Black Bean and Vegetable Stew

Judging by the empty shelves in the dried bean and legume aisle of our grocery store, beans are everyone’s go-to ingredient for cooking in a crisis. I’ve been using them a lot in soups and stews, because one-pot meals are easy, nutritious and comforting — just what we need right now. This black bean and vegetable stew is great ladled over some white or brown rice, but it would also be tasty with fresh tortillas, garlic bread, or just as a stand-alone dish.

If you don’t want to use dried beans, you can substitute 3 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed (reduce simmer time to about 20 minutes). To make a vegetarian version, omit the bacon, use olive oil to saute the vegetables, swap in vegetable broth and add 1 tsp smoked paprika.

Adapted from The Splendid Table’s Cuban Black Bean Stew.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

3 slices thick cut bacon, cut into small pieces
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
3 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
3 bay leaves
3 whole cloves
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp pepper
1 lb dried black beans
1 cup water
Juice from 2 limes
Salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Soak the beans in about 4 cups of water. You can do this overnight or use the quick soak method: In a large bowl, pour 4 cups of water over the beans, cover and let sit for 1 hour. Drain and rinse.

In a large pot over medium high heat, cook the bacon until the fat has rendered and the bacon is starting to brown. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reserve about 1 tbsp of grease and discard the rest.

Add the onion, carrots, celery, bell pepper and jalapeño and saute until the onions and celery are translucent. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato paste, then deglaze with about 2 cups of the chicken broth.

Stir in the spices, beans, reserved bacon, remaining broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes.

Test beans for doneness. If they have not softened enough, give them more simmer time in 10-minute increments (add water as needed). Cooking time for dried beans varies widely by age and quality, but it typically shouldn’t take more than an hour or so.

Stir in lime juice, salt to taste and cilantro. Serve over rice.

Pictured: Descoware Flame Dutch Oven, Pyrex Spring Blossom 443 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Grab-It Bowl

5 Instant Pot Recipes to Make Over and Over Again

I was late to the Instant Pot craze, and I never thought anything could replace my beloved slow cooker. But the magic and speed of pressure cooking has really won me over! I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes and experimented on my own a bit, and everything has generally come out pretty good. When it comes to recipes that I’d want to make again, though, only five have made the cut so far. Here they are, in no particular order.

Note: I use the 8-qt Instant Pot Duo Plus, but I think all of these recipes would work in the 6-qt size Instant Pot or other similar pressure cookers.

Instant Pot Perfect Brown Rice Pilaf
This is my new favorite way to cook brown rice. It comes out nutty and flavorful, with just the right texture, and goes well with just about any entree.

Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken and Chickpea Masala
This curry tastes complex but is truly no-fuss. I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs, which changes the pressure cooking time to 8 minutes. I also prefer to stir in the spinach at the end, rather than pressure cooking it as the recipe directs.

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
This rivals the brown rice pilaf as the recipe I’ve made the most. It’s super easy, infinitely customizable, and smoky-spicy-delicious.

Instant Pot Korean Ground Beef
One of the fun things about this recipe is that it employs the pot-in-pot method, where the rice cooks in a separate bowl at the same time as the beef. The beef is really yummy on its own, but also makes a great taco filling.

Easy Pressure Cooker Pork Chile Verde
Just wow! Besides being both easy and delicious, this recipe is fascinating because it does not call for any liquids up front. The onions, chiles, tomatillos and pork release enough moisture to attain pressure in the cooking process, and provide ample sauce. So much sauce, even, that I think I will try using 5 lbs of pork next time rather than the 4 in the recipe.

Pictured: Corning Ware Grab-It Bowl, Corning Ware Grab-a-Meal Bowl, Pyrex Salad Bowl 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Gold Wreath 043 Oval Casserole

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Hominy

I’ve been in a cooking rut lately, but now that it’s fall it’s finally the season for my favorite type of meal: stew. I love throwing everything into a pot (or slow cooker), doing next-to-nothing else and ending up with a delicious, homey dish.

