Tight Ass Tuesday: Seriously, whitewash this fence

Why is it that you go to therapy to make yourself feel better, you spend an hour talking about horrible crappy things, and then you leave feeling worse?  If I want to feel bad about myself, I could just look at myself naked in a mirror, jump up and down a few times and pocket the $100 bucks.

But then I come home and there’s dinner, thanks to this ingenious new dinner-making methodology. I’ve tried it a couple of times now and I can’t really find a fault, especially on nights where you don’t get home from work and your weekly rehash-your-childhood-traumas session until a quarter to nine.

I highly suggest that you obtain a spouse or partner so you too can begin to take advantage of it.  In this method, which I dub the “Aw, Yeah” method, you:

  • Decide what you want to have for dinner
  • Send your spouse/partner a shopping list and detailed written instructions
  • Come home when dinner is ready
  • Eat
  • Take a nap

It’s really a win-win, wherein you win and then you win again, because you still feel responsible for the meal since you conceptualized it, but you get to enjoy it without having done the actual work.

You can make your partner feel as though s/he has won as well if you employ the classic Tom Sawyer/fence whitewashing manipulation strategy.  Cooking is really ideal with the 1-2 punch of “Aw, Yeah” and “Tom Sawyer.” If I could train one of the dogs to use the camera and the other to write the posts, this whole blog would become self sustaining, like a perpetual motion machine.

For tonight, I went with a mojo-inflected white chicken chili. I know last week was also kinda Mexican, but I’ve been feeling anything made with chiles and cilantro lately.  White beans, corn, chicken, serranos and hatch green chiles, cumin, oregano, an ass-ton of garlic, adobo and some OJ.  Easy, quick and, I hoped, tasty.  I’ve never actually had white chili, but I had a flavor image in my head I wanted it to match.

I’m usually pretty good at making that happen, except for when I’m really really* not, so I was pretty confident in my concept and instructions. (Of course, I issued them before I went to therapy.)

*My very first month of blogging!  So cute, so young, such an awful blogger.

I issued the following instructions, which are the same I will now issue to you.  As you can see, I make sure to go into a high level of detail to ensure the final product will meet my high standards.

  1. Dice 1 small onion, mince lots of garlic and serranos (a couple, 3-4). Saute in olive oil.
  2. Add cumin (1 tsp?) and Mexican oregano (1/2 tsp?).  Sauté for another minute or two.
  3. Drain corn and beans. Cube chicken (bite size pieces).
  4. Add corn, beans, a little stock and some OJ (not enough to make it soupy), some of the canned green chiles in the fridge, and some adobo (1 tsp?) and cayenne (1/4 tsp?). Stir around.
  5. Mash it to break up some of the beans and thicken it up (if it ends up too thick, thin out with a little more stock). Taste. Add salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Add chicken cubes. Poach until chicken is done. Toss in another 2 cloves of minced garlic a minute or so before serving.
  7. Check seasoning again.
  8. Serve with cilantro, sour cream, cotija and that green salsa in the jar.

We had everything but the beans, corn and cilantro in the house, so it was perfect for a pair of tight asses with lots of leftover Mexican ingredients from last week.

As it turns out I issue excellent instructions, because this was delicious.  It’s summertime chili, if such a thing makes any sense.  The green chiles have a kind of bright heat unlike the heavier flavor of red chiles (although cayenne brings a nice punch).  The corn added sweetness and crunch; the OJ some additional sweetness and welcome acid.  Mashed white beans are a great way to thicken things up quickly without needing a heavy thickener or having to cook things down for a million years, so you can make this from beginning to end in about half an hour.

Poaching the chicken right in the chili infuses it with some flavor and keeps it tender and moist.  Topping it with some sour cream adds a little fat that balances well with the brightness (avocado would be nice if you weren’t leftover-dependent), cotija adds salt and the cilantro adds a final fresh pop. Plus: garlic. Lots and lots of garlic.

Man, all this eating just wipes me out.

ONE YEAR AGO:  Cheap Ass Monday: Down by the Boardwalk

White Chicken Mojo Chili
Instructions are as written above; I could re-write them all fancy-like, but it would boil down to the same thing. We did futz with quantities a little, so final quantities are:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 15 oz. can Great Northern beans
1 15 oz. can corn
1 small onion
6-8 cloves of garlic
3-4 good size serranos
1/2 can minced green chiles
3/4 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. OJ
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
2 tsp. adobo seasoning
1/4 tsp. cayenne
salt and pepper

Optional Toppings: cotija or cheese of your choice, cilantro, sour cream, salsa of your choice, avocado, fresh limes

[tags]chile, chili, chicken, stew, corn, recipe, mexican, food, cuisine[/tags]

12 thoughts on “Tight Ass Tuesday: Seriously, whitewash this fence

  1. This is my approach to cooking as well, only without the issuing of instructions part. Left work around 9:45 last night and came home to steak and peppers marinated in balsamic, boiled potatoes and swiss chard. I win!

  2. The raw chicken photo comes dangerously close to qualifying for a “Looks Like Pussy” post on my blog. I know it’s there, I’m just not seeing it. Damnit!

  3. This would never work at my house. My husband doesn’t cook at all, so my instructions would have to be very detailed – like what a clove of garlic is, how to saute, how to turn on the stove. Seriously, the man specializes in toast, so on his dinner nights, we do take out.

  4. I like the Aw, Yeah method, but I don’t think that would go over very well with Steve… as he doesn’t know how to cook, like, anything. But he cleans. I can’t bitch.

    I remember those early days. Yeah, you sure sucked alright. *Eye roll*

  5. I feel you on the therapy. There are times I think, “Damn, can’t we just take one minute before I leave and talk about something awesome about me?! Just one fucking minute?!” However, I bow down to your “Tom Sawyering” mad skillz. I’m sitting here eating “gourmet” microwave popcorn, so I’m obviously shit at that.

  6. question: when you say Adobo, do you actully mean the powdered condiment? because 2 teaspoons is an assload of alot of salt…

    and mmmmm…i love a white chile….its generally so difficult to get the good balance of flavor and texture…heartiness and lightness all at the same time….

  7. melissa, mine CLEANS TOO. really, i don’t know how i lucked into this.

    jkc, maybe i’ll open my own practice. i’ll only charge $15 a session and all we’ll do is talk about how awesome we are.

    vera, i do. canned beans need salt like nobody’s business. i think we used virtually no salt because of the adobo.

  8. Ooh that looks great, I might have to try it (without the beans of course….maybe with rice or pasta instead) when I come back from New Mexico with a cooler full of green chiles in a few weeks!

  9. Hiya Michelle! This recipe sounds SO good. I’m going to give it a whirl tonight. I’ll letcha know how it goes. Hopefully I won’t poison myself or my hubby and/or burn the apartment down. Haha!

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