Crockpot Harissa Meat Chili (Savoring: The Practices of Eating)

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I hope you've been following along with my practices of Eating series.  It's a slow but steady wins the race sort of series, which hopefully will be done by the end of May.  Yet, seeing that my word of the year is Peace, and combine that with life being too short to miss, the word 'savor' keeps spilling out.  

Because, Caprice is still not anywhere close to sleeping through the night.  Temper tantrums and emotional meltdowns are still happening everyday in our home.  The ability to savor and not scarf is a hard thing when life is seemingly tumultuous, and the only way you're going to eat is by cramming food into your mouth, while rushing out the door.  

But, I've been caught off guard when people ask, "So, has she (referencing Caprice) been easier, or your harder baby?," as they give me that empathic nod.  I think, "well, hard because she's not sleeping--yes!  Hard, because she only likes to be held by Ben or myself--yes!"  Still, I answer, "no--she's not hard, the transition of adding three has been the hardest, but I find myself savoring her."

It's easy to savor, when you know it's your last.

We are pretty certain that we are not having anymore babies.  With that knowing, my soul clings to the gift more readily and easily.  I savor it.

And so with eating with a savoring, longing heart...

  • we pause to thank the Creator before we eat, in order to teach our bellies a patient longing for what is to come.
  • we regularly eat dinner, trying our best to take in not only the flavors, but each others day.  
  • we savor conversation, time together
  • sometimes, we eat out at my favorite cafe, and I dissect the food, in order to taste each ingredient thoughtfully placed
  • I want to savor the food I eat, my family, my friends as though it's all a gift I'm given at this very moment.

As I'm holding Caprice, I look at her and know she won't be six years old, still nursing and sleeping in our bed.  

Rather, I look at this meal melded in a crockpot.  A little work done beforehand, by cutting out cubes of meat from the chuck steak.  Grinding black pepper, sprinkling salt, minced garlic and onion flakes on top.  Having Tay right there helping me pour the diced tomatoes on top, and telling her to smell in the harissa.  Oh the harissa.  There are varying forms of it with chilis, cumin, coriander, caraway, garlic, paprika and cinnamon.  

Either way, this meal, all front end work allowed me to relish time with my girls, knowing the meat was stewing for us to enjoy come dinner time.  Serving up bowls with meaty chili, soft sweet potatoes and slightly cooked kale to find a bit of heat from the chilis and woody, sweet finish of the cinnamon caused us to truly savor only the way meat cooked all day can.  

Crockpot Harissa Meat Chili (printable recipe)

This little number was super easy, and did I mention I'm slightly obsessed with harissa? If you don't have roasted sweet potatoes on hand (what, you mean that's not normal?), you can either roast them whole at 400 degrees for an hour.  Or, simply peel some sweet potatoes and add cut them up and add them to the pot to cook alongside the beef.  


Ingredients:

3-4 lbs cubed chuck steak, or chuck roast

1 1/2 Tb harissa powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp garlic, I used dehydrated garlic granules

1 Tb onion flakes

1-28 ounce can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup water

Washed & cut up kale, make it easy and buy pre-washed, pre-cut Organic kale from TJ's

Sweet potatoes, roasted, skin off and cut into cubes.

Directions:

This is incredibly easy.  Put the meat in the crockpot.  Then, add all the seasonings.  

Next dump in the diced tomatoes and water.  Stir it around.  Put the lid on, I cooked mine

on high for six hours, because the low cook for eight hours would take too long.  

Once it was cooked, I already had pre-cut and pre-washed kale from Trader Joe's, which I

added a couple handfuls to the crockpot.  I stirred it around, in order to soften and cook it

a bit with the heat of the chili.  Then, I had two roasted sweet potatoes, which I simply

cut up and added to the pot.  

Dinner was served and it tasted magnificent!

Join the series, Practices of Eating

Join the series, Practices of Eating

Day 6: Autumn Meaty Meals (Fish, Poultry, Pork, Beef) all Paleo

If you are in need of quick and easy to find Paleo Main Meat dishes, I have some great ones for you for the Fall.  Most of these have been created for Jogo's Good Eats, and they aren't really time consuming.  The most time consuming is the Paleo Shepherd's Pie and Meaty Spaghetti Sauce, due to cutting the vegetables into a small dice.  Can I give you an easy tip?  If there is a Trader Joe's near you, they have a mirepoix already to go, which saves time. 

But...

Can I implore you to at least once spend time getting use to your chef knife and cutting your own mirepoix?  As you cut and chop, spend the time going through a list of your family members and friends--giving thanks for them.  Speaking words of blessings over them. 