Pozole, a Mexican stew typically made with pork, hominy and chiles, has been on my to-cook list for a while. I finally got around to making a simplified version of the real thing. I think this may actually have been the first time I’ve bought hominy at the grocery store — but I’ll definitely be doing it again!

Adapted from “Mexican-Style Pork and Hominy Stew” from America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 onions, chopped
2 Hatch green chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped fine (or substitute 3-4 jalapeños)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 14 1/2-oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 15-oz cans hominy (white or yellow), drained and rinsed
1 4- to 5-pound boneless pork butt
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped fine
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
salt

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the onions and chiles in oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute more, then transfer to the slow cooker. Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes (with juice), chili powder, oregano and bay leaves.

In a blender (or using an immersion blender), puree 1 can hominy with 2 cups chicken broth, then add to the slow cooker along with the other 2 cans of hominy and remaining 2 cups of chicken broth.

Cut the pork into 1 1/2-inch chunks, trimming as much fat as you can, then add to the slow cooker and stir to coat. Cover and cook 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high. Pork should be fall-apart tender.

Let the stew sit for about 5 minutes, then skim excess fat from the surface with a spoon. Season with salt to taste, then stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Serve over white or brown rice.

Pictured: Pyr-O-Rey Brown Daisy Casserole, Corning Ware Grab-It Bowl

Quick Spicy Miso Ramen

Allow me to convince you that miso paste should be a staple in your refrigerator. It’s great for marinades (this Grilled Miso Shrimp recipe from Food & Wine is fantastic) salad dressing (try this Miso-Sesame Dressing from the Food Network) and best of all, you can make a totally delicious miso broth in seconds — just add water.

This quick miso soup (inspired by Minimalist Baker’s Classic Miso Soup with Greens and Tofu) is a great way to use veggies or leftovers you happen to have in the fridge — it’s a recipe that really begs for improvisation, and it can be scaled up for multiple servings. This time I went with kale as the main vegetable, but any leafy greens can be substituted — spinach, chard, bok choy, etc. Do you have leftover steamed green beans or brussels sprouts or asparagus? Throw them in. Are you stuck with frozen peas and corn? Use that instead. If you don’t have jalapeños, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes can also work. You can’t really go wrong.

Note: You can use Top Ramen-style instant noodles here, but if you are shopping for miso at your nearest Japanese market, pick up some more interesting noodles while you’re there.

Serves 1

 

Ingredients

1 egg
3 1/2 cups water
3 oz ramen noodles
3/4 cup lacinato kale, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
5 slices fresh jalapeño
2-3 tbsp white miso paste
1 tbsp sriracha

Take an egg from the refrigerator and leave it on the counter for half an hour to lose its chill. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Gently lower the egg into the water with a slotted spoon. Cook for 7 minutes with the water just barely bubbling. Remove the egg from the pot and plunge it into a bowl of ice water for about 30 seconds, then set aside.

In a separate pot, bring 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the ramen noodles and cook according to package directions (usually about 3 minutes). Use tongs to remove the noodles and set aside.

Remove about 1/4 cup of the water and add it to the miso paste in a separate bowl. Whisk until smooth (this helps prevent clumping).

Add the kale to the pot and simmer until slightly tender, about 6 minutes. Add the green onions and jalapeño slices and simmer 1 minute more. Stir in the noodles, miso mixture and sriracha. Top with the egg, peeled and sliced in half (the yolk should be soft but not too runny — the consistency of jam). Simmer briefly to make sure everything is hot, then serve.

Pictured: Corning Ware Harvest P-1 3/4-B Saucepan, Corning Ware Grab-It Bowl, Pyrex Measuring Cup

Hummus with Sweet and Spicy Roasted Peppers

You could say that I’m a little obsessed with Pyrex divided dishes. So recently when I was in the mood to make hummus for an NBA Finals party (Go Warriors!), I knew I wanted to make two different flavors — and exactly what dish to serve them in. Incidentally, since the divided dish was originally designed to hold packaged foods, it’s not surprising that two cans of garbanzo beans make enough hummus to fill each side of the dish just about perfectly.

