Stew

Braised Turkey Legs

Delicious Turkey Stew! Made with flavorful turkey legs, browned and braised, served with root vegetables.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

Everybody loves turkey breast for their turkey sandwiches, right?

Actually the most flavorful part of the turkey comes from the dark meat of the turkey thighs and legs, which are much less expensive than the breast meat.

Here’s one of our favorite budget-friendly winter stews—turkey legs that have been slowly braised on a bed of celery and onions until fork tender, then shredded and served with a sauce of their braising liquid. We often include potatoes and root vegetables as well.

Perfect for a cold winter day!

Ingredients

  • 2 turkey legs and 2 thighs, about 4 lbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup of finely chopped celery
  • Salt, pepper, and cayenne
  • 2 cups water or other braising liquid (dry white wine or stock)
  • Cornstarch
  • Parsley, chopped, about 1/4 cup
  • Optional 3 cups chopped or quartered potatoes, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, and/or parsnips

Ingredients

  • 2 turkey legs and 2 thighs, about 4 lbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup of finely chopped celery
  • Salt, pepper, and cayenne
  • 2 cups water or other braising liquid (dry white wine or stock)
  • Cornstarch
  • Parsley, chopped, about 1/4 cup
  • Optional 3 cups chopped or quartered potatoes, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, and/or parsnips

Method

1 Brown turkey legs and thighs: Sprinkle turkey thighs and legs with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan with high sides on medium high heat. Add the turkey legs and thighs to the pan and sear until browned on all sides, about 5-8 minutes.

2 Add chopped onion and celery to form a nest under the turkey pieces. Sauté an additional 5 minutes.

3 Braise until tender: Add 2 cups of braising liquid – either water, stock, wine, or a combination. Bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer covered, on low heat, for an hour and a half, or until the turkey is so well cooked and tender that the meat easily falls off of the bones.

4 Remove the turkey meat from the pan and remove the bones, taking special care to remove the many small narrow bones of the legs. Remove the skin.

5 Cook the potatoes and root vegetables (optional): Add the vegetables to the pan with the turkey braising liquid. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer on medium high heat. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook covered, until done, about 20 minutes. When done, remove the vegetables from the pan so you can reduce the remaining liquid to make a sauce.

6 Make the sauce: Increase the heat to high and bring the remaining liquid in the pot to a boil. Reduce the liquid remaining in the pan by half to intensify some of the meat juices for added flavor.

Take a teaspoon of cornstarch and dissolve in a 1/2 cup of water. Add cornstarch mixture a little at a time to sauce, adding more liquid, until the sauce achieves the desired body.

Adjust seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed, add a little cayenne or Tabasco sauce. If the sauce is too sweet, add a little vinegar or lemon. Add parsley.

7 Add the turkey and vegetables back to the pan with the sauce. Serve immediately over rice or bread or with the vegetables if you have chosen to make them.

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Lentil Stew with Sausage

Warm and hearty lentil stew with a bacon, onion, carrot, celery base, and Italian sausage and parsley.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4-5

I’m in serious weather denial. With what seems like the fourth storm this week to hit California (is Noah building his “arky arky” yet?) I’m still puttering around the house in shorts and flip flops, and dreaming of good times in warmer weather.

But there is only so much denying one can do, before the shivering reality sets in, and then it’s time for stew. Lentil stew in this case.

My friend Clara and I were inspired to make this hearty lentil stew today, in the midst of yet another downpour, based on Clara’s family recipe. It’s made with bacon and sausage, a mirepoix of onions, carrots, and celery, and topped with parsley.

The amounts are approximate (except for the liquid to lentil ratio, 6 cups liquid per pound lentils), feel free to experiment, more or less bacon, sausage. We made a double recipe, to make sure that Clara’s family had plenty for leftovers during the week.