Apple Sage Sausages

Apple Sage Sausages

Paleo Shepherd's Pie (technically Cottage Pie)

Paleo Shepherd's Pie (technically Cottage Pie)

Meaty Spaghetti Sauce on Spaghetti Squash (with a picture demo on cutting your own mire poix)

Meaty Spaghetti Sauce on Spaghetti Squash (with a picture demo on cutting your own mire poix)

Spicy Coconut Green Bean & Sausage One Pot Wonder

Spicy Coconut Green Bean & Sausage One Pot Wonder

Paleo Pork Stew

Paleo Pork Stew

Baked Chicken Thighs with Roasted Vegetables

Baked Chicken Thighs with Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Chicken in a Pot

Roasted Chicken in a Pot

Pistachio Crusted Salmon with Sauteed Fennel

Pistachio Crusted Salmon with Sauteed Fennel

Paleo Chicken Adobo

***Don't miss my first guest post with Abby Leigh as she shares her table with all of us.  The gathering 'Share the Table' begins tomorrow.***

Spring is here and I immediately gravitate towards leeks, tarragon, rhubarb and the highly anticipatory light red jewels, which my girls know as strawberries.  Lucky for us, we live in Bellingham and Spring also means colder climates suitable for warm, stew like meals.  

With this newness of seasonal availability also comes the ever reminder of my fancy towards all things food, especially food magazines & cookbooks.  I have gotten better over the years by “just saying NO” to the tantalizing food magazines at the checkout (insert lots of willpower).  Still, one of my very favorites is Cooks Illustrated, which I recently discovered they have a podcast.  What I love about this magazine in particular is how they bring science & know-how to the home cook.  It’s like investigative journaling in the culinary arena.  

Each article presents the thesis of what they are trying to create as they document failures and successes until they achieve the perfect culinary essay eats.  One of these was featuring Filipino Chicken Adobo.  In my recipe, I have switched things up a bit and created a “paleo” version of it.  What I like about this dish in particular is the marriage between the coconut aminos & apple cider vinegar.  I truly adore the tang factor in apple cider vinegar, which the adobo wafts subtle essence of it as you take a bite.  The coconut milk contributes by lessening the harshness of the aminos & ACV, and the garnishing of green onions ties it together.  Without further ado, I introduce Paleo Filipino Chicken Adobo.


Paleo Chicken Adobo (printable recipe)

This recipe is inspired via Cooks Illustrated.  Replacing coconut aminos for the traditional soy sauce creates a darker sauce resembling almost dark chocolate.  This is my contribution for my gym, Jogo, blog for May; however, the site is currently being revamped, so I'm posting it here.  

Ingredients:

3-4 Tb coconut oil
8 chicken thighs, bone in & skin on
¾ cup coconut aminos
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1-14 oz can full fat coconut milk
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, crushed

garnish: chopped green onions

Directions:

In a large bowl, add the chicken thighs & coconut aminos.  Coat the chicken thighs with the aminos and allow to marinate in it for 30-60 minutes in the fridge.  Once the chicken is done, begin to heat a large stainless steel pan with the coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Allow the pan to get nice & hot, because you are wanting to create a nice crispy skin.  

Using tongs, gently shake the chicken thighs to remove excess aminos, and place in hot pan, skin side down.  Repeat until all of the thighs are in the pan.  Reserve the coconut aminos from the chicken.  Cook the thighs skin down for about 5-7 minutes.  You don’t want to turn them over too quickly, because the skin will not be crisp enough and will stick to the pan.  After 5-7 minutes, turn to cook on the other side with skin side up for an additional 4-6 minutes.  Remove the chicken thighs to a plate.  

Pour out the fat into a can.  Turn the heat to medium.  Combine the coconut aminos from the thighs with the coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, bay leaves & crushed garlic cloves.  Return the chicken thighs back to the pan.  Pour the liquid mixture over the chicken and cook for 20 minutes skin side down.  Turn over the thighs with skin side up & cook until the meat registers to 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part near the bone.  

Transfer the thighs to a platter and loosely cover with a piece of foil.  Remove the bay leaves from the sauce in the pan and skim the surface for fat.  I have a fat separator from OXO, which I love as it separates the fat from the sauce with ease.  Increase the heat to medium to medium high to cook until the liquid reduces into a thicker sauce, about 4 minutes.  Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs and garnish with chopped green onions.  
Two Years Ago: Healthy Fish Tacos