Slow cookers are great. They are probably one of my favourite kitchen utensils, because you can make just about anything in them. If you don’t believe me, you should check out A Year of Slow Cooking. This blog is hilarious! Stephanie tries to make absolutely anything in the slow cooker, and I mean anything! I decided to try and make something a little more conventional – slow cooker pulled chicken tacos. They turned out so well, I would make them again tomorrow!
I diced some onions and red peppers to add to the tomatoes, and used a seasoning base of dried chili powder and salt and pepper. That’s it. Seriously. I threw in the chicken and let it cook for 8 hrs.
Super easy meal for a weeknight. It was good that the mass amounts of leftovers I made disappeared the next day when Justin ate them all! :)
Jacquie’s Pulled Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
10 cherry tomatoes, crushed
1 whole sweet bell pepper
1 medium onion
3 tablespoons chili powder
a pinch each of salt and pepper
Crush cherry tomatoes, using a potato masher, at the bottom of your slow cooker. Dice onions and peppers, add to tomatoes. Cut chicken into chunks, add to slow cooker. Sprinkle ingredients with chili powder, salt and pepper. Mix to coat well. Cover and let cook for 8 hrs on low.
After 8 hrs, uncover and “pull” chicken using two forks. Cover again, turning slow cooker to “keep warm”, and let chicken re-absorb the juices at the bottom. Serve in a whole wheat tortilla, covered in your favourite cheese, and smothered with guacamole and sour cream. Yum!
With winter hanging on ferociously, I thought it might be a good time to make some chili. I also thought I’d try and make chili that was a little different from your run of the mill regular beef chili. I used local ground Bison from the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market. (Are you surprised? heh heh). I’ve recently read up on the many benefits of Bison, including the rich flavor, while still being lean, the added nutritional value, and it’s environmental sustainability and, best reason yet, it’s local!!! For tips on how to cook Bison, check this link out.
For the chili, I started out by browning the ground Bison in a pan, and adding my favourite spices. (I used garlic, paprika, Italian seasoning, and oregano.) You’ll notice that the meat looks a little red. Something I’ve read about Bison is that it is very lean, and so the ground meat is more red, with less white fat flecks in it. It also tasted a tad sweeter than regular ground beef. Justin and I really liked it! Try it! It just might surprise you! You can use ground bison in any recipe that you normally would use any ground meat, in subsitute of ground turkey, pork or beef. Check out these awesome Bison recipe ideas!
For my chili, I used a mixed bag of dried beans that I found in the pantry, which was given to us when we first moved in. I’ve recently read about the benefits of using dry beans instead of canned beans. Although they take slightly more time to prepare (I soaked them overnight in cool water in the crockpot – keep it off though!), the benefits are worth it. Next time, I wouldn’t use a mix of dried beans. The texture was interesting, with all those different types of beans in my tasty chili, but the cooking time varried for each type of bean, making some crunchy after the crockpot cooking, and some overcooked. Next time, I will use only 1 or 2 types of beans.
Many of the recipes I looked at for traditional crock pot chili asked for canned tomatoes. I figured, why can’t I use fresh, local tomatoes from Old Strathcona? Justin and I chopped them up roughly and mashed them a bit, to make sure we got the most out of the juices. Tasty!
I then added fresh onions and mushrooms to the mix. These are my favourite veggies, but feel free to add any of your favourites to the mix! (Some recipes recommend carrots or different types of squash.)
For the base, I used ketchup and a tiny bit of our favourtie BBQ sauce. It made for a tasty combo, with just enough liquid.
Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and a fresh roll. Tasty! Enjoy!
Jacquie’s Tasty Local Bison Crock Pot Chili
1.5 pound of dried beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
1 medium local onion
6-7 medium sized mushrooms
8 small-medium fresh tomatoes, chopped roughly and mashed a bit
1/2 cup of frozen corn bits
1 cup of ketchup
2 tablespoons of your favourtie BBQ sauce
(If needed for extra liquid) Tomato pasta sauce that you have laying around in your pantry (as needed)
4 L crockpot
Begin by browning ground Bison in a frying pan, with a little bit of butter or cooking oil. Season with your favourite spices, (Garlic, tumeric, paprika, chili flakes… whatever!). When cooking Bison, it is recommended to cook on low heat, as the meat is extra lean and can burn easily. Throw the ground bison in the crockpot, along with the beans that have been soaking all night.
Chop up fresh tomatoes, onion and mushrooms (and any other veggies that you like in yoru chili). Add to crockpot with frozen corn. Add ketchup, BBQ sauce, and pasta sauce, as needed. Mix all ingredients well, and cook on low for 8-10 hours or longer (The beans were still a little crunchy when I got home from work, after the chili had been cooking for 8 hrs, so I turned it on high for 2 more hrs after.)
Sprinkle with grated cheddar, and serve with a toasted whole wheat bun. Tasty!
*Tip! You can make ahead by browning the bison and chopping the veggies and storing in the fridge overnight, while soaking the beans, so that you can just chuck everything into the crockpot in the morning, turn it on and leave for work. This works rather well when you’re working for 10 hrs a day at the legislature. :)