Dutch Oven Dinners

Whew! We survived the holidays! January is one of my favorite months of the year. It’s a fresh start and the perfect time to simplify things—especially meals. These one-pot wonders come together in no time, whether you are using your trusty Dutch oven or a slow cooker.

Chicken Posole

I prefer to use my Dutch oven for the Chicken Posole and the Big Easy Red Beans and Rice. Both recipes can be made in under an hour. Texas-Style Beefy Bean-Less Chili is delicious on a hot dog. Plus, it’s a crowd-pleaser for all your friends or children who aren’t bean lovers. The three types of chili powders give it a nice depth of flavor. Slow Cooker Boston Butt Sandwiches with Candied Dill Pickles is a slow cooker dream recipe. Simply throw it all in and turn on HIGH for 6 to 7 hours. Shred with two forks, and pile it onto on a yummy brioche bun with the dills. I love the sweetness of these pickles with the pork. Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos is a healthy option that also makes an easy weeknight meal.

You’ll find something for everyone in this menu, including dishes for a winning Super Bowl Sunday gathering. Relax and let the dinners cook themselves!

Slow Cooker Boston Butt Sandwiches with Candied Dill Pickles

Serves 8

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1 (4- to 6-pound) Boston butt
1 (12-ounce) can dark beer
1 large onion, quartered
1 (2-ounce) bottle mild hot sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Candied Dill Pickles (recipe below)
White or red BBQ sauce of your choice

Place Boston butt in slow cooker. Pour in beer; add onion, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Cover and turn on HIGH for 6 to 7 hours. Remove meat from the slow cooker, shred with two forks, and serve on warm buns with Candied Dill Pickles, lettuce, and BBQ sauce.

Candied Dill Pickles

Makes 1 quart

1 (46-ounce) jar whole dill pickles, drained and sliced to ¼-inch thickness
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon celery seeds
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon pickling spice

Stir together all ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Place in a 1-quart canning jar. Chill for 24 hours. These will keep several weeks in the refrigerator.

“Easier than driving to your local BBQ spot!”

Chicken Posole

Serves 8

1 rotisserie chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (14-ounce) cans hominy, drained and rinsed
2 cans chopped green chiles
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided in half
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Toppings: diced avocado, radishes, shredded cabbage, chopped cilantro, scallions, and tortilla chips (optional)

Leslie Likes: The ease of using a rotisserie chicken—it adds the flavors of white and dark meat.

Remove the meat from the rotisserie chicken, shred into bite-size pieces, and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 2 to 3 minutes until tender. Add chicken, garlic, and next 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour or longer if time allows. It will get better over time. Before serving, add cilantro and lime juice. Serve with tortilla chips and desired toppings.

“Chicken Posole is an authentic Mexican stew that comes together quickly, especially when starting with a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.”

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw

Serves 4 to 6

1½ pounds boneless chicken tenders or small breasts
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup medium salsa
1 cub shredded red cabbage
1 carrot, grated
Juice of a lime
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ teaspoon salt
12 corn tortillas
1 medium avocado, sliced
Lime wedges

Season both sides of the chicken with salt; place in slow cooker. Sprinkle with garlic powder and cumin, and top with salsa. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours, until chicken shreds easily.

Once chicken is cooked, drain excess liquid from the pot, reserving as much of the salsa as possible, and shred with two forks. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

For the Red Cabbage Slaw, combine cabbage, carrot, lime juice, cilantro, and salt in a bowl, and toss to combine thoroughly.

Heat tortillas over a flame on the stove for 30 seconds, until lightly charred. Transfer to a plate, and cover with a towel to keep warm.
To serve, place tortillas on a plate, top with shredded chicken, slaw, avocado slices, and lime wedges.

“This is a very healthy, colorful taco offering. Feel free to serve your favorite rice or beans alongside.”

Texas-Style Beefy Bean-Less Chili

Serves 6 to 8

4 pounds ground beef
1 large, sweet onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium green or poblano peppers
3 to 4 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 (14-ounce) cans tomato sauce
3 (14-ounce) cans fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, jalapeños, chopped green onions, crackers, and chips

In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook ground beef until no longer pink. Drain off fat; add onion, garlic, and peppers, and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Add spices, and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients, combining well. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat, and simmer, mostly covered, allowing a small amount of steam to escape, for at least an hour but longer if you have time.

To serve, top with suggested assorted toppings.

Slow Cooker Method: Cook beef in a large skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain off fat, and transfer to a slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients, and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 5 to 6 hours.

“Perfect for a chili dog!”

Easy Red Beans and Rice

Serves 4 to 6

Leslie Likes: Conecuh smoked sausage

1 pound smoked sausage, sliced into ½-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste
Hot cooked rice

Cook sausage over medium-low heat for 5 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic; sauté until tender. Drain if necessary. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, and seasonings; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Serve over rice.

“I love a recipe that comes together in under an hour but tastes like it’s been cooking all day.”

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