You can easily double or triple the recipe for a larger group or for make ahead leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 pound of bacon (about 5 thick slices), cut into 1-inch by 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 medium-large yellow or white onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2-3 large carrots, diced (2/3 cup)
  • 2-3 large ribs celery, diced (2/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 pound brown or green dry lentils, rinsed and picked over to remove anything that shouldn’t be there (like a small rock for example)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups chicken stock (can sub water for a total of 6 cups of liquid)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage (mild, sweet, or spicy, your choice) or smoked sausage, in links (about 2-3 links)
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (can sub cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, with a little extra for garnish

Method

1 Cook bacon: Heat a large, thick-bottomed pot (6 to 8 quart) on medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until much of the fat has rendered out and the bacon is browned and cooked through, about 5-10 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from pan to a dish, set aside.

Remove (and reserve for another use) all but 2 Tbsp of bacon fat. (If you discard the excess fat, let cool to solidify first, then discard in the trash. Do not pour down the drain or you will clog the drain.)

2 Sauté carrots, onions, celery, cumin, garlic: Heat the remaining fat on medium high and add the carrots, onions, celery, and cumin. Stirring frequently, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan, cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook a minute more, until fragrant.

3 Add lentils, cooked bacon, stock, water, thyme, bay leaf, simmer: Add back in the cooked bacon, the rinsed lentils, stock, water, thyme, bay leaf. At this point add a teaspoon of salt and some pepper. You will season more to taste later. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook partially covered until lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.

4 Brown sausage links, cut into pieces, add to stew: While the lentils are cooking, heat a frying pan on medium heat. Add the Italian sausage links. Gently cook, browning on all sides, until just cooked through. Remove from pan, let cool enough to handle. Cut into pieces of desired length (1 to 2 inches, or you can just keep whole) and add to stew for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

5 Add sherry vinegar, parsley, salt, pepper: Add sherry vinegar and parsley to stew. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. You may need to add more salt than you expect, especially if you are making the stew with water only and not water and stock.

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Beef and Barley Stew with Mushrooms

Hearty beef and barley stew with mushrooms and root vegetables. Perfect cold weather stew!

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8-10

Although the days are getting longer, the sun just beginning to ride a little higher in the sky, the nights are still bone-chilling. Honestly, I never look forward to winter. But when I’m smack in the middle of it, I do appreciate its comforts—warm clothes, thick blankets, an excuse to use the fireplace, and a big pot of stew.

And I mean a big pot.

Heck, if you are going to go through all that trouble, you may as well make enough for plenty of meals during the week. This is one such stew, a hearty cousin of beef barley soup, but bulked up with carrots, celery root, and lots of mushrooms.

It’s a riff off a stew that Hank likes to make with goose, inspired by Russian stews he’s encountered over the years. The stew is served topped with sour cream, which when mixed in, gives a wonderfully creamy consistency to the stew with just a touch of tang.

If you can’t find celery root, you can substitute turnips, rutabagas or potatoes. Just be sure to adjust your cooking times—potatoes cook faster than celery root. Save time in the prep work by prepping the onions and mushrooms while the beef is browning.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2-3 pounds beef chuck, cut into chunks
  • Salt
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 1 pound button or cremini mushrooms, quartered if small or 1/4-inch sliced
  • 1 quart beef or chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 cup roughly chopped carrot
  • 3 cups celery root, peeled and chopped into 3/4-inch to 1-inch chunks
  • Black pepper
  • About 1/2 cup sour cream (around 1 Tbsp sour cream per serving)
  • Dill for garnish

Method

1 Sear the beef: In a large, thick-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add enough pieces of the beef to sear in the pot without crowding.

You will need to brown the meat in several batches. Salt the beef as it cooks, and set aside browned pieces in a bowl.

2 Sauté the onions: When all the beef has browned, add the onions. As the onions release some of their water, use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.

Sprinkle a little salt over the onions as they cook. Lower the heat to medium and cook the onions until they begin to brown, 5-6 minutes.

3 Add the mushrooms: When the onions have lightly browned, mix in the mushrooms and increase the heat to high. Cook the mushrooms until they release their water, about 2-3 minutes.

3 Add back beef, add marjoram, stock, water, then simmer: Add the beef back to the pot and sprinkle with marjoram.

Add 1 cup of the stock and use the wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the rest of the stock and water and bring to a simmer.

