Thursday, January 20, 2011
Bringing out the Cozy in Us
Famed British poet Edith Sitwell once said, "Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."
Or, more succinctly as my friend, Pam, said yesterday, "Winter snows bring out the cozy in us."
So today I'm thinking of setting the fireplace ablaze, putting on my favorite moth-eaten (well, actually the big holes in it came from the puppy, who thought it was a wonderful, fluffy toy) cozy sweater, and make some great comfort food. Maybe something white, in honor of the color scheme of the week, and something spicy, to heat up the atmosphere.
Spicy White Chili seems like just the thing for a cold winter day. This recipe comes from Taste of Home, and feeds an army...just what I need:
2 pounds dried great northern beans
1-1/2 cups diced onion
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon ground oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4-1/2 quarts chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cubed
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
Sort beans and rinse with cold water. Place beans in a Dutch oven; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 to 4 hours or until beans are softened. Drain and rinse beans, discarding liquid.
In a stockpot, saute onion in oil until tender. Combine seasonings; add half to onion mixture. Saute 1 minute. Add the beans, broth and garlic; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours.
Coat chicken with remaining seasoning mixture; place in 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink; add to beans. Stir in chilies. Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until flavors are blended. Yield: 20 servings.
May I suggest a great (white) pinot grigio from Da Vinci Wines http://www.davinciwine.com/ourwines/ to go with this hearty meal?
We don't want to forget about mood music for the meal, either. I've chosen the "Sabre Dance" by Aram Khachaturian, played by Vanessa Mae. Vanessa is known as the "Spicy Violin Girl" for a reason. Just watch. Hey, just because you like classical music, it doesn't mean you don't like to spice it up occasionally. Enjoy!
I hope you have a cozy day...
with just enough spice to warm your soul.