One fun benefit of blogging and writing is the new cookbooks publishing houses often send me. Some I give away to friends, but some are so good I curl up in bed and read every word. The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook arrived unexpectedly in the mail a few weeks ago. I read the title and spent at least 2 minutes trying to figure out what B.T.C meant – Bacon, Tomato, Cheese? Bacon, Tortilla, Carrot? I was determined the word “bacon” had to be in the title somewhere. I was wrong. I read a few chapters and learned it stands for, “Be The Change”. I like that.
Alexe van Beuren started an old-fashioned grocery store in Water Valley, MS a few years ago. It’s become the heartbeat of the community. Her cook, Dixie, created all the recipes for this book and serves up her Southern cooking at the grocery. The recipes look so good I’m actually trying to figure out a way for us to detour through Water Valley on our annual summer trip to Missouri. Italian Sausage and Mushroom Breakfast Casserole, Roasted Pear and Zucchini Soup, Honey-Pecan Catfish and Creamed Cabbage with Sherry – unique recipes I can’t wait to try!
If you like good story-telling, Alexe’s book fits that bill, too. Each page and recipe centers around a story. She tells of her failings and triumphs as she has worked to build a business in a small town. I find her endearing – someone I’d like to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee with.
I tagged dozens of recipes, but the first I tried was her White Bean Chicken Chili. It called for corn and cornmeal, so I needed to adapt the recipe a bit since I haven’t been eating grains. Most of her recipes are easy to adapt if needed. The delightful chili tastes better the second day and you can get really creative with the toppings.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/8 cup tequila
- 1 (16-ounce) jar organic salsa
- 1 (7.4-ounce) can/jar mild green chilis
- 2 cups great northern beans, soaked overnight, drained
- 12 cups homemade chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (here’s a great homemade recipe )
- 8 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt
- 8 Dixie’s grilled chicken breasts, chopped (see below)
- Optional Toppings:
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 avocados, pitted and sliced
- 8 lime wedges
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- For the Dixie Chicken:
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup fermented tamari ( Oshawa ) or coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons sherry
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Make a well in the center of the pot and add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, coriander, ground pepper, paprika and mustard. Stir for about 1 minute until fragrant and then stir spices into the vegetable mixture. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the tequila. Put the pot back over over the heat and cook until tequila has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salsa, chilis, soaked and drained beans, chicken stock, worcestershire sauce, tabasco and sea salt. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the top and discard. Lower heat to a simmer and let chili simmer for 4-5 hours, or until beans are soft. Stir in the chopped chicken breasts. Serve with toppings.
- For the Dixie Chicken:
- Stir together olive oil, fermeted tamari, sherry, honey, lime, garlic and pepper in a measuring cup. Place chicken in a large baking dish and pour marinade over top. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours to marinate. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the grill to medium to medium heat. Grill the chicken 5 to 6 minutes per side. The chicken is done when the internal temperature is 170ºF. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let cool 10 minutes before chopping.
- This chicken is fabulous on it’s own or chopped in a salad!