My starting point for this recipe was Cooking Classy’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. I wanted to make sure my two hummus flavors would be different colors, though, so I used yellow bell peppers instead of red. The yellow ones have a milder flavor, too, so they add a nice sweetness without overpowering. The red fresno chiles provide a good color contrast plus a little extra kick.

Ingredients

2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced into quarters lengthwise
4 red fresno chili peppers, cored, seeded and sliced in half lengthwise
2 15-oz cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
6 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
6 tbsp tahini
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
4 tbsp olive oil

Set your oven to “broil” and place the top rack about 4-5 inches below the broiler. Arrange the sliced peppers on a baking sheet and roast until charred, about 10-15 minutes.

Transfer each variety of peppers to separate Ziploc bags. Seal and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes (this helps the skin separate from the flesh). Peel the peppers and divide into two groups: 1) just bell peppers, and 2) fresno chiles plus 2-3 bell pepper slices. Chop each group into half-inch pieces and set aside.

Combine the garbanzo beans, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, cumin and olive oil. Pulse in a food processor or with an immersion blender until mostly pureed.

Divide the garbanzo mixture in half. To the first half, add pepper group 1 (bell peppers) plus 1-2 tsp water. Pulse until fully pureed. Test for desired consistency and add water in small amounts if needed. Add salt to taste, and set aside.

Repeat with the second half of the garbanzo mixture and pepper group 2 (fresno chiles and bell peppers).

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Optional garnishes: chopped parsley, red pepper flakes, and/or a drizzle of olive oil.

Pictured: Pyrex Royal Wheat 063 Divided Dish, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Grab-It Bowl (x2), Hazel Atlas Crisscross Orange Reamer

Favorite Ginger Cookies

There’s something about the flavors of molasses and warming spices that reminds me of holidays spent baking, indulging and making merry. This recipe, which comes from a childhood friend, combines ginger, cinnamon, cloves and molasses in a slightly chewy, slightly crunchy package that is high on my list of favorite cookies. While you can mix the dough by hand, it’s much easier — and faster — if you have a stand mixer.

Makes about two dozen

Ingredients

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the shortening and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Add molasses and egg, beat well.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients, then add to the sugar mixture, beating in a little at a time until well combined.

Roll the dough into balls (about 1 1/2 inches diameter), then dip in sugar to coat. Place the balls 2 inches apart on a baking sheet that’s been greased or lined with parchment paper. Bake until lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack.

Pictured: Pyrex Flamingo 909 Pie Plate, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Grab-It Bowl, Corning Ware Snack-It Plate

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Recently we had family coming over for dinner, but we were going to be away from home all afternoon. Perfect scenario for a slow-cooked meal! I decided to make white chicken chili with all the fixings, and it was a big hit. One nice thing about this recipe is that it’s relatively mild — despite the three jalapeños (they mellow out a lot when cooked). Then you can spice it up to taste with toppings.

Adapted from the White Chicken Chili in Slow Cooker Revolution.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

2 onions, chopped fine
3 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp canned fire-roasted green chiles
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
salt
pepper
1 tbsp masa harina
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions and jalapeños until translucent and slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in cumin, coriander and green chiles. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of the broth, scraping up any browned bits, and transfer to slow cooker.

Add the beans and 2 cups more broth to the slow cooker and stir. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker, making sure all the pieces are mostly submerged. Cover and cook on low until the chicken is tender and falls off the bone easily, about 4-6 hours.

Keeping the slow cooker on, remove chicken and shred into bite-size pieces (discard the bones). Once the chili has settled, remove as much fat as possible by skimming the surface with a large spoon. Stir back in the shredded chicken and let sit a few minutes until hot.

In a small pot, simmer masa in 1 cup of chicken broth for about 10 minutes to thicken, then add to the slow cooker. Stir in cilantro and add salt to taste. Serve with an array of toppings.

Toppings:

  • lime wedges
  • sliced jalapeños (fresh or pickled)
  • shredded cheese
  • chopped green onions
  • sour cream
  • hot sauce (Tabasco or similar)
  • red pepper flakes

Pictured: Pyrex Butterfly Gold 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware French White F-15-B Oval Casserole, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-81-B Menuette Saucepan, Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-41-B Petite Pan (x4)