Cover the pot, lower the heat to low and simmer very gently for 1 hour.

4 Add barley, celery root, carrots, continue to simmer: Add the barley, celery root and carrots, stir well and recover the pot. Simmer gently until the barley and celery root are tender, between 40 minutes and an hour.

5 Serve with sour cream and dill: Ladle servings into bowls, then top with a dollop of sour cream and a few sprigs of dill. Grind a little black pepper over right before you serve. To eat, stir in the sour cream.

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Pork and Poblano Stew

Hearty fall stew with pork shoulder, roasted poblano chiles, chipotle, onions, sweet potatoes, and corn.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 8

Every time I look at a picture of this pork and poblano stew I want to eat it all over again. This is one of those lick-every-last-drop stews, so good!

Early fall is peak chile season, and we have plenty of poblanos in the garden. Every few days I pick a few chiles, char them over direct flame on the gas stove, let them steam a bit in their own heat, and then scrape off the char.

Usually we eat them right away, sometimes just with some olive oil and salt drizzled over, or wrapped in a warmed corn tortilla with a little cheese.

This time though, we decided to make pork stew with the poblanos, a stew reminiscent of pozole, but with corn and sweet potatoes instead of hominy.

Swirling in a spoonful of Mexican crema or sour cream right before serving makes the stew just lightly creamy and provides a soothing balance to the mildly spicy chiles.

Toasted shelled pumpkin seeds make a nice accent to this hearty stew. Use them if you have them, if not, don’t worry, the stew will not suffer from their absence.

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 poblano chile peppers (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 quart chicken stock (use gluten-free stock for gluten-free option)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn (no need to defrost if frozen)
  • 1 large (about 1/2 pound) sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes)
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • Toasted shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) Optional

Method

1 Char, peel, and chop the poblano chiles: Char the chile peppers on all sides, directly over a gas flame, or broil, turning every minute or so until the chiles are blackened on all sides.

Place in a bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Let sit for 10 minutes or so, then rub off the blackened charred skin.

Cut away and discard the stem, seeds, and internal veins. Roughly chop the chiles into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Set aside.

2 Sear the cubed pork: Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven on medium high heat. Pat dry the pork pieces with a paper towel and brown them, working in batches as to not crowd the pan. Sprinkle salt generously over the pork while they brown.

3 Sauté the onions and garlic: Remove the pork from the pan and set aside. Add the chopped onion and cumin to the pan and cook about 5 minutes, until translucent.

Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan while the onions cook. Add garlic and cook for a minute more.

4 Add the chipotle, poblanos, pork, chicken stock and oregano, simmer: Add the chopped chipotle to the onions and garlic. Return the browned pork to the pan. Add the chopped poblano chiles to the pan. Add the chicken stock and oregano. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for 1 hour.

5 Add sweet potato, corn: After an hour, add the diced sweet potato and corn to the stew. Cook for another half hour to 45 minutes, until the pork is tender and the sweet potatoes are cooked through.

To serve, spoon out the stew into bowls. Swirl in a spoonful of sour cream to each bowl. Top with chopped fresh cilantro and toasted shelled pumpkin seeds.

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Instant Pot Beef Chili

Here’s a pressure cooker beef chili recipe that’s ready in 30 minutes! It’s made with green peppers, onions, celery, ground beef, and tomatoes. Top with shredded cheese and sliced green onions, and serve some cornbread on the side!

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

A warm bowl of chili is such a comforting meal on cold nights. Beef chili usually takes at least an hour and a half to simmer on the stove, but you can cut that time down by half when you use a pressure cooker!

New to Pressure Cooking?

Electric pressure cookers are having a renaissance these days. The newest models, like the Instant Pot, are programmable smart appliances that are safe and easy to use. They’re completely different than the traditional stovetop models many of us grew up with.

  • Check out this guide! How to Use an Instant Pot

The pressure cooker I use is an Instant Pot. I have both the 6- and 8-quart models, and I find that the 6-quart size is plenty big for most meals. It handles recipes making 4 to 6 serving recipes easily, including this beef chili.

Instant Pot 6-Quart Multicooker

$105.00 on Amazon Buy

Making Instant Pot Chili

Using an Instant Pot to make chili isn’t any harder than cooking a pot of chili on the stove. You can sauté and simmer right in the appliance, just you would when cooking on the stovetop. The only difference here is that instead of turning a knob on the stove, you press a few buttons on the Instant Pot.

Using a Different Pressure Cooker

If you have another model of electric or stovetop pressure cooker, the sautéing instructions might be slightly different. Just check your user manual for guidance.

The most intimidating aspect of pressure cooking is probably releasing the pressure once your food is cooked, but it’s really not so tricky. There are two different ways to release the steam.

Releasing The Steam

The quickest way to release the steam is with the “quick release” method. For this, protect your hand with a heat-proof oven mitt or use a pair of long-handled tongs, and nudge the pressure release knob on the top of the pressure cooker from “Sealing” to “Venting.” As you do this, a big plume of steam will issue from the pot, releasing the pressure.

The second way to release the steam is the “natural release” method. For this, just let your pot sit on the counter and do nothing. The pressure cooker will slowly depressurize on its own in about 20 minutes (you’ll see the float valve next to the pressure release knob go down), and you will be able to safely open the pot. Use this method if you’re scared of that plume of steam.

Whichever method you choose, you’ll know that the pot is depressurized when the float valve on the lid (right next to the pressure release knob) returns to its lowered position.

I’ve included stove-top instructions as well, in case you’d like to make this chili without a pressure cooker. No matter how you make it, serve the chili piping hot, with plenty of grated cheese and green onions on top.

What to Serve with Chili

One of the best parts about chili is all the ways you can top your bowl! Cheese, sliced green onions, crushed tortilla chips, and a dollop of sour cream are all great options.

What about a batch of Southern cornbread or garlic knots to serve on the side? Chili is also great served over cooked rice.

How to Store and Freeze Your Chili

This chili will keep in the fridge for at least five days, or frozen for up to three months.

To freeze, transfer the cooked and cooled chili to freezer containers or bags, press out as much air as possible, and freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or heat while still frozen. The best way to reheat chili is in a sauce pan over low heat on the stove top.

More Favorite Instant Pot recipes!

  • Pressure Cooker White Chicken Chili
  • Pressure Cooker Taco Soup
  • Pressure Cooker Green Pork Pozole
  • Pressure Cooker Shredded Chicken Taco Meat
  • Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Updated February 1, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the recipe itself.

If you have leftover tomato paste after making this recipe, you can freeze it in tablespoon portions for another recipe.

Stovetop Instructions: In a medium saucepan or soup pot, cook the bell pepper, onion, celery and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until the onions are softened and translucent. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Add the spices, tomato paste, tomatoes, and beans, along with a cup of water or broth. Bring to a simmer. then turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and let simmer for one hour.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • Water or broth, as needed to make 1 cup liquid with the tomato juices
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, any favorite mix, to serve
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly, to serve
  • Rice, cornbread, or garlic knots, to serve

Special equipment:

  • 6-quart Instant Pot, or other pressure cooker

Method

1 Cook the vegetables: Select the “Sauté” program on your pressure cooker and add the oil to the pot. (If you are using a stovetop pressure cooker, heat the oil over medium heat.) Add the bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic. Sauté until the onions are softened and translucent, about five minutes.

2 Cook the ground beef: Add the ground beef to the pot, breaking it up in small pieces. Cook until no longer pink, about five minutes.

3 Stir in the spices and tomato paste. Add the chili powder, salt, oregano, and tomato paste to the pot. Stir until the tomato paste is evenly mixed into the other ingredients and no clumps remain.

4 Add the tomatoes and beans: Strain the tomatoes, then add enough water or broth to make 1 cup total liquid. Add the liquid, the strained tomatoes, and the beans to the pressure cooker.

5 Cook the chili: Place the lid on the pressure cooker. Make sure the pressure regulator is set to the “Sealing” position. If you are using an Instant Pot, select the “Chili” program, then adjust the time to 20 minutes. If your pressure cooker does not have a “Chili” program, set it manually to “High Pressure” for 20 minutes. For stovetop pressure cookers, cook for 17 minutes at high pressure.

It will take about 10 minutes for your pressure cooker to come up to pressure, and then the actual cooking will begin. Total time from the time you seal the pressure cooker to the finished dish is about 30 minutes.

6 Release the pressure after cooking: When the timer goes off, you may either perform a quick pressure release by moving the pressure release knob from “Sealing” to “Venting,” or let the pot depressurize naturally on its own (this takes about 20 minutes; open the vent to “Venting” when you’re ready to serve the chili.) For stovetop pressure cookers, perform a quick pressure release.

6 To serve: Top bowls of chili with shredded cheese and green onions, if desired. Serve alone, over rice, or with cornbread.

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Black Bean Turkey Chili

Here’s an EASY chili recipe to add to your list! It’s made with black beans and ground turkey, and only takes 15 minutes to throw together. Make it to warm you up on a chilly winter day or for your next Super Bowl party!

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

It’s January! Meaning as pretty as it may look on a sunny winter day here in Northern California, as soon as I step outside I want to turn around and head back in, where it is still toasty warm.

Days like these are perfect for cooking a big pot of chili beans, don’t you think?

The basis for this turkey chili recipe comes from my friend Kelsey’s mom Janeen. It’s one of their family favorites.

How To Make Turkey Black Bean Chili

This chili uses naturally lean ground turkey, plenty of black beans, onions, carrots, and red bell peppers, and can be made in one big pot.

First we sauté onions, carrots, and bell pepper in olive oil. To the onions we add garlic, chili powder, and ground cumin. Heating the spices at this point will help bring out more of their flavor.

To this flavor base we add ground turkey and cook it until it is no longer pink. Then we add chicken stock, more seasonings, and black beans (canned or already cooked), and simmer for an hour. Easy!

Want More Spicy Heat?

As is, this recipe makes a fairly mild chili. Chili powder varies in spiciness, depending on brand, so you may need to make adjustments to your taste.

You can easily add more chili powder or some cayenne to intensify the spice level if you wish. You can also add chipotle chili powder or chipotle Tabasco to give a smoky note to the chili.

What to Serve with Black Bean Chili

This chili is great served over cooked rice, with warmed tortillas, or with tortilla chips alongside. You can also use it as a filling for tacos or in a burrito bowl.

How to Store and Freeze this Chili

This chili keeps well (and even improves in flavor) for about 5 days. You can freeze it for up to three months.

Freeze in individual portions in freezer containers or bags with as much air pressed out as possible. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or warm it up straight from the freezer. Either way, the best way to reheat is in a saucepan over low heat on the stove top.

Looking for More Great Chili Recipes?

  • Easy No-Bean Chili
  • Ground Beef Chili
  • Pressure Cooker White Chicken Chili
  • Easy Vegetarian Chili with Mushrooms
  • Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Chili

Updated January 29, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

This recipe produces a mildly spicy chili. You can easily add more chili powder or some cayenne to intensify the spice level if you wish. You can also add chipotle chili powder or chipotle Tabasco to give a smoky note to the chili.

As for the red bell peppers, Trader Joe’s has frozen sliced bell peppers that work well for this dish.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 carrot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 to 3 red bell peppers, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound ground turkey (I use ground turkey thighs for more flavor)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

1 Sauté carrots, onions, bell peppers: Heat the oil in a large, thick bottomed pot (6- to 8-quart) on medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and bell peppers, and sprinkle with salt. Cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

2 Add the minced garlic, chili powder, and cumin and cook for a minute more.

3 Add the ground turkey and break it up with a wooden spoon. Increase the heat to medium high. Stir and cook until the turkey is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

4 Add the chicken stock, oregano, bay leaf, vinegar, and tomato paste. Use a straight edge spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

5 Simmer the chili: Add the black beans. Bring the chili to a boil, lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for half an hour.

Uncover and cook for another half hour, or until the the liquid thickens.

6 Serve: Remove the bay leave. Taste the chili and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with rice or heated corn tortillas.

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