as well for flavour.

More Meatloaf 8

When you’re ready, whisk up a concoction that’s a mix of barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, and honey.

More Meatloaf 10

Spread that in the bottom of your two loaf pans.

More Meatloaf 11

Cram the meat on top and smooth it down. See how that sauce comes up the sides? That’ll keep it from drying out.

More Meatloaf 12

When you’re done, you can either cover it up and shove it in the freezer …

More Meatloaf 14

Or you can bake it at 350°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.

More Meatloaf 13

Then you eat it. Unfortunately cooked meatloaf does not photograph well. But you get the picture.

More Meatloaf 15

The King of Cream Soups

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 17

This is a variation on my other cream of broccoli soup recipe, but I like this one better because it uses less cream and the thickener is cauliflower instead of starchy potatoes.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 3

And I have called it the king of cream soups because it’s my favourite of them all.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 18

And also because I found this old cushion cover embroidered by one of my great aunts and decided it would make a nice backdrop.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 12

Start with your vegetables: onions, broccoli, and cauliflower. I ended up making a relatively small soup, so I only used 1 onion, 2 heads broccoli, and half a head cauliflower.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 1

Chop the onion up relatively fine and heave it in a pot with some olive oil and some minced garlic. Sautée that on medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 5

While that’s on the go, chop up your broccoli.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 6

Shave the tough skin off the stems and use that as well.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 8

Broccoli is good for you, so use it all.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 7

Do the same with the cauliflower.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 9

Heave those in the pot as well, and give them a stir.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 10

At this point I added about 4 cups chicken stock, but you can use as much as you’d like, or water, or any other stock.  Enough to make a soup of it, I guess.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 11

Then I simmered it until I could squish the cauliflower with the back of my spoon (broccoli will become squishier faster, so the cauliflower should be your test).

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 13

Then out comes my brszzht — I mean, immersion blender.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 14

And now you add the sauciness: here we have dijon mustard, Worcestershire (“wooster”) sauce, a dash of cream and two big spoonfuls of plain yogurt. Give those a good stir to mix.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 15

Serve it hot (I guess you could serve it cold if you liked, but that’s weird) with some grated cheddar cheese.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 16

Fit for royalty?  Absolutely.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 19

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cream of Broccoli Soup

I was talking to Cait over GoogleChat the other day and she was scarfing down some cream of broccoli soup, a dish I adore.  She rubbed it in a little bit that she had some and I didn’t.  So I figured I’d blend myself up a batch.  And I thought that you could, too, if you wanted to.

Start with some onions.  Dice them up pretty finely.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Chuck them in a large pot with some garlic and a bit of olive oil and butter.  Let that cook on medium-high heat until the onions are translucent.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

While that’s going on, you can start on your broccoli.  I used three heads of broccoli, chopped up, including the stems.  Use a vegetable peeler to get rid of the tough skin.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Then I also sliced up about two stalks of celery.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

And cubed up several small potatoes. I leave the skins on for texture and vitamins but that’s up to you if you want to remove them.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Those go in the pot too, as well as about 4 cups chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth if you are feeling vegetarian).

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cover that and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes, until everything, including the potatoes, is tender and squishable.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Then remove it from the heat and use an immersion blender or a food processor to blend the soup to your ideal of smoothness.  I like mine a little chunky.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Then you can add in your flavourings.  The first is obviously some form of cream or milk.  You can use sour cream or yogurt or coconut milk or soy milk or whatever you like.  I’m going to go traditional here and use some heavy cream.  We keep it in a small Nalgene bottle because then we can see how much we have left and we don’t have to deal with the cream crusties on the mouth of the carton.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Dijon mustard is also a popular addition to this soup.  The Pie hates mustard but as long as I use it in moderation in things he doesn’t mind.  It definitely adds to the taste.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

And finally, you are going to need a shot or two of Worcestershire sauce.  That goes without saying.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

So add in whatever you like.  Feel free to adjust to your personal taste.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Give it a stir so it’s all nicely mixed in.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

And serve.  With crusty bread on the side and chives to top, or, if you are a real cream of broccoli fan, more grated cheddar cheese than is really sane.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

That’s it, that’s all.  Easy, huh?

Pork-Stuffed Belgian Sandwiches

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

I originally had the title written as “pork-stuffed Belgians” but that didn’t seem right somehow.  I had a vision of a bunch of people walking around in Bruges with sausages coming out of all their pockets.

For the record, the Belgian is the name of the loaf I picked up from the Georgestown Bakery the other day.  Not to be confused with the sweetened tea bread served in Belgium, this is more of a sourdough French bread baked in a shape not unlike a gridiron football.  The thing is, I picked up two, because they were hot from the oven and the guy at the counter was very persuasive.  The other thing is, they’re not so good the next day — a little stale.  We consumed one for lunch that day, and then I had to think up what to do with the second one for dinner.  That’s a lotta bread.  So I kind of made this up on the fly.  I’m sure there are other variations out there, and if there’s one with a nifty name, please let me know.  Also it could use some tweaking so I welcome suggestions.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

Preheat your oven to 450°F and spray a baking dish.  Peel the membrane off one small tenderloin (enough meat for three people), just like we learned.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

I lightly basted the tenderloin with a few drops of Lee & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, malt vinegar, and hoisin sauce.  Pop that sucker in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of at least 135°F (for rare).

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

Meanwhile, use a mandolin to thinly slice about four small new potatoes.  I sliced them into a bowl of water, to rinse the starch off.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

Drain the water and pat the potatoes dry.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

Thinly slice as well three small carrots.  We’re working with small today.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

Chop a few broccoli florets up and steam them.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

Toss the potatoes and carrots into a large frying pan with a bit of olive oil and sauté on medium-high heat for a few minutes.  Add in some sea salt to taste.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

Add in about three tablespoons malt vinegar and three tablespoons water and reduce the heat to medium-low until the vegetables are tender.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

Plop in your steamed broccoli bits.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

Plop in a few spoonfuls of plum sauce and teriyaki sauce.  Don’t forget another splash of the wooster sauce as well.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

Now cut your loaf (I used a Belgian, but you might want to try something with a little less bread in it) in half vertically. Slice a hole in each half, being careful not to puncture the sides of the loaf.  We want a little pocket.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

Butter that pocket.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

I thought we needed a bit more sweet in this salty meal so I spread the inside of the pocket with some lovely mango chutney as well.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

At this point your tenderloin should be cooked.  Plop it on a board and cut it up without allowing the meat to rest.  We want the juices to run so they run straight into the bread.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

Stuff pieces of the tenderloin into the pocket.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

Stuff your warm vegetables in as well.

Pork-Stuffed Belgian

I had plenty of vegetables left over, and some meat, and that made a good lunch the next day.  I never want to see bread again.

Sweet Texas Pork Ribs

Obviously it’s been a sweet week with Rusty and Mags in town.  We’ve even had some awesome weather, and what better way to celebrate summer than ribs on the back porch?  It’s become kind of a yearly tradition with us and The People Downstairs, so we took advantage of a sunny day last Friday and had ourselves some ribs.  The sauce here makes enough for four racks of ribs and comes from an old LCBO magazine.

We got these ribs from Costco, and it’s a hit and miss process.  These ones were a very strange cut, and probably tougher than we would normally prefer.  But ribs is ribs. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

First you need to remove the membrane across the bone.  This will help to tenderize your meat and will ease the absorption of juices.  It also facilitates the removal of excess fat, and boy, did these ribs ever need some trimming!  Use a paper towel to help you grip the membrane on the bone side.  Then, with steady pressure, slowly pull it off.  It’s simple.After you’ve removed the membrane, place the ribs bone-side-up in a baking dish.Now you concoct the sauce.  In a bowl, mix together the following:

1/2 cup soy sauce

3 garlic cloves (or 4 teaspoons minced garlic)

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon chili sauce

2/3 cup beer (the darker the better)

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon green Tabasco sauce

2/3 cup barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Pour that stuff all over your ribs.

Use a pastry brush to coat the ribs evenly.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for an hour.  Remove the aluminum foil and bake for a further 30 minutes to thicken the sauce.

Remove the ribs from the oven. 

Place the ribs on your serving plate and cut to serving size (you might want to keep it in a low oven to keep the ribs warm). You can also toss them on the barbecue for a few minutes to caramelize the juices on them.   Drain the  sauce from the pan into a gravy separator to get rid of the fat.  Discard the bay leaves.  Then cook the sauce in a saucepan for a further ten minutes until it is reduced and thickened.  You can add corn starch to push this along if you need to.

Drizzle the hot thick sauce over your ribs and serve. 

We had ours with creamy garlic mashed potatoes and a fresh green salad.

Sloppy Joes

My husband has permanently etched this song in my head.  Once you listen to it, all you’ll hear from now on is “SLOPPY JOES, SLOP-SLOPPY JOES …”  every time you see the words “sloppy joes”.  FOREVER.

We had a lazy night last week and neither of us wanted to put much effort into either cooking or going to the grocery store.  The result was these modified sloppy joes, and they were pretty good.  This recipe makes two large sloppy joe sandwiches, but you can easily multiply the recipe to suit your appetite.

In a wide-bottomed saucepan, brown up 1/2lb lean ground beef with about 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1/4 of an onion, chopped (we didn’t have any onions, but you can do what you want).

In a small bowl, mix together the following:

1/2 cup ketchup or barbecue sauce

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire (wooster) sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon paprika (we used Hungarian paprika, but I don’t really know what the difference is)

1 tablespoon brown sugar.

Add the sauce to the browned meat and simmer for a few minutes until thickened.

Serve on hamburger buns or toasted bread.  We topped ours with sautéed mushrooms and had carrots on the side. Total cooking time: about ten minutes.