Recently I received one of those glossy cookware catalogs in the mail (please don't tell me it's holiday season already!), so of course I drooled over it during lunch. Then I realized that we seldom talk here about what we cook with (except maybe cookie cutters!). And I also realize how much of my cookware collection is inherited—and vintage.
I inherited my mother's crock pot, a decade or more ago, and I'm still learning to use it. To honor it, here's a recipe from Sarah Atwell's Pane of Death. Sarah was my pen name a while back, and her heroine was culinarily challenged, but even she could handle this recipe.
FOOLPROOF SLOW COOKER CHICKEN CHILI
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large white onion, chopped
3 ancho chiles with seeds and veins removed, cut into strips or pieces (A word about chiles: if you can't find fresh ones in your local market, you can use dried ones. Just soak them in hot water for a bit, then rinse out the seeds and cut into large pieces. Anchos are fairly mild, but you can use hotter ones if you like.)
2 tsp. oregano
2 large cloves garlic (you may leave them whole or chop them)
4 cups chicken broth
salt and black pepper to taste
1 15-oz. can beans (you may use black, white, or whatever you have)
fresh cilantro, chopped
In your crockpot, put the chicken, the chopped onion, the garlic, the chiles, the oregano, and the salt and pepper. Pour in the chicken stock to cover. Cook at low heat for four hours (more or less), stirring now and then.
Remove the chicken breasts, shred them (when they're cool enough to handle), and return them to the cooker. Add the beans and continue cooking for another hour (more or less).
The beauty of this dish is its flexibility. You can use pork instead of chicken, or increase the proportion of meat or beans. If you want more heat, add more chiles, or a different kind of chile, or throw in a dash of Tabasco sauce. You can stir in heavy cream or sour cream at